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CAN FASTING HELP RELIEVE CONSTIPATION?

Staying regular is not always as easy as it sounds. Many people suffer from hard poops. If you are one of them, look for effective constipation treatment before the condition goes out of your hand. The action of eating food, drinking liquids, and having bowel movements all take place in a specific order for most people. When eating food, the muscles in the stomach and intestines start to break down what we eat into smaller pieces. As a result, our body absorbs the nutrients we need. Once the food is broken down into smaller parts, our small and large intestines go to work and move those parts. In addition, they push them through the digestive tract. If not all this was enough, we also have a well-oiled mechanism for making sure that we use the bathroom regularly.

How does fasting ease hard stools?

If you suffer from an irregularity of bowel movements and want an easy way to relieve yourself without taking a laxative or other medication that creates its issues, fasting may be an option. The idea is simple. It is to stop eating for some time. As a result, the intestines will get a break from any pressure you may be putting on them. It allows a little time to allow feces to move through with ease. As a result, it relieves stiff poops and allows for regularity again. If it does not work for you, consult your doctor for effective constipation treatment.

It is crucial to understand that you should not try this approach without medical supervision. You should take at least a recommendation from a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional. Some people have medical conditions that make fasting potentially dangerous. Therefore, the advice of a reputable healthcare professional is vital.

What should you take care of while fasting?

You should make sure that you are not already on a weight loss diet when starting this process. Some medications can interfere with how the body uses food and what kinds of nutrients it absorbs. Therefore, it could be dangerous and potentially life-threatening when fasting.

What is constipation?

The definition varies depending on whom you ask. However, the simplest way to define constipation is that it is abnormally infrequent bowel movements. They are typically difficult, incomplete, and often painful. Nevertheless, it can vary from placid to severe. Some people experience only a few days of discomfort per year. On the other hand, others have symptoms daily or weekly.

What are the symptoms of constipation?

Its symptoms are both physical and psychological. Consult your doctor for effective constipation treatment if you experience the following signs and symptoms. 

  • Feeling as if the last part of the large intestine (rectum) is not completely emptied after a bowel movement
  • Straining to have a bowel movement or having difficulty passing stools
  • Need to push harder or for a longer period than usual to have a bowel movement
  • Painful bowel movements
  • A bowel movement that is narrower than usual
  • Petite, dried out stools that are rigid to pass

Moreover, you may also experience a feeling that stools remain in the rectum after having a bowel movement. This feeling may lead you to strain even more while trying to pass stools. Furthermore, it can cause damage to your anal sphincter.

Psychological symptoms can comprise uneasiness, despair, and loss of inspiration.

What are the causes of defecation problems?

There are generally four causes of stiff poops. They are as follows-

  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Diseases or disorders; they may include metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and hypothyroidism
  • Lack of adequate fiber intake

Why is fiber important?

Fiber can help and support your constipation treatment. It adds bulk to our diet, which makes us feel full. It is true. However, it is not the whole story. There are two major ways that fiber increases satiety. The first way involves the fermentation of fiber in the colon producing short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate. Moreover, these molecules enter our bloodstream. They can fuel cellular metabolism, which helps with weight management.

The second way that fiber is important for satiety involves the binding of sugars and amino acids by their glycosidic bonds. It reduces the absorption and the rise in blood sugar. Furthermore, this action slows the release of insulin. This is why fiber is often referred to as nature’s medicine. The reason being it can help treat conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.

How does fiber prevent a difficult bowel movement?

You need to understand that an integral part of the large intestine (colon) is a good mix of healthy bacteria. The health of this flora is paramount to maintaining regular bowel movements. However, the key step in fiber’s ability to prevent irregular bowel movements is maintaining the balance of healthy gut microbiota. It means that they can inhibit bad bacteria and yeasts from causing harm. Good bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids. Furthermore, they kill off harmful organisms.

Add the necessary amount of fiber to support your constipation treatment. You can take the help of your healthcare provider to know the adequate fiber proportion you need.

What medications can help treat constipation?

Constipation is a common gastrointestinal complaint. However, a variety of medications can treat the problem. Several medications ease the condition by stimulating bowel movements. On the other hand, some medicines stimulate the nerves in the bowels to contract more frequently and increase muscle tone in the bowel. Others promote fluid secretion into the intestines.

Some effective medications for defecation problems are as follows-

Osmotic laxatives

These work by retaining water in the colon. Furthermore, these drugs soften your stool to make it easier to pass. Osmotic laxatives may be oral or rectal suppositories, powders, or liquids. However, commonly available osmotic laxatives include-

  • Polyethylene glycol 3350 (Miralax, Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia) Lactulose (Cephulac)
  • Magnesium citrate (Citroma)
  • Magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia)
  • Bulk-forming laxatives

These can be either soluble fiber or insoluble fiber. Bulk-forming laxatives soak up water in the intestine and puff up to form a soft, bulky stool. Moreover, you can find this constipation treatment in most over-the-counter remedies, especially fiber supplements.

Stimulant laxatives

These medications irritate the large intestine to induce the evacuation of stool. You can get stimulant laxatives over the counter and by prescription. However, commonly used stimulant laxatives include-

  • Bisacodyl (Dulcolax, Correctol)
  • Senna (Senokot, Ex-Lax)
  • Polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes (GoLYTELY)

Stool softener

They can be either oral or rectal suppositories. Stool softeners work by retaining water in the stool, making it easier for your body to pass. Moreover, you can find these medications over-the-counter.

Cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran)

It works by binding bile acids in the intestine, which causes increased water reabsorption from the bowel lumen. As a result, there is a reduced fluid secretion into the gut. Cholestyramine can help with your constipation treatment.

Octreotide

Octreotide (Sandostatin) is a synthetic form of a naturally occurring hormone, somatostatin. It works by decreasing water secretion in the bowel and the production of other gastrointestinal hormones. Moreover, octreotide can improve gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with refractory ascites by reducing the amount of fluid accumulation in the abdomen.

What are the complications of defecation problems?

Complications of such a condition include hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and rectal prolapse. In the absence of proper treatment, the person may experience fecal impaction. It is a severe form of a defecation problem where stool hardens in the colon. Furthermore, this severely dehydrates the body and may lead to severe disorders, including death. Patients need to report any rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, bloating, or worsening condition to the healthcare providers.

What are the best ways to relieve constipation?

Medicine is the most common way to ease bowel movements. However, it can show side effects. Medicines can also trigger severe problems over time. Therefore, you should look for natural ways before landing on using medications, that too for a long period. Some of the finest approaches are as follows-

  • Start taking probiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria that help in digesting your food. Taking probiotic supplements can relieve hard poops by helping to digest food faster and ensure proper metabolism. Therefore, if you suffer from chronic problems, taking natural preparations with live probiotic cultures can support constipation treatment. Store-bought yogurt contains high levels of probiotics. However, it is not enough to relieve your condition. Also, avoid eating yogurt with added sugar.

  • Increase your fiber intake

Constipation occurs when your stool lacks fluid, causing it to become hard and dry. Therefore, if you have defecation problems, taking natural sources of fiber can help alleviate your condition. Fiber absorbs water and softens your stool. Moreover, psyllium husk is the best source of fiber. Psyllium husk not only relieves hard poops. However, it also reduces cholesterol levels in the body.

  • Drink plenty of fluids

Drinking plenty of fluids ensures that your digestive system works properly. In addition, it also helps you avoid hard poops by flushing out toxins from the body. If you have problems with bowel movements, it is best to drink plenty of water and clear fruit juices daily.

  • Exercise daily

Exercise is not just helpful for getting rid of excess weight. However, it also helps in relieving irregular bowel movements. According to some studies, exercising daily can relieve the condition within a week. Therefore, if you have such a problem, it is best to avoid a sedentary lifestyle and start doing some exercise. It may surely support your constipation treatment.

  • Massage your stomach

Massaging your stomach not only helps in improving digestion. However, it also helps reduce digestive problems such as constipation. You can buy a massage belt and use it on your stomach for 10 – 15 minutes daily.

  • Try apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is known for its medicinal properties that help treat various diseases, including defecation problems. Therefore, if you have such problems, the best thing to do is start taking this solution regularly. Remember that drinking apple cider vinegar daily may lead to side effects. They may include decreased potassium levels and increased risk of bone fractures.

  • Take magnesium supplements

Magnesium supplements are widely known for their therapeutic properties. They may help treat many diseases, including constipation. Therefore, if you have defecation problems, it is best to start taking magnesium supplements daily. Keep in mind that taking magnesium supplements on a long-term basis may lead to side effects. They may include diarrhea and nausea.

  • Try aloe vera juice

Aloe vera juice helps with constipation treatment by softening your stool and stimulating bowel movements. Therefore, it is best to start drinking aloe vera juice regularly if you have problems with a chronic condition. Keep in mind that taking aloe vera juice long-term may lead to side effects. They may include electrolyte imbalances and an increased risk of bleeding.

  • Try olive oil infusion

Olive oil infusion helps soften the stool and stimulates bowel movement. Therefore, it is best to start taking olive oil infusion regularly to prevent stiff poops. Keep in mind that taking olive oil infusion long-term may lead to side effects such as diarrhea.

Above all, consult your doctor for a harmless consumption of these remedies.

How do you prevent constipation?

Constipation takes place when you have less than three poops per week. It can result due to lack of fiber in the diet, drinking inadequate fluids, certain medications, not enough physical activity, and travel. Moreover, it also may be related to certain medical conditions or hormonal changes in women. With this condition, you feel bloated and uncomfortable, and your stomach appears bloated and distended. Moreover, you feel, as there is a brick in the lower part of your abdomen. You may also feel as though you have not completely emptied your bowels after bowel movements. Furthermore, you may also experience cramping or rectal pain, mucus, or blood when wiping following a bowel movement.

Use your constipation treatment prescribed by your doctor. Moreover, the following measures can assist in putting off the risk of hard stools-

  • Track your diet

Initially, you have to look at your diet. Avoid fatty foods because they slow down the food movement through the large intestine (colon). Dietary fiber is also excellent for colon health and prevents defecation problems. However, it can lead to gas or bloating if you get too much. You should get 15-20 grams of fiber daily.

  • Avoid laxatives

Do not abuse the use of laxatives. They are not an effective treatment for your condition. Moreover, laxatives can lead to dependency or worsen symptoms.

  • Check if you are taking OTC medications

Over-the-counter meds are fine. However, you must be aware of their side effects. They can include dry mouth, blurred vision, urinary retention, low blood pressure, headache, and dizziness.

  • Exercise

Exercise is also crucial. It increases peristalsis in your colon muscles. Moreover, exercise maintains muscle tone in your abdomen and supports your constipation treatment.