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Last Updated on May 14, 2021

8 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Constipation

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8 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Constipation

Being constipated is no fun! And yet it’s a surprisingly common affliction. Around one in five people are thought to suffer from it, with up to 8 million people visiting their doctor each year for a constipation cure.

However, medication isn’t necessarily the answer. Treating the cause is the only way to prevent the problem. In most cases, it’s a simple matter of figuring out what foods might be causing your digestion to malfunction, or whether your lifestyle is to blame. Medication or certain medical conditions can also contribute. It’s usually a combination of different things: constipation is rarely caused by a single factor.

Most doctors will define constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. But because everyone’s bowel movements are different, this can vary from person to person. There may be other nasty symptoms, such as pain and straining when going to the bathroom, gas, bloating, and difficulty passing stools. Stools may be dry, hard and dark.

Luckily, there are plenty of natural constipation cures that can be carried out in the comfort of your own home. Most of these ones are even backed by science!

1. Take a Top-Quality Probiotic Supplement

When you have an imbalance of healthy bacteria in your gut, your digestion can become sluggish and inefficient. This is because the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria or yeast in your gut can trigger a response from the immune system, leading to inflammation of the GI tract and the subsequent inflammation in other parts of the body.

Imbalances in the gut like Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or Candida overgrowth often lead to not only constipation but also inflammation, intestinal permeability and other symptoms.[1]

High-quality probiotic supplements are effective for both preventing and treating constipation. They deliver a quantity of live bacteria directly to your intestines, which is where your body breaks down food in a special process called fermentation. Here’re some recommendations: 7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation & Reviews)

Probiotics are ‘friendly’ bacteria which work with your digestive enzymes in your intestines, helping your body to break down the food matter and absorb the nutrients within it. When your body lacks the right type of bacterial strains, your digestion can be slowed or impaired. This can mean the food you eat sits in your intestines for longer, ultimately leading to constipation.[2]

Two of the most effective probiotic strains for relieving constipation are Bifidobacterium infantis[3] and Lactobacillus plantarum.[4] Look for a probiotic that contains these strains, as well as a high CFU count and lots of other probiotic strains.

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Fermented foods can also be an excellent source of probiotics, but keep in mind that they can cause temporary constipation after you start eating them. This should pass fairly quickly.[5]

2. Drink More Water

One of the most obvious causes of constipation is also the last most people think of: hydration!

When you don’t drink enough water, your body quickly becomes dehydrated. This means any waste in your intestines will become hard and sluggish, simply because your body can’t add enough moisture to your stools. If this is the case, your stools will be small, hard, dry and difficult to pass.

Try to drink at least 2 liters of clean, filtered water daily. The easiest way to do this is by carrying a drink bottle with you everywhere, so you can sip it regularly. This will help to move food and waste through your body and keep everything flowing naturally.

Water can increase your metabolism and help you to lose weight too![6]

3. Eat More Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber is the type that can be dissolved (i.e., it is “soluble”) in water. When soluble fiber comes into contact with liquid, it absorbs the liquid and forms a gel-like substance. It acts like a sponge, absorbing fluid and making your stools softer. This allows your body to move them out of your digestive tract more easily.

Good sources of soluble fiber include oats and oatmeal, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), barley, fruits and vegetables (especially oranges, apples and carrots). Psyllium husk is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. It’s a good remedy for constipation due to the way it stimulates bowel movements. Inulin is another good type of soluble fiber that you can buy from your health food store.

A study involving IBS patients found when they were given supplements containing soluble fiber (mainly psyllium husk), their symptoms improved significantly.[7]

Insoluble fiber may also help to ease constipation by increasing bulk in the stool and improving motility, but it can be too taxing on a sensitive gut.

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Non-fermentable soluble fiber is much easier to tolerate because it increases the water-holding capacity of the stool, softening it and making its movement through the intestines easier.

3. Get Active

Studies have shown that being sedentary is a common lifestyle factor in those with sluggish bowels.

An investigation into the link between constipation and sedentary behavior in adolescents found that constipation was often due to low physical activity and long periods of sedentary behavior. In most cases, when the adolescents were made to be more active, their constipation was far less frequent.[8]

Your colon responds to physical activity. The abdominal wall muscles and the diaphragm all play an important role in the process of moving waste out of the body. Good muscle tone helps to keep your bowel movements regular.

Any form of physical activity that moves your lower body can help. This includes running, walking, swimming and even trampolining!

4. Drink Caffeinated Beverages

Many people swear by coffee for making them need to go to the bathroom. As a stimulant, coffee triggers muscles in your digestive system, encouraging peristalsis (the wave-like movements in your intestines that push waste through to your colon).

One study showed that coffee has much the same effect on your gut as a meal and is 60% more effective than just drinking water. It’s also 23% more effective than decaffeinated coffee.[9]

However, because coffee is also a diuretic, it can cause dehydration – which will only make your constipation worse! Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day as well.

Non-caffeinated drinks like these herbal teas can also help to reduce digestive discomfort and alleviate constipation.

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5. Eat More Green Kiwi

Also known as kiwifruit and Chinese gooseberry, the kiwi is a very helpful constipation cure.

One medium-sized kiwi contains around 2.5 grams of fiber, along with a variety of nutrients. But the most important thing about kiwi is that it contains a protease enzyme called actinidine. Actinidine has been found to stimulate motility in the upper gastrointestinal tract, which helps to push waste along the intestines.

Another valuable nutrient in green kiwi is a peptide called kissiper. Kissiper has been found to work with specific ions to aid good digestion and improve peristalsis. One study showed that when adults with constipation ate just two kiwis a day, their bowel movements increased.

Kiwi is also a rich source of natural phytochemicals that can support the health of the gut. Because it’s technically a berry, you can even eat the hairy outer peel for extra roughage!

6. Try Senna

The herbal laxative Senna is commonly used to relieve constipation. It is available over-the-counter or online, and can be taken as pills or capsules, or drunk as a tea.

Senna contains a variety of plant compounds called glycosides, which stimulate the nerves in your gut and encourage faster bowel movements.[10]

It’s important to drink plenty of fluids or electrolyte replacement solutions while taking senna, as it can cause a rapid emptying of the bowels. Extra hydration will help to prevent you from losing too much fluid or electrolytes.

Although safe to use every now and then, prolonged use is not recommended. Talk to your doctor or a natural health practitioner if your constipation continues. Senna is not recommended for those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have inflammatory bowel conditions.

7. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are tiny black and white seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

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The great thing about chia seeds is that they’re rich in soluble fiber, so they form a lubricating gel-like consistency when they absorb water. This gel can help to improve the formation of your stools, making them moist and easier to pass. The omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can help an irritated gut.

The soluble fiber in chia seeds is much gentler on the gut and should be a part of your daily diet. It’s easy to add chia seeds to cereals, baked goods, smoothies and yogurt for a fiber-rich snack or meal.

8. Prune Juice

Prunes have long been known for their ability to keep you regular. They’re absolutely packed with fiber and they are extremely effective in moving waste through your gut.

The other great thing about prunes is that they contain a type of sugar called sorbitol. Because sorbitol can’t be broken down by your body, it passes through your colon undigested and draws water into your gut. This helps to bulk up your stool and stimulate a bowel movement.

Studies show that sorbitol is a safe and effective remedy for constipation,[11] and it’s often a favorite with older adults. Prunes can increase the frequency of your bowel movements and improve consistency. If you really have no idea of what to eat when constipated, a handful of prunes could be the easiest remedy in the book.

Take care not to overdo the dried prunes though – they CAN cause some gas and bloating!

The Bottom Line

Chronic constipation can seriously impact your life. It can also take a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. Feeling uncomfortable is only the part of the problem; your body will also suffer due to poor nutrition and sluggish digestion.

With the above natural constipation cures, you will feel better and can even prevent constipation.

Featured photo credit: Michael Jasmund via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Lisa Richards

Nutritionist, Creator of The Candida Diet, Owner of TheCandidaDiet.com

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

3 Steps to Get Rid of a Candida Overgrowth

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3 Steps to Get Rid of a Candida Overgrowth

Are you wondering how to get rid of Candida overgrowth? First, let’s look at what Candida overgrowth is and how it affects your body. Then, I’ll show you the three steps to get rid of it!

What Is Candida Overgrowth?

Candida albicans is a species of yeast that lives naturally on your skin and in your gastrointestinal tract. Normally, Candida is kept in check by your “friendly” gut bacteria, but sometimes, it can multiply out of control.

The resulting infections can cause pain and inflammation throughout the body, both on the skin and in the gut or genitals. Candida overgrowth is most often noticed on the skin, mouth, and vaginal infections.

An intestinal Candida overgrowth can inflame and weaken the walls of the intestines, releasing toxic byproducts that may lead to many different health issues, from digestive disorders to depression.[1]

What Causes Candida?

Candida overgrowth can be caused by a high-sugar diet, antibiotics, chronic stress, the contraceptive pill, chemical exposure, and diabetes. Usually, several of these dietary and lifestyle factors combine to trigger an overgrowth.

Antibiotics are perhaps the most common culprit for Candida overgrowth. Just one course of antibiotics can destroy many of the beneficial and friendly bacteria that live in your gut. This can leave your body defenseless to harmful bacteria and fungi, such as the fast-growing Candida yeast.

What Are the Symptoms of Candida?

Overgrowth symptoms

can include fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, sinus infections, recurring yeast infections, mild depression, joint pain, and much more. All of these can be linked to an imbalance in the gut flora.

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Here some of the most common Candida overgrowth symptoms. You may have just a handful of these, or you may have most of them.

1. Fatigue

Your gut is where nutrients are broken down, processed, and absorbed. If Candida has expanded its colonies to the point where it affects this balance, your digestion can suffer. Foods can pass through your gut without being properly broken down, so you won’t absorb the nutrients they contain. Over time, this can lead to fatigue as your body simply doesn’t get the fuel that it needs.

Candida overgrowth is associated with deficiencies in important nutrients like essential fatty acids, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin B6. Low levels in any of these nutrients, especially magnesium, can lead to fatigue.[2]

2. Brain Fog

Candida’s metabolic processes produce a wide variety of chemicals, many of which are toxic to us. These include a neurotoxin named acetaldehyde, the same chemical that causes hangovers. The liver can become overworked as it struggles to process larger amounts of acetaldehyde.[3]

This build-up of acetaldehyde, ethanol, and other toxins can slow down various processes in your body, particularly those of your nervous system and brain. Confusion, difficulties with memory, and poor concentration are typical signs.

3. Digestive Issues

A Candida overgrowth can both cause—and be caused by—poor gut flora. As well as weakening your immunity, this can really affect the way that your body digests food.

Those good bacteria that normally reside in your gut are a crucial part of your digestive system, responsible for the processing of starches, fibers, and some sugars. When a healthy gut microbiome is overwhelmed by an opportunistic pathogen like Candida albicans, the small and large intestine can start to function suboptimally.

Digestive issues related to Candida can include diarrhea, gas, bloating, constipation, cramps, nausea, and more. Researchers have linked Candida overgrowth to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, gastric ulcers, and duodenal ulcers.[4]

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4. Recurring Yeast Infections

Repeated vaginal yeast infections are a clear sign that something is wrong with your microbiome. More than 75% of women will get a vaginal yeast infection during their lives, and almost 40% will have two or more yeast infections. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection will vary from person to person, but they can include itching, swelling, white discharge, pain during intercourse.[5]

5. Oral Thrush

The same environmental changes that cause an intestinal overgrowth can also lead to an oral Candida infection. If you take antibiotics or eat a high-sugar diet, they will change the environment in both your gut and your mouth, making both locations more appealing for the Candida fungus. Signs include white bumps or lesions on your tongue, throat, or elsewhere in your mouth.

3 Steps to Get Rid of a Candida Overgrowth

There are three indispensable parts of any Candida treatment plan: a low sugar diet, natural antifungals, and good probiotics. These three things help deprive Candida albicans of the food it needs, prevent it from colonizing your gut, and restore a healthy balance of good bacteria. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation can also go a long way towards recovering your gut health.

Here are three steps on how to get rid of Candida overgrowth.

1. The Anti-Candida Diet

The Anti-Candida diet is a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that promotes good gut health. The diet includes non-starchy vegetables, some low-sugar fruits, non-glutinous grains, fermented foods, and healthy proteins.[6]

The diet endorses eating more of the anti-inflammatory foods that can reverse inflammation. This means vegetables, healthy proteins and fats, and fermented foods. Bone broth, for example, contains gelatin that can protect against damage to the intestinal wall. It contains glutamine has been shown to inhibit the inflammation and oxidative stress that leads to intestinal permeability.[7]

Fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt naturally contain lots of probiotic bacteria. Terms that you should look for on the label include “live cultures,” “probiotic,” and “unpasteurized.” These are a good sign that the product contains live bacteria. The best foods include unsweetened yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kvass, pickles, olives, and apple cider vinegar.

Avoid anything with added sugars, high-sugar fruits, and glutenous grains. Try to minimize your alcohol and caffeine consumption, as they can cause inflammation in your gut and destabilize your blood sugar. This is because Candida uses sugar for cellular growth and to transition into its pathogenic, fungal form that is most likely to spread around your gut and elsewhere. It also uses sugar to form the biofilms that allow it to hide from your immune system. These biofilms are a protective matrix that Candida albicans builds around itself.

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2. Probiotics

The next step to getting rid of Candida overgrowth is consuming good probiotics. More than 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut, which means that your digestive tract (and bacteria within it) plays a hugely important role in the prevention of infection and disease.[8] The cells lining your gut interact with both your innate and adaptive immune systems, which makes your gut the first line of defense between your body and external pathogens.

Studies have shown that a healthy microbiome increases the effectiveness of your immune system and helps your body to fight off pathogens. Probiotics have been shown to offer protection from E Coli., reduce the frequency and duration of respiratory infections, lower the risk of UTIs, and prevent or treat infectious diarrhea caused by illness or bacteria.[9]

For those suffering from Candida, probiotics have been shown to prevent Candida albicans from creating biofilms and forming colonies in the gut. By rebuilding your immune system with probiotics, you can improve your body’s natural defenses against Candida albicans. This is important not only to beat your Candida overgrowth but also to prevent Candida and other infections from recurring in the future.

3. Antifungals

Lastly, antifungals can also help if you want to get rid of Candida overgrowth. Although antifungal drugs are well-absorbed and have a strong antifungal effect, they have some unpleasant side effects. Even worse, yeasts and fungi tend to adapt to the drug and become resistant to it, which means the effect is significantly reduced.

There is a huge range of natural antifungal herbs and foods that are equally effective in treating Candida infections, which, in many cases, are even better. Natural antifungals don’t tend to lead to resistance and they generally have far fewer side effects.[10]

Here are a few good examples of natural antifungals:

Caprylic Acid

Caprylic acid is one of the active ingredients in coconut oil. It works by interfering with the cell walls of the Candida yeast. Its short-chain fatty acids can easily penetrate the cell wall of the yeast and then inhibit its growth by causing it to rupture. This effectively destroys the yeast cell.

In fact, studies show that oral supplementation with caprylic acid reduces the symptoms of Candida more quickly and efficiently than Diflucan.[11]

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Oregano Oil

Oregano oil not only inhibits the growth of Candida albicans but is also a powerful preventative if taken daily. It contains two naturally occurring antimicrobial agents: carvacrol and thymol. These agents work by reacting with the water in your bloodstream, which effectively dehydrates and kills Candida yeast cells.

Other studies report that the major terpenoids in oregano—carvacrol, thymol, and eugenol—have important antifungal activity. These important phenols are effective in not only killing planktonic cells but also the biofilms of Candida albicans, which are often resistant to many pharmaceutical antifungal drugs.[12]

Garlic

Garlic contains the powerful antifungal agent ajoene, an organosulfur compound that has been found to kill off a variety of fungal infections. Several studies have found ajoene to have potent anticandidal activity and the ability to halt the growth and spread of Candida albicans.[13]

As with other antifungals, scientists believe that ajoene works by disrupting the cells walls of the Candida yeast cells, preventing them from functioning properly.

Final Thoughts

Candida overgrowth can be caused by a combination of lifestyle and dietary factors. It can be easily resolved at first, but it may start becoming problematic if left unattended. Just remember these three tips on how to get rid of candidate overgrowth: have a low sugar diet, take natural antifungals, and consume good probiotics.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

Reference

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