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Safe and Effective Treatment of Constipation

Constipation happens to everyone on occasion. For most people, drinking more water to rehydrate will resolve the issue.

Chronic constipation can last for weeks or months. It can very uncomfortable and can cause inflammation in the mucosal lining of the colon. An inflamed colon can lead to further constipation problems over time.

The medical community does not know how to accurately define or treat chronic constipation. Conventional treatment involves the use of bowel stimulants that are unpredictable and often ineffective.

Without treating the underlying cause of the constipation the stimulant will need to be used whenever a movement is desired. Unfortunately, this is a poor long-term approach.

Fiber and Probiotics Could Deliver Relief for Constipation

Safe and Effective Treatment of ConstipationUniversity of Sao Paulo researchers report that combining fructooligosaccharides with the probiotics Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus increased bowel movement frequency in subjects suffering from chronic constipation within a 30 period of treatment.

Mixing probiotic and prebiotic fibers is called a symbiotic. The prebiotic fibers in this study were fructooligosaccharides, an insoluble fiber that promotes growth of bacterial flora in the gut. Prebiotics act as ‘food’ for probiotics.

The subjects of this study were 100 women suffering from constipation. Each woman was given either a placebo or a double dose of the symbiotic. The symbiotic group showed in increase in bowel movement frequency while the group given the placebo showed no improvement.

Furthermore, the symbiotic group displayed an improvement in stool shape and consistency, which are characteristics of stool that have been correlated with a decrease of constipation and gastrointestinal discomfort.

Researchers of the study found the results to be satisfactory, however they insisted that further clinical trials were necessary in order to come to any concrete conclusions. Symbiotics do show promise as an effective treatment for chronic constipation.

Chronic Constipation and Lifestyle Changes

Vegetables and fruits should be consumed on a daily basis. Grains, legumes, and bran can also be effective if eaten every day. These foods offer large amounts of fiber and promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Meat, cheese, and processed food are low in fiber and should be avoided.

Water consumption should be increased to eight glasses each day. Fiber requires water to digest, so eating more fiber require more water to process properly.Safe and Effective Treatment of Constipation

Caffeine has been shown to dehydrate the body. Caffeinated beverages including tea, coffee, and soda can dehydrate the body and the colon, making a bowel movement more difficult. However, caffeine has also been shown to stimulate intestinal contractions that could facilitate a bowel movement. Consuming caffeine drinks only after the daily recommendation of water has been consumed could be useful in stimulating a movement.

Physical activity has been shown to be effective in managing constipation. Exercise is recommended for regularity, especially abdominal exercises like crunches. Walking frequently is also helpful in aiding digestion.

When to See A Doctor

A doctor should be consulted if there are any abrupt changes in bowel frequency in middle-aged and elderly people, including constipation.

A screening should be performed to checks level of thyroid hormone and electrolytes, including glucose, calcium, potassium, and creatinine. Stool may be evaluated for blood or white blood cells.

Patients 50 and older that experience changes to their bowel habits will be required to participate in a mandatory colorectal screening. These tests will include a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy and barium enema. Testing is important in detecting any colorectal cancers and diverticular disease.

It is possible to treat chronic constipation without the use of stimulants. Eat plenty of fibrous foods, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and consider supplementing with a symbiotic. These natural remedies are effective and safe in treating constipation.

1. J. Clinical Nutrition. Aug 24, 2012. Doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.010 (

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*The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the Editor. Results may vary from person to person and cannot be guaranteed.

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