Constipation is a very common problem. It is known fact that elderly have five times more chances of getting constipation than younger people. There are different factors which can lead to constipation in elderly, such as poor bowel habits, poor diet, lack of adequate fluids in your diet, the use of certain drugs to treat other medical conditions and a lack of exercise. Also, the constipation can be caused by psychological factor because adults are often concerned about their bowel movements. Older people have a lack of interest in eating so they eat a diet which is low in fiber. Loss of teeth can lead to constipation in elderly because they choose to eat soft and processed foods which are low in fiber. The lack of movement and lack of exercise can lead to constipation. Also, in some cases drugs which are prescribed to treat several medical conditions can lead to constipation. Many older adults fear that they will have constipation and this in some cases can lead these people to depend on laxatives. These laxatives are making habits so the natural mechanisms fail to work without the help of drugs. If you are older person and you have constipation, then you need to talk with your doctor if the mentioned home remedies are suitable for you. Here are some natural cures for constipation in elderly:
Natural cures for constipation in elderly
Kefir: This is a fermented milk beverage which originates in the Caucasus mountains in the West – Africa. Kefir is a Turkish word and it means “pleasant taste”. It is a probiotic which means that it has bacteria and yeasts which can benefit your health when it is indigested. Kefir has many different species of microorganisms which depends on the source. There was four week study in which 17 participant drunk 17 ounces of kefir per day, after their morning and evening meals. At the end of this study, participants used fewer laxatives and they have experienced improvements in the stool frequency and consistency. You can consume plain kefir or you can add it to smoothies and salad dressings. Also, you can mix it with cereals and topped with oat bran, chia seeds, flaxseeds and fruits to add some fiber.
Oat bran: This is the fiber – rich outer casing of the oat grain. Oat bran has more fiber than consuming quick oats. In 1/3 cup of oat bran there are 4.8 grams of fiber. In one study done in UK was shown that eating two oat bran biscuits a day can improve the frequency and consistency of the bowel movements and reduced the pain in participants who were between 60 – 80 ages. In another study done in Austria was found that 7 – 8 grams of oat bran on daily basis has reduced the usage of laxatives. You can easily combine oat bran with granola mixes and bake it into muffins or bread.
Prunes: It is thought that prune and its juice can be used as effective home remedy for constipation. Prunes have fiber and natural laxative sorbitol which is a sugar alcohol that has laxative effect. There are some studies in which are shown that prunes can be more effective than fiber. If you have constipation, then prunes are the best choice for you. It is thought that about seven medium sized prunes, two times per day is effective home remedy for constipation. If you have IBS, then you should avoid using prunes.
Magnesium citrate: This is a popular home remedy for constipation. It is a type of osmotic laxative which you can buy in drugstores. You should take moderate amounts of magnesium supplements because it will give you a relief from the constipation. In some cases, higher doses are used to prep and clean out the bowel before surgery or other medical procedures. You need to talk with your doctor about how much magnesium you should consume.
Apples: Apples are rich in fiber and in one – medium sized apple there are 4.4 grams of fiber and this is 17% of the daily recommended intake amount. There are some studies in which are noticed that the apple fiber can increase the stool frequency and weight, despite being given morphine, which is causing constipation. Apples are easy way to boost your fiber content and to alleviate the constipation. You can eat apples whole, juiced or in salads.
Citrus fruits: It is known that citrus fruits like mandarins, oranges and grapefruits are refreshing snack and a good source of fiber. These fruits are also rich in the soluble fiber pectin, especially in the peel. Pectin can accelerate the colonic transit time and it can reduce the constipation. Also, they have a flavonol called naringenin which can lead to positive effects of citrus fruits on constipation. There are some animal studies in which are shown that naringening can increase the fluid secretion in the colon which is causing a laxative effect. You should eat citrus fruits in fresh form and you should get the maximum amount of fiber and Vitamin C from them. Mandarins and oranges can be eaten at any time and in raw form. If you cannot eat grapefruit in raw form, then you can add it in fruit salad.
Figs: This fruit is a great way to boost your fiber intake and to promote healthy bowel habits. In one medium – sized fig, there are about 1.6 grams of fiber. In a half cup of dried figs, there are 7.3 grams of fiber which is almost 30% of your daily required amounts. Figs have an enzyme called fiacin which has a positive effect on the bowel function, alongside its high fiber content. Figs go well with both sweet and savory dishes. You can eat them raw or cook it.
Prebiotic food: The dietary fiber can increase the stool consistency and add bulk and both of them can improve the bowel movement frequency. Fiber can help you to treat the constipation because it has positive effects on the digestive health. Prebiotic foods can help to improve the digestive health by feeding the friendly bacteria in the gut. This can help to improve the balance of your gut bacteria. Some foods which are rich in prebiotics are bananas, onions and garlic.
Senna: This is herbal laxative which is commonly used to relieve the constipation. You can take it orally or rectally. It has many plant compounds, called glycosides, which can stimulate nerves in your gut and they can speed up the bowel movements. Usually, it is considered safe for adults to use Senna for short period of time but if you have noticed that your symptoms are not getting better in a period of few days then do not wait more and visit your doctor about your condition. Usually, Senna is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women and people who have certain health conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Coffee: It is noticed that for some people, coffee can increase the urge to go to the bathroom. This is due to the stimulating properties of coffee. It is stimulating muscles in the digestive system. There are some studies in which are said that the caffeinate coffee can stimulate your gut in the same way that a meal can. It is known that this effect is 23% stronger than drinking decaffeinated coffee and 60% stronger than drinking water. Also, coffee has small amounts of soluble fibers which can help to prevent the constipation by improving the balance of your gut bacteria.
Exercise more: There are different results given from studies about how exercise can effect on the constipation. There are some studies in which are shown that exercise does not affect the frequency of bowel movements. In another study in which participated people with IBS was found that exercising can significantly reduce the symptoms. If you have constipation, then you should try going for regular walks and it you will notice positive results.
Pears: Pears are rich in fiber and in one medium – sized pear there is about 5.5 grams of fiber. This is 22% of your recommended daily intake amount. You can eat pears raw or cooked. You can add them in your baked dishes, make juice of them or add them to fruit salads. Also, pears have fructose and sorbitol which can help you to rid of the constipation.
Drink more water: When you are dehydrated on regular basis, then it can make you to become constipated. It is very important to stay hydrated so you should drink enough water. You can drink carbonated water because it will help you to rehydrate and to do things normal. There are some studies in which are shown that the carbonated water can be more effective than tap water at relieving the symptoms of constipation. You should not drink sugary soda because it can make your condition worse.