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Constipation, what to do Natural laxatives provide gentle relief from constipation

Constipation often occurs when traveling, during pregnancy or after eating unfamiliar. Those who suffer from constipation often have to struggle with symptoms such as malaise, gas and possibly abdominal pain or cramps. It can sometimes take a few days for the bowel to get back to normal. Find out here what you can do with constipation and how you can gently help your digestion with natural laxatives.

Causes of Constipation

The reasons for short-term constipation can be quite banal - you are not in familiar surroundings, have been sitting for a long time or have changed your diet. All factors that come together, for example, during the holiday season and are often the reason why we first need one or two days in the hotel until everything goes back to normal. Even if we have to "mislead" it because it is not possible to go to the toilet in a relaxed manner, this can lead to short-term constipation. But there are also intestinal diseases that can cause long-term constipation. If you suffer from constipation for a long time, it is therefore advisable to consult a doctor to clarify the cause.

Particularly common: Constipation during pregnancy

Constipation affects women in certain circumstances. We are, of course, talking about constipation during pregnancy: Almost half of all pregnant women report being constipated from time to time. The reason for this is, on the one hand, the growing uterus, which in some women presses on the anus and constricts it mechanically. On the other hand, the concentrated hormones are responsible, which slow down the transport of the intestinal contents. Finally, the redistribution of fluid during the last trimester of pregnancy also contributes to the drying out of the intestinal contents. Increasingly, water is stored in the tissue, which is noticeable in many women in the form of swollen feet and heavy legs. The water required for this is withdrawn from the digestive tract instead of going with the stool. The iron supplements that pregnant women often take for iron deficiency can also promote constipation.

Symptoms of constipation

Everyone has their own digestive rhythm. Some “have to” several times a day, others only every two or three days. However, if this usual rhythm is interrupted and the intestines lose their rhythm, constipation can soon set in. The prevailing feeling: you would like to, but you can't. And the longer you wait, the worse it gets. The longer the stool remains in the rectum, the more water is withdrawn from it. The stool becomes hard and lumpy, bowel evacuation takes a long time and requires vigorous pressing. Afterwards, the feeling often remains that the bowel has not emptied completely. As a result, small but uncomfortable injuries to the anus can occur. More general side effects are abdominal pain, malaise and - that too - a bad mood.

When is it chronic constipation?

If the bowel movement does not normalize and the symptoms described persist for a long time, one can speak of chronic constipation. If you have symptoms of constipation for more than three months, or if you experience unpleasant sequelae such as hemorrhoids, you should definitely see a doctor. They can determine the causes of your constipation and, if necessary, prescribe therapy. In the case of constipation that occurs at short notice, however, simple home remedies and gentle purging can help so that the bowel gets back to normal.

Acute constipation, what to do? Simple home remedies for constipation

To get the bowels going again when traveling or in unfamiliar surroundings, two simple measures often help: drink plenty of water and exercise. Especially after long journeys in the car, bus or plane, the intestines become sluggish from sitting around for long periods of time. So after arriving, take a short walk and consciously breathe into your stomach. The movement gets the peristalsis, the natural movement of the bowel, going again. You can use a gentle abdominal massage as a support. To do this, spread your stomach clockwise with gentle pressure. If you know that your digestive system is sensitive when traveling, it is best to drink a large cup of warm water in the morning before breakfast. The water does not have to be brought to body temperature first, but can directly balance your fluid balance and stimulate the intestines. The movement combined with the extra fluid helps to move the intestinal contents naturally and prevents constipation. You can also support these measures by eating a high-fiber diet consisting of fruits and vegetables as well as whole-grain bread or muesli.

What to do with constipation during pregnancy

Similar home remedies can help with constipation during pregnancy. It is very important to drink a lot - this also relieves the symptoms of water retention and edema. Regular exercise and sports like swimming are also good ways to avoid constipation during pregnancy. Here, too, a high-fiber diet is a must. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be particularly careful when using laxatives, as many laxatives are unsuitable for them.

Natural and synthetic laxatives for acute constipation

If these simple measures do not help relieve constipation, you can try complementary synthetic or natural laxatives. There are basically two different types of laxatives in terms of application and mode of action - laxatives to be taken orally and laxatives to be administered rectally. In the case of acute constipation in the rectum, suppositories or enemas inserted through the anus provide quick and reliable relief. The stool in the intestine is quickly removed by the lubricating film or liquid it contains. As a rule, they remove the constipation very reliably, but not the cause. Their advantage is that they don't touch the rest of your digestive system and act very quickly. So stay near a toilet when using it.

Synthetic laxatives have powerful effects

Synthetic laxatives taken orally, which contain the active ingredients sodium picosulfate or bisacodyl, for example, have a similarly rapid effect. They inhibit the electrolyte and fluid uptake of the intestinal wall and instead stimulate the flow of fluid into the interior of the intestine. The stool liquefies due to the salty water that collects in the intestine, and it sometimes comes to emptying after a short time. For example, they are prescribed for a complete bowel movement before operations and should only be taken as directed by a doctor. An overdose can easily lead to overreactions such as abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

Not all natural laxatives are gentle too

Of course, there are also herbal laxatives that can help quickly with acute constipation. However, not every natural laxative can be described as "gentle". The leaves and fruits of the Egyptian and Indian sennes bush, for example, have a similar mode of action as the synthetic active ingredients described above. Like these, the active ingredient contained in Sennes reliably ensures complete emptying of the bowel by encouraging the flow of fluid from the blood into the bowel and inhibiting its absorption into the blood. The powerful effects of this plant have been known for centuries. In order to prevent violent reactions, it is also particularly important here to adhere to the correct dosage and not to take too much out of impatience. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are not advised to use senna leaves, as the active ingredient passes into breast milk.

Natural laxatives Epsom salt and Glauber's salt: gentle help with fasting cures and constipation

Natural laxatives made from Epsom salt or Glauber's salt are much gentler. The active ingredients contained here are the salts magnesium sulfate and sodium sulfate. The salts bind large amounts of water in the intestines. In this way, they prevent the outflow of electrolytes and water through the intestinal wall, but do not favor the additional influx via the intestinal mucosa. The water that quickly accumulates in the intestine softens the stool, increases its volume and promotes natural emptying. This type of laxative is also often used in fasting cures, as it "cleans" the intestine thoroughly and also drains dead bacteria and intestinal cells. The effectiveness of the two salts is slightly different. Glauber's salt affects the entire intestinal area and can lead to diarrhea-like evacuations. It is mainly taken by many users at the beginning of a fast. In the case of constipation, the use of Epsom salt is also recommended. It provides gentle relief as it does not irritate the digestive tract. With both laxatives, it is important to drink a lot to make up for fluid loss. The often very bitter taste of the pure salts is perceived as a disadvantage. Many users try to wash it away with a large glass of water or mix the salt with a squirt of lemon juice. However, better-tasting recipes are also available in stores.

Bulking agents flea seeds and flax seeds: Natural laxatives for constipation

So-called swelling agents have a slightly different mode of action. These usually consist of crushed flax seeds or Indian flea seeds. The seeds swell up in the intestine and thus enlarge and moisten the remaining intestinal contents. They work the slowest, but can also be used for protracted constipation, as they are very gentle. Important: When using swelling agents, it is essential to always drink a lot. If there is a lack of the necessary fluids, their effects are reversed and they help to make the constipation worse. Most oral laxatives take about six to ten hours to work. If you take them with plenty of water before going to bed, the desired effect should be achieved by the next morning at the latest.

What should be considered when taking natural laxatives?

Most laxatives are very well tolerated. Nevertheless, you should only take natural laxatives for a longer period of time if you suffer from chronic constipation and a doctor has prescribed a use for several weeks. On the one hand, the permanent support makes your bowels sluggish again. Second, laxatives that hold back salts and fluids in your intestines create an imbalance in your electrolyte balance. Because the substances that you also excrete through the laxative are of course missing in the organism in the long term. If laxatives are heavily misused, cardiac arrhythmias triggered by the mineral deficiency can be the result. Laxatives should only be used for a short time if possible. If there is a need for longer-term use, regular interruptions of 2-3 weeks are recommended. In any case, if constipation persists, the cause should always be clarified by a doctor. Also, be aware that laxatives can make oral medications and contraceptives less effective.

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