Constipation is a state in which an individual experiences a change in normal bowel habits characterized by a decrease in frequency and/or passage of hard, dry stools; difficult defecation; sluggish action of the bowels.Helpful Links:
Factors that predispose an individual to frequent constipation include lack of regular bowel habits from childhood, worry, anxiety, fear, and a sedentary life. Direct factors include improper diet, intestinal obstruction, tumors, excessive/habitual use of laxatives, weakness of intestinal musculature, spastic colon, use of certain drugs, and anal lesions.
t is debatable as to what the optimal bowel movement habit should be, as individuals vary. But one minimum of one movement per day is considered by most naturopaths to be "normal."
Constipation is a very common ailment, striking almost 100% of the population at one time or another. This is generally caused by inadequate fluid intake and a low-fiber diet, as well as lack of exercise. Many medications can cause constipation, including codeine, sedatives, iron supplements, and tranquilizers. The most gentle remedies for constipation include exercise, increase of fluid intake, and dietary changes including more fruit and fiber.
There are a variety of herbal supplements available to relieve the discomfort of constipation. Most herbal laxatives work to soften the stool by adding bulk to naturally improve bowel function. When taking any bulking agent, you must also drink plenty of fluids, otherwise the added bulk can further harden stools, making the constipation even worse.
Alpha Omega carries several products which are proven to relieve constipation in most users. These include Clean Colon and Omega LB (lower bowel). Within our Phyto Rx line of natural herbal extracts, you might consider Cascara Sagrada, which has been clinically proven as an effective laxative. It promotes peristalsis of the intestines, producing a bowel movement generally within 6-8 hours of taking this herb. Many FDA-approved commercial laxatives contain cascara sagrada and other herbs (as does Omega LB. Also of note: Dong Quai, Goldenseal, and Licorice have also been used to help relieve constipation. Dandelion root is a mild laxative often recommended by herbalists. It seems to be especially helpful for elderly or bedridden patients and others with chronic constipation. The anthraquinones contained in Yellow Dock have a cathartic action on the bowel and act in a gentle manner. Finally, we recommend Apricot Seeds as an aid to relieving constipation.
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Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the use of a qualified health care professional. We strongly recommend the use of a physician for the diagnostic phase of any treatment. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, we believe the consumer, at that point, has a basic, unalienable right to seek out factual information on all therapeutic approaches, both orthodox and alternative, and choose those approach(es) that are right for them. Nonetheless, a "good doctor" should be considered a requisite starting point.
To U.S. Users: None of the products mentioned on this page have been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; therefore, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.