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How to Relieve Painful Constipation at Home: My Quick Cure for an Acute Case

Updated on May 14, 2015
Chris Telden profile image

Chris Telden, with a B.A. in sociology, has been writing online about health and lifestyle issues that interest her for nearly a decade.

There is help for constipation. Don't be bummed out.
There is help for constipation. Don't be bummed out. | Source

Constipation. We've all been there, and it's a pain. If you haven't been there yet, just wait - eventually your ducts will get clogged, and then you'll know what it feels like to be a stopped-up sink. Usually, constipation is nothing serious. I'm not prone to constipation as a rule, but when I was in college, I happened to need to go while taking a final exam. But I couldn't, because I wanted to finish the test. So I held it...and by the time I got home, I couldn't because I, well, couldn't. Things got quite painful, until I called the nurse on duty and spoke to her, and she gave me certain advice, which worked like a charm. I'm not a doctor (that wasn't a medical degree I was working towards), so don't take this as medical advice, but if you have an acute case of constipation, you may find that what helped me helps you get rid of constipation that's not so much chronic, as sudden and unusual. And best of all, it's widely available and free.

What is Constipation?

Constipation is the slowed functioning of the bowels/intestines. In other words:

  • You may have trouble having a bowel movement
  • Your bowels might have to strain - really go the distance - to do their job, which may also cause hemorrhoids
  • Your bowel movements might become less frequent - we're talking less than three times a week here - or
  • You might have pain while doing your business.

Consult Your Doctor

If constipation is new for you, or it's severe or goes on for longer than a couple of weeks, see your doctor. Your doctor can help get your bowels moving and check for any deeper causes that might be there.

My "Cure" for My Episode of Constipation

It's silly, it's so obvious, and seems almost too easy. Drink a glass of lukewarm water to get rid of constipation naturally, quickly and without fuss. The nurse told me this simple remedy that got rid of my constipation right quick. Water that's cold isn't nearly as effective. Hot water you have to sip slowly. Room temperature - just right. Drink lots of room-temperature water and then have a rest on the toilet and see how things go down.

If this doesn't help, try to eat something fatty. Fat, though it takes a while to digest, also can stimulate the intestines.

Note: Take laxatives to get rid of constipation only as a last resort. But don't take laxatives regularly without checking with your doctor. Long-term laxative use can rebound on you and keep that drain stopped up but good.

Quick Lifestyle Fix

This one may surprise you, but I learned it from my pediatrician when my child suffered from constipation. Exercise. Move around. Get sweating. Get things moving. It just may...

Dietary Help for Constipation

Since that time, I researched the best way to prevent painful constipation from afflicting my poor bowels. Here's what I learned.

Both to prevent and get rid of constipation, eat the following fiber-rich foods, and while you're at it, increase your water intake so your body can usher all that new fiber through the system:

  • legumes (beans)
  • whole grains (brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat)
  • fruits
  • vegetables, and lastly, the truly stellar weapon in any battle against constipation...
  • prunes

Furthermore, reduce your intake of (or eliminate from your diet temporarily) the foods that can cause constipation:

  • refined grains like white flour and white rice
  • dairy, including cheese, milk, yogurt, sour cream, and butter
  • carob is one food that has been used as a remedy for diarrhea, so as you might imagine, it's not exactly advisable if you have constipation
  • meat

No pun intended, but "eliminating" these foods at least temporarily from your diet may help you solve your problem without expensive constipation medications or sophisticated remedies.

Thinking of Trying Supplements for Overall Improvement?

If you're looking at supplementation because you have an inkling there might be a nutritional imbalance or mild gastrointestinal dysfunction, consider trying a quality probiotic like Udo's Super 8 or the shelf stable Kyo-Dophilus. I have personal experience with both and like them. (The Kyolic company, which makes the Kyo-Dophilus, proved admirably honorable when I checked with them about ingredients and cross-contamination with my child's allergens. They even exchanged my bottles for a different version we could use.)

Also consider that magnesium deficiency can cause constipation, so think about taking magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate or magnesium hydroxide, or even magnesium oxide, a less absorbable form. All of these are laxatives. Additionally, keep in mind that iron supplementation can cause constipation (watch out for those breakfast cereals). Calcium supplements can also constipate a person.

Finally, look into examining your diet for underlying problems processing certain foods. I had IBS, which admittedly manifested as constipation's opposite, diarrhea, but the key thing is that it went away when I went on a low-carb diet. I did not expect to find my IBS disappearing when I removed many grains and starches from my diet and increased my fat. I'm not saying low-carb is the answer to IBS for everyone, but there's a decent chance that some folks would be helped by certain dietary overhauls - say, if you discover you have an inability to digest gluten.

Disclosure

Please see my disclosure statement regarding compensation for this article.

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