HOW TO DEAL WITH CONSTIPATION

      Medicine Buddha  holding the Mirobalan fruit (Image from Mirobalan Clinic)
Medicine Buddha holding the Mirobalan fruit (Image from Mirobalan Clinic)

A LIST OF TRICKS FOR CHRONIC CONSTIPATION

Constipation is a pain ... right there, yes. Dans le derrière. I don't think it's considered an illness nor a condition worth big research and in my time there was a very slim chance of your doctor taking seriously your complaints about it.

Of course, nowadays with the new ways of the medical system chances are that you go to your doctor complaining about constipation and you end up with a battery of tests, anything from blood analysis to colonoscopy and heaven knows what else, all of that to tell you that there's probably nothing wrong with you but just in case you have to do another set of analysis and when you are either in a stupor of fatigue because you have some things to do in life other than roaming hospital's corridors --like taking care of your family and going to work-- or in a nightmare of suppositions --like ohlordylordy am I having cancer or not-- finally your doctor gives you another appointment and the diagnosis is no, there is nothing wrong with you and yes, you have to eat lots of fiber, pyramids of fruits and vegetables and cereals and that's it, you go home with a prescription for an over-the-counter laxative that you should use only if you really need it, not frequently because laxatives do a lot of harmful things to you when taken on any regular basis.

So there you are, back home, and you start virtuously following the fiber, fruit, vegetables and whole grain cereals advice, and sure enough, every morning no matter your efforts you have to struggle and you don't feel the slightest impulse or hint that your intestines need to get rid of your waste. Not the slightest. So every three days you take a laxative. And you know it that it's not good for you but one has to go on living and constipation never killed anybody so you forget about it except every morning, that is.

Like that you go on for years or decades, with ups and downs, because things go sometimes a little bit better and you are not sure why. Was it that nice white wine you had? Or during that trip, that delicious mineral water they gave you? Mystery, but there you go, sometimes things go well but you never know when nor how. And then, sometimes things go worse than usual. PMS, of course, or when you are off that, they say it's the lack of hormones, or of course if you are pregnant you can go through bad periods that send you back to the doctor and the prescription for laxatives or why don't you try some honey on an empty stomach? And like that for ever and ever, that's life in the tropics, that's your life.

Your life with constipation.

Then one day you discover the internet and you avidly start reading and you discover that probably a majority of women are, like you, sufferers, either from childhood or from the onset of their fertility years in adolescence and that for most of them nothing works except laxatives of one type or another... Now at least you know that you are not alone. Meager consolation.

A SENSIBLE LIST OF THINGS TO DO ON A DAILY BASIS FOR CONSTIPATION

There is no cure for constipation, that at least you know. Also, truth is, you are practically on your own, you are the only one that truly knows your body and how it fonctions, sort of. Here you have a list of things to do on a daily basis, from lighter to heavier. I'm not giving any true laxative although some might call my last-resort-thing a laxative and I don't, I will call it a supplement because obviously that's what it is.

So after having gone to your doctor or health practitioner to no avail, you might want to go back to them and show them the list and tell them, "look, this is what I would like to try, it's worked for others, what do you think?" And then start taking control of your life, start trying, you only can find out what works for you if you try.

1- WATER. Our sister water, so pure and innocent that it got a song from Francis of Assisi, the poet-saint, might be the first big help in your crusade to end your constipation. In a general way everybody knows that one should take a lot more water than we usually do. But for this specific purpose the best is to drink a tall glass of hot water first thing in the morning. Some people add a good squirt of fresh lemon juice and that is enough for them to reach their goal.

2- WHOLE RICE. Whole wheat bread or a zillion cereals bread might be excellent for your health but as far as I know they don't work for constipation. Whole rice does. They call it whole rice but it's only half whole, they don't leave the outer shell like in the old days any more. But what they leave on it makes it delicious and often works, it makes you regular. It doesn't work for everybody and maybe not all the time but it's an excellent beginning and you might want to keep the healthy habit of eating whole rice no matter what. I know many people that forgot about constipation only by eating this type of rice.

3- OATMEAL- Try to use the old fashioned type. You can make of it your breakfast, that's the usual thing to do but if you like another type of breakfast, oatmeal can be also delicious as soup, you just add it to your stock and have a bowl for lunch or dinner. The results are like #2, mixed. For many it's all the fiber they need to add to their lives to be free from the worries of constipation.

4- PRUNES- This is an old favorite to beat constipation, stronger that the previous ones. Prunes you can eat just munching on them --between 3 to 6 of them-- and drinking plenty of water, or you can cook them in your morning cereal, or you can drink them as juice, or you can make compote and have them as dessert. The population that benefits from prunes as faithful soldiers fighting constipation is huge, you can tell observing how quickly the commercial juices disappear and are immediately replaced in the supermarkets' shelves. Every person develops its own strategy with prunes. Some only drink the juice, and only at night, others only have cold compote in the mid-afternoon, others like the effect of the juice on an empty stomach in the morning, etc. The results can be amazing.

5-TRIPHALA CHURNA- Now we are talking serious stuff to take care of constipation. This is one of the most popular remedies of the Ayurvedic system but it still can be considered a food. Triphala only means THREE FRUITS. And churna means powder. These are the wonderful myrobalan fruits --blessed by the Buddha, they say.

These three fruits, the myrobalan cousins, are not a laxative and can be taken for several purposes but they systematically help you to complete your digestion from beginning to end. Most people obtain results to end constipation immediately and feel a well being that they had previously forgotten about.

You can find and use Triphala in capsules but this way is much more expensive than the powder, that is why I directly mention the "churna", the powder. Needless to say that you find it in the Internet and at your local Indian store but also more and more in plain Healthfood stores, particularly in the States, because a famous TV doctor a few years ago said that this was the only laxative that he could recommend to be taken daily. Of course, imho it's not truly a laxative, unless you call prunes a laxative. It's just food. The great advantage of the Triphala Churna is that you can try to measure your own dosage millimetrically, to suit your own needs. I would call Triphala Churna the emperor of weapons against constipation.

6- MAGNESIUM- This the last resort thing. This is the thing that you use when nothing else is working permanently and you got so fed up with trying things that you couldn't care less of having very soft stools --the typical effect of magnesium.

This is the thing that works practically 99% of the time with constipation. We are not talking about Milk of Magnesia that belongs to something I'm not talking about, the relief of occasional constipation. We are talking here about something for daily life, the Magnesium that you buy in powder form for the same reasons we mentioned for our previous one --better price and possibility of self customized dosage.

There are several types of Magnesium and all work, Magnesium chloride and Magnesium citrate are among the commonest. If I were you I would go for the Magnesium oxide. One reason is that it's among the less absorbable forms of magnesium, it practically goes to your intestines, does its thing --mainly soften your feces and give some dynamism to your gut muscles-- and gets off the body. Less danger of magnesium overload for the kidneys to filter.

This is by the way the only warning that apparently they give against magnesium, that people who suffer from kidney disease should not take it on a daily basis because it gives kidneys more work. But even if you suffer from any kidney condition you might want to ask your doctor, it might be less risky than other laxatives even for you, who knows.

Many people take magnesium every day of their lives and are exceedingly happy with it. There is a lady in the internet that sells you for close to 40 bucks an e-book swearing that she is giving you the definitive for ever and ever solution for constipation. She only talks about magnesium. She has the theory that magnesium is not a laxative but a needed supplement, that most adults lack magnesium and that they would be wise to incorporate it to their daily supplements whether for constipation or not.

Thing is, for constipation it always works. Another reason Magnesium oxide might be a tad better than the other forms of Magnesium is that it releases oxygen in your intestines, and people following the oxygen therapy maintain that this oxygen prevents the nasty bacteria from prospering while encouraging the good bacteria to multiply.

No matter what, talk to your health practitioner before putting yourself on a magnesium diet. But you can express your strong preference, it's really the thing to use for the otherwise hopeless victims of constipation.

Rosario Montenegro

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Comments 12 comments

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

I use a couple Senokot maybe once a week to clean things out a bit. Works for me and haven't noticed any ill effects.


rosariomontenegro profile image

rosariomontenegro 7 years ago from NEW YORK Author

James, I know you don't have much time but you might look into the things I listed here, they might be useful for the ideal, daily rythm of a healthy end of digestion process.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Oh yes, I read all of it. I am a big vegetable guy and a huge water drinker, too. I eat oatmeal and rice. So, I think I'm doing OK but you do have excellent information here. Thank you.


suzy47uk profile image

suzy47uk 6 years ago from devon

Very informative link Read my poem called constipation and see if it is true. xxx


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

Thanks for a very useful Hub. TRIPHALA CHURNA is new too me. Great advice.


solar.power profile image

solar.power 6 years ago from Brisbane

2 words. Pear Juice!!!


rosariomontenegro profile image

rosariomontenegro 6 years ago from NEW YORK Author

Really?

Please Solar Power, give us more info, like how to juice the pears, how much to take, at what time, which type of pear ... and also how long does it takes to be efficient ... is it for everyday use or just in emergencies ...

If you would be so kind as to complete this info, I'll open a new section at the end of the article to add the reader's recipes. Otherwise it might be lost, because not everybody wants to read through all the comments.

Thank you very much!


rosariomontenegro profile image

rosariomontenegro 5 years ago from NEW YORK Author

Dear Artour, thank you for your input. I've been looking at the website that you suggest, and I have serious doubts about the universality of its application. Look, they say:

"Your goal is to maintain strong air hunger for 1-2 minutes, while having this reduced breathing with total relaxation of all body muscles."

Did you try it? To maintain strong air hunger for some seconds is already difficult. Now, one or two minutes are an eternity, unless you are a qualified yoga practicioner, and most people are not. If on top of that you have to maintain total relaxation ... then we are talking of an accomplished yogi or yogini :-)

Nevertheless, I will put your suggestion in the article, because even if it benefits one person it would be worthwhile.

Thank you again for your contribution.

And let's keep breathing deeply ...


patrick 4 years ago

i have had chronnic constipation for almost my entire 44 years of life. i have started magnesium supplements (400 to 600 mgs per day) and have had amazing results. no cramping or diarhea just elimination of constipation, finally!


rosariomontenegro profile image

rosariomontenegro 4 years ago from NEW YORK Author

There you go!

Thank you Patrick for your message.

And let me remind all readers that MG is essential for the whole body, particularly your circulatory and skeletal systems.


watergeek profile image

watergeek 4 years ago

It may be that hatha yoga works for constipation too. I have to say, I have hardly ever been constipated, but I eat healthy foods (as you mention above), drink plenty of water, and do hatha yoga regularly.

I also don't let old attitudes build up (I think they're connected). In other words, I don't try to hold onto old ideas or things. I don't tighten up my butt or hold feelings in with my stomach anymore. If you read Louise Hay's stuff you'll see how what I mean. When I started exploring the link between our states of mind and physical health I got rid of headaches, heartburn, and insomnia right away. It really works.


rosariomontenegro profile image

rosariomontenegro 4 years ago from NEW YORK Author

Hi Watergeek, thank you for dropping by. And thank you for the sensible advice.

Nevertheless, the key to your message is: "I have to say, I have hardly ever been constipated". So we can assume you don´t know what it is to suffer from chronic constipation.

There are babies, and not in small numbers, who suffer from it. This tells you that the "attitude" thing is not the cause, although it´s going to play a role in the future, once they get to know themselves and try to work with their minds.

Chronic constipation is there and it gets worse with age. There is no cure for it, only management of it.

Solutions work for ever, sometimes, so if the person goes on applying it or them, then the symptoms cease. Let´s hope this is the case for everybody.

One more thing: there is no universal solution, only individual ones.

Thank you again.

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