Constipation Tips

Some Medications Can Cause Constipation

There are more than 150 prescription and over-the-counter medications that can cause mild to severe constipation. These range from antidepressants and antacids to prescription drugs used to treat elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disorders. Other consumables, such as vitamins and supplements, can also lead to suffering from severe constipation.

Use this guide to better acquaint yourself with some of the medications that are often associated with constipation. Though these are just some examples of possible culprits, it can help usher in a conversation with your medical provider or determine the best course of treatment.

  • Calcium and iron supplements
  • Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications
  • Cold medications (antihistamines)
  • Some antihypertensive (blood pressure) medications
  • Opioid (narcotic) pain medications
  • Antiparkinson agents
  • Opioid-containing (codeine or hydrocodone) cough medicines
  • Some cholesterol lowering drugs

If you are concerned that your medication is causing constipation:

  • For nonprescription medicines, stop taking the medicine and call your medical provider to discuss whether you should continue the medication./li>
  • For prescription medicines, check in with your medical provider to determine whether you should stop taking the medication. Never discontinue your medicine without your doctor's advice.

If you are struggling with chronic drug-induced constipation, unable to stop the medication because of your medical condition, and have not obtained relief from conventional laxatives, there exist safe and effective solutions. You can try herbal supplements that can counteract issues with constipation caused by prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Curb Constipation While Traveling

A staggering 234.1 million people are expected to travel on U.S. air carriers this summer-- and every single of them will take approximately 100 trillion intestinal microbes along for the journey.

Those gut bacteria play a major role in our daily lives, controlling everything from appetite to bowel movements. Given that as many as 40 percent of people report suffering from constipation while traveling, it goes without saying that our bodies struggle with adapting to changes in scenery.

Here are some traveling tips to help move things along in your intestinal tract so that severe constipation doesn't interfere with fun.

Avoid Long Periods of Sitting
Airplane travel and lengthy road trips can wreak havoc on your body's digestive system. Take time to stand whenever you can, drink plenty of water, and use the restroom when the need arises.

Hit the Produce Aisle
When decadent meals await, it's easy to forget about fruits and veggies. Doing so increases the likelihood of constipation, however. Keep things moving through your GI tract by bulking up on produce. The fiber in them helps push material in your digestive system.

If you know you're prone to traveler's constipation, consider bringing along a natural laxative or your herbal supplement for relief of chronic constipation as a backup.

Stress Management and Meditation Help Relieve Your Constipation

Most of us know that stress can cause a flurry of health concerns ranging from high blood pressure to headaches. What is less commonly known is the way stress can cause or increase constipation. While in most cases, knowing something helps prevent it, the opposite might be true here. After all, worrying about stress only amplifies it, thereby causing a vicious cycle. Practicing effective ways to handle stress can ensure that you don't have to suffer from severe constipation.

Stress affects our bodies in many different ways, including activating the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response). Often, when people face stressful situations, they do the exact opposite of what is helpful. That is, they eat unhealthy diets, drink fewer fluids, and reduce the amount of exercise they engage in. The first step to reducing the chances of severe constipation, then, is to eat a healthy diet, increase liquid intake, and keep moving.

Some other tips to help when life feels overwhelming include:

  • taking long walks
  • listening to music
  • talking to other people
  • meditating
  • receiving a massage

If you do not experience relief from constipation after trying these measures, it might be time to try natural herbal remedies for constipation relief. They may be an effective and safe solution to a problem that plagues many of us.

Unintended Sides of Conventional Laxative Types

Using any type of traditional medicine for a prolonged time can lead to a myriad of problems and issues. That said, the consequences are usually minor and worth the risk depending on the ailment. While severe constipation is a challenge that needs a remedy, conventional laxatives are worth a second look. Laxatives and other products intended to soften stools, relieve constipation, and cleanse the colon can bring tremendous relief, yet they can also bring unintended consequences.

Here's a glance at some of the side effects from ordinary laxatives. Knowing them will help you make an educated decision about whether you want to undergo conventional treatment or use an herbal supplement for the relief of symptoms.

Common Side Effects
The most frequently reported side effects include bloating, gassiness, and stomach cramps. Many people experience diarrhea as well, although that symptom typically subsides within a short time. If not taken with enough water, some people contend with increased constipation.

Infrequent Side Effects
Though less common, a sizeable number of people experience nausea, belching, and an electrolyte imbalance when seeking constipation relief.  The imbalance stems from prolonged use.

Rare Side Effects
Severe side effects include a low amount of potassium in the blood, an imbalance of body salts, extended muscle spasms, elevation of proteins in the urine, and an abnormal color of urine.

As with any medical treatment, it's wise to consider all of the potential risks and complications. But remember, relief from constipation is possible with minimal to no side effects.

Smart Chewing Helps Your Bowel Moving

As the well-known children's book by Taro Gomi states, "Everyone Poops." In fact, the average American adult male poops 360 pounds of fecal matter every year. Yet what if you're one of the 42 million people in the United States who struggle with constipation? Fortunately, there is help, and it is as close as your pantry. Here are four foods that can help your system get things moving more quickly.

Experts advise that we consume 25 grams of fiber every day to combat mild to severe constipation. One cup of kiwi provides one-fifth of that. Plus, it lacks the fructose of many fruits that cause bloating.

Sure, we all know "Beans, beans, the magical fruit..." but truly, they are rich in fiber (hello, constipation relief!) and versatile enough to blend with most meals.

Opt for some plain air-popped or healthy microwave popcorn to increase your dietary fiber. The added whole grains are a super effective strategy for constipation relief.

Eaten raw, broccoli is the superstar of fiber. Low on calories, high on nutrients, and packed with fiber, this should be a go-to food for anyone dealing with constipation.

Foods to Savor to Do Your Gut a Favor

If you are suffering from severe constipation, you may be looking for any help you can get. Conventional laxatives can provide some constipation relief, but you can also try to relieve constipation naturally. Dietary fiber can do the trick safely and effectively by increasing the bulk of your stool and helping it move faster through the intestines.

High Fiber Foods to Choose
Focusing on high-fiber foods can help you fight severe constipation, and improve your overall diet, too. These are some high-fiber foods that can help relieve constipation.
  • Vegetables, such as broccoli, winter squash, artichokes, brussels sprouts, spinach, tomatoes, and eggplant.
  • Fruit, such as berries, apples, pears, oranges, and prunes.
  • Whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, bulgur, whole wheat bread, and whole grain breakfast cereal.
  • Legumes, such as garbanzo, navy, pinto, and other beans, split peas, and lentils.
  • Peanuts and nuts, such as almonds, pecans, pistachio nuts, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts.

Increase your fiber intake only gradually to reduce side effects such as cramping and gas. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water.

Get Moving to Move Your Bowels Too

Approximately 63 million people suffer from constipation in the United States. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies, including drinking sufficient fluids, eating plenty of fiber and exercising. If you get your lungs and heart moving, your gut will get moving as well. If you're suffering from severe constipation or simply want constipation relief, try these exercises.

Aerobic exercises, such as kickboxing, swimming and dancing, are ideal for relief of constipation. Such activities increase blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract, leading to stronger intestinal contractions and increased digestive enzymes. The result is quicker and easier removal of food waste.

Various yoga poses also increase blood flow to the digestive tract and lead to more intestinal contractions, thereby aiding in constipation relief. One position is the down-facing hero's pose. Kneel on the ground, bend at your waist, and rest your forehead on the ground. Stretch your arms out in front of you with your palms together for 30 to 60 seconds. Another suggestion is to try the Pavanmuktasana, wherein you lay on your back and bring your knees to your chest, exhaling as you bring them closer. Lift your head to meet your knees, and hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds while breathing normally.

Speed Your Heart to Speed Your Gut

Exercise can burn calories, tone your muscles, and get your heart pumping faster, but that's not all it does. It helps fight constipation by stimulating your intestinal muscles and speeding the passage of food through your gut. If you have tried other remedies such as conventional laxatives and they did not work for you, you may find that exercise can get rid of your constipation.

What to Do:
Any type of aerobic exercise can help. Walking is a safe exercise for most people, and a good one to try if you are a beginner. Start off slowly and with only a few minutes, and aim to gradually increase your exercise time to 10 to 15 minutes a few times each day. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program, and drink plenty of water to replace the fluids you can lose through sweat.

When to Move:
Any exercise you do can help, but there are some times to exercise that are better for fighting constipation than others. Avoid exercising right after a meal so your working muscles don't interfere with the blood flow to your gut as you digest your food. Exercising before a meal or at least an hour afterwards can help.

Supplement Facts
Serving size 1 capsule
Servings per container 100
Amount Per Serving   %DV
Taraxacum officinale 120mg
Zingiber officinale 100mg
Aloe vera 180mg
Proprietary herbal blend 230mg
† Daily Value (DV) not established
Other ingredients: gelatin capsule

Suggested Use:
For adults, take 1 capsule 1 to 3 times daily with meals, or as directed by your healthcare provider.

Consult your healthcare provider before taking if you are pregnant or nursing, may become pregnant, or have a chronic medical condition.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store in a cool, dry place.