HOW TO DEAL WITH CONSTIPATION
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.