Constipation: symptoms, causes, all remedies

Constipation: symptoms, causes, all remedies

Constipation or constipation is one of the most common ailments of these modern times. Stress, incorrect nutrition, sedentary lifestyle are conniving factors that determine a slowdown in intestinal motility.


Constipation is characterized by little or no stool evacuation due to physiological, hormonal or emotional causes . Let’s find out better.

  • Symptoms of constipation
  • How many days does constipation last?
  • Causes
  • Diagnosis
  • When to see a doctor?
  • Constipation in children
  • How to prevent constipation
  • Recommended foods
  • Foods to avoid 
  • Natural cures for constipation
  • Bach flowers
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Aromatherapy
  • Exercises

Symptoms of constipation

The obvious symptom is poor or insufficient stool evacuation. However, there is talk of constipation only in the event of an interrupted bowel movement for a period of at least three days.

It is a difficult and irregular evacuation accompanied by an incomplete intestinal emptying. The most frequent symptoms of constipation are a reduced frequency of bowel movements ( less than 3 per week ), the presence of hard stools, excessive effort during defecation.

How many days does constipation last?

There is a form of constipation defined as acute , characterized by its transience, which can resolve itself from 3 to 7 days, and chronic constipation , a real stubborn constipation, which can last longer than 6 months.

Often when you change your environment, generally if you go on vacation or travel for work, prolonged constipation can occur that lasts a few days. Nothing to worry about but certainly uncomfortable. 

Constipation or constipation can be due to multiple causes , in fact it is usually indicated as a symptom to always be traced back to a disorder on which it is good to investigate. There are tests such as anorectal manometry, defecography, neurophysiological methods.

On an emotional level , constipation can be linked to a tension that pushes you to always and in any case hold back emotions. Some psychotherapists refer both this disorder and its opposite, diarrhea, to the  relationship with the mother . 

Constipation can be due to  hormonal factors ( hypothyroidism ) , gastrointestinal , or it can be caused by the action of some  drugs . Constipation is said to be idiopathic and cannot be linked to any of these factors. Idiopathic  constipation  can result from a colon failing to push the fecal mass and slowing transit. 

When to see a doctor?

It is advisable to consult your doctor when you are in a condition that lasts for less than 3 bowel movements a week , with forced defecation and hard stools, a condition that lasts for several months. In these cases, the doctor will subject the patient to a series of diagnostic tests to identify the type of constipation and prepare a series of remedies.


The goal of the diagnosis is to study the time of  intestinal transit  in those who experience slowing of the path of fecal material. 

The primary  diagnostic approach involves the execution of techniques of easier applicability and reliability to exclude an organic colic or anorectal pathology:

  • Direct abdomen x-ray
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Barium enema x-ray
  • Colonoscopy

Later, more sophisticated techniques can be used, in case of doubtful results.

Constipation in children

Constipation in children is framed with some different parameters than those of adults. It is identified as constipation if you are faced with a situation of 2 evacuations or less in a week for a month .

Sometimes it comes to voluntary retention, due to the memorization of painful bowel movements due to hardened stools. Constipation in children is attributable to a slowing of intestinal transit, to a high absorption of the aqueous content contained in the waste material, with consequent hardening and increase in the volume of feces.

This is generally a functional constipation, before the age of 4 due to the change of the food table, with the introduction of new nutrients, after the age of 4 of school age, causes conditioned by the external environments of the house, possible emotional stress can intervene.

How to prevent constipation 

The first tip to prevent intestinal constipation is to drink plenty of water every day, to hydrate the body, facilitate the transit of feces.

A sedentary lifestyle also weighs down intestinal motility: it is important to move, even simply walk at a brisk pace to provide the right input to the viscera.
Treat your diet with the introduction of lactic ferments , fibers , fresh fruit .

Recommended nutrition in case of constipation

Constipation is a disorder that leads to the evacuation of stools less than once a day, sometimes even once every three or four days, with a gradual intoxication of the colon and of the whole organism . The causes of constipation, excluding pathological ones, are many:

  • Unhealthy and balanced diet;
  • alteration of the intestinal bacterial flora;
  • slowing of liver activity
  • medications;
  • stress.

In the diet it will be good to privilege the so-called laxative foods :

  • Linseed ;
  • whole grains ;
  • legumes ;
  • dried nuts ;
  • fruit;
  • seasonal vegetables .

Instead, avoiding packaged foods and an excess of animal protein consumption. 

To facilitate intestinal transit, it is necessary to increase the intake of fiber, which is easily obtained by preferring foods such as whole grains to refined flours (white pasta and white bread).

Also the intake of foods rich in natural prebiotics , such as:

  • Onions _
  • garlic ;
  • asparagus ;
  • artichokes ;
  • wheat ;
  • soy ;
  • leeks ;
  • bananas ,
  • chicory ;
  • Belgian endive .

Varying the cereals also using spelled , barley and brown rice allows us to take advantage of the qualities of the grains not only for the fibers but also for the soothing and decongestant properties they have on the intestinal mucous membranes.

It is also necessary for the body to have a good level of hydration by drinking regularly and introducing vegetables rich in vegetable water (various types of green leafy salads , endive, cucumbers, fennel) at meals.

The fruits to be preferred are those with a laxative action such as kiwi , apple with peel , ripe pear and prunes .

The liver should also be stimulated with bitter vegetables (chicory, turnip greens, chicory, artichokes, nettles, radicchio) not boiled but sautéed in a pan with garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

In chronic constipation it is useful to drink in the morning on an empty stomach a solution of water, lemon and honey that is prepared by dissolving a spoonful of honey in 100ml of water to which the juice of half a lemon will be added .Foods to avoid 

In case of constipation there are foods that must be avoided because they slow down intestinal peristalsis:

  • Foods rich in starch such as bread, refined durum wheat flour pasta;
  • refined rice;
  • red wine and tea , rich in astringent tannins

You can learn more about the properties of pinto beans, useful in case of constipation

Herbal remedies for constipation

Plants against constipation can act:

  1. By stimulating peristalsis , that is, the muscle contraction that the intestine makes to eliminate faeces (anthraquinone laxatives);
  2. or by hydrating the fecal mass, lubricating the walls to facilitate evacuation (mechanical laxatives).

Both categories of plants are available in tablets, capsules, syrups, fluid extracts, infusions and macerates. 

The stimulant laxatives  are those plants containing anthraquinones , which make the stools soft , to be used occasionally, to solve acute cases of constipation, to prepare for surgical interventions or diagnostic tests (colonoscopy), because they are strongly irritating to the intestinal mucosa, as: 

  • Senna : ( Cassia angustifolia ) the leaves are widely used for short-term treatments (one or two weeks), in case of acute constipation, as it is an irritating laxative, which compromises the correct intestinal function; 
  • Rhubarb Rheum officinale ), is used for the treatment of constipation, and in ailments in which an easy evacuation is necessary, in case of indigestion, liver failure and chronic liver diseases, for its laxative and purgative properties but also tonic and digestive;
  • Buckthorn : ( Rhamnus frangula ) the bark, unlike other anthraquinone laxatives, has the ability to restore tone to the muscle fibers of the intestine , stimulating peristalsis in a gentle way. For this reason it is not irritating or addictive, so even prolonged use is less harmful than other natural laxatives. The plant is indicated in cases where the stools must be soft, in the presence of fissures , hemorrhoids and after rectal surgery, in chronic constipation of the elderly. 

These plants, together with artichoke, dandelion, fennel and caraway, are part of the natural supplements against constipation .

The mechanical laxatives include plants containing mucilage, active ingredients capable of increasing their volume, in contact with water, compared to their dry form, producing a gel, capable of increasing the quantity of fecal mass, softening the content.

  • Mallow : ( Malva sylvestris ), the leaves and flowers are used to hydrate and relieve the intestine, and to regulate its functions, thanks to its gentle laxative action, due to the ability of the mucilage to form a sort of gel, which mechanically acts on the I did and thus facilitating its elimination. The treatment of constipation with mallow is non-irritating and non-violent, therefore it is indicated in pregnancy, to treat constipation in children and for the elderly; 
  • Licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra) its root is mildly laxative, thanks to the presence of a natural sugar (mannitol), which attracts water into the colon, facilitating its emptying. For this reason the decoction is very effective in case of constipation and in disorders related to irritable bowel syndrome; 
  • Psyllium Plantago Psyllium ) and Flax Linum usitatissimum ), also their seeds in contact with water, open, increase in volume, and giving rise to the formation of a gel, which facilitates evacuation. The additional lubricating effect makes them suitable for hemorrhoids, anal fissures, colitis. 

Among the bud extractives, that of Cranberry Vaccinum vitis idaea ) is considered the anti-inflammatory par excellence of the intestine. Its regulating action corrects the imbalances of enterocolic mobility, that is in case of constipation or diarrhea, and restores intestinal enzymatic activity. Its intake eliminates flatulence, due to the fermentation of feces, flames the walls and normalizes the functioning of the intestine, especially the colon. 

There are also medicinal mushrooms useful against constipation : these  have a healthy effect on the intestine, are  natural laxatives  and perform an action mainly on the nervous system, relaxing the contracted muscles of the colon.

Bach flowers 

On a psychosomatic level , constipation is related to holding back. He holds back for fear of disturbing, for fear of not liking someone (he will criticize me, scold me, etc.). Constipated people are closed, controlled, very formal, stingy and jealous of what they have. They always offer a “clean” image characterized by great ideals and particular righteousness. 

Rock water : it is the remedy for chronic constipation from self-control on physical and emotional needs. 

Impatiens : it is the remedy for constipation in those who do not have time to keep up with the needs of their body, due to excessive impatience. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine  

In traditional Chinese medicine, constipation is due to  Heat , stasis  of liver Qi  , Spleen and Stomach deficiency and Cold . The purpose of general therapy is to disperse  Heat and Cold and tone the  Qi  of the organs  involved. Chinese herbal medicine can also help, the reference formula in case of constipation is  Ma Zi Ren Wan .

Aromatherapy for constipation

There are no properly laxative essential oils, but some essences can have a positive effect on intestinal function, relaxing the abdominal smooth muscles and counteracting the putrefactive processes that cause swelling and meteorism. Their adjuvant action on the functionality of the gastrointestinal system is enhanced if they are applied through abdominal aromatherapy massage, 5-7 drops in a little vegetable oil. 

  • Mint essential oil : anti-inflammatory for the intestinal mucosa, acts as a spasmolytic, useful in the presence of abdominal contractions, irritable bowel syndrome, slow digestion.
  • Chamomile essential oil in case of constipation, its use is aimed at decongesting inflammatory states characterized by pain, spasms, abdominal tension, meteorism, flatulence, disorders also due to states of stress, anxiety and nervousness.
  • Basil essential oil : as a rebalancing of the intestinal flora, it helps to restore the optimal microbiological and physiological conditions of the bacterial flora, essential for the regularity of the enteric system, and to protect it from acid fermentation or from infectious attacks by fungi, yeasts and Gram enterobacteria.


Physical activity for constipation sufferers is essential . Getting started also means restarting intestinal functions. 20 minutes of walking are enough. Guided breathing is already a perfect visceral massage . As a self-therapy technique, you can practice abdominal self-massage . Also become familiar with pelvic floor movement through body awareness exercises.

Yoga is great for constipation .

  • Urdhva padmasana in sarvangasana (lotus candle position) improves digestion and tones the abdominals.  
  • Parsva halasana (side-legged plow) is useful in case of constipation. Jathara parivartasana generates a large blood supply to the stomach, liver and spleen.

On a psychosomatic level, constipation is always linked to the concept of give-and-take . Intestinal disorders are usually related to the expectations we think others have about us .  Constipation takes effort . In other words: it holds back. This can be accompanied by stubbornness, a tendency to control, avarice, not only in an economic sense but also in a global sense (in that case one skimpes on affection and creates a vicious circle that closes the heart).

Bioenergetics is very effective for working on the fears and beliefs that lead to retention.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours