Herbal Supplements
Constipation and Herbal Remedies
Digestive system of a human has such a peculiarity, that the normal cycle of the bowel movement varies within 3 times a day to 3 times a week. So constipation is diagnosed in case the bowel movement occurs fewer than 3 times per 7 days. This medical condition is characterized by hard, dry, small in size and painful stools with difficulties to eliminate the feces. Most cases of constipation are usually of a temporary character and, resulted from a bad diet or other disorder, they go away soon. Though, severe cases need medical attention since they may lead to bowel obstruction. Such severe constipation has its medical name – it is called obstipation.
The constipation is generally recognized by the difficulties in having regular stools. Infrequent bowel movements, straining, bloating, and sensation of a full bowel due to its incomplete evacuation are the most typical symptoms of the constipation. Severe cases of the condition feature bowel obstruction, vomiting, and paradoxical diarrhea.
While the food moves through the colon, it absorbs water from the food and forms waste products of what remains from this matter. Physiologically, constipation is the result of the colon absorbing too much water or its contractions being slow or sluggish to move the stool. Defecating and regular stools depend on dietary habits, exercise, fluid intake, and various other factors. If the person doesn’t get enough fiber in diet, lacks physical activity, drinks little, changes her lifestyle (pregnancy, travel) and just ignores the urge to have a bowel movement, constipation is likely to occur and add some troubles into the life routine. Some medications (antispasmodics, antidepressants, iron supplements, antiparkinson drugs, and diuretics), problems with the colon and intestinal function are also typical causes of constipation.
Traditional Approaches
Treatment of constipation depends on severity, cause and duration of the condition in every single patient. If the constipation is not severe, lifestyle and dietary changes help to remove the symptoms. Consuming fiber-rich products helps in forming soft bulky stools, and limiting such foods as cheese, meet, processed foods, ice cream protects from constipation. The common medical way to fight symptoms of constipation is the group of drugs called laxatives. These medicines are used for more severe cases - they work by making stools softer, enhance bowel distention, and prevent dehydration.
Alternative Approaches
Herbal therapies are applied as an alternative to the traditional methods.
Commonly known laxative herbs are senna and buckthorn. Their active compounds fight the symptoms of constipation and ease the bowel movement.
Less potential, but more suitable for mild constipation (due to the fewere side effects) is the group of herbs called bitters. They include chamomile, dandelion, and burdock and act by stimulating digestive and excretory systems.
Psyllium husks and flaxseed are rich in fiber and provide necessary nutrition needed for normal digestion and formation of larger qnd softer stools.
If the constipation doesn’t come in two days after taking herbal preparations, herbalists suggest using very powerful laxative – cascara sagrada. It stimulates bowel to contract and release the feces. Although, this herb should not be taken for more than two weeks.
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