Feeling a Bit Backed Up?
Constipation after gastric sleeve surgery can be quite uncomfortable and is something that should definitely be addressed. It is in fact among the most common gastrointestinal issues in the United States and is faced by about 15% of the population.
While we at Mexico Bariatric Center may focus primarily on bariatric surgery such as gastric sleeve and gastric bypass, we also focus on the overall health and well-being of those struggling with health issues due to changes in diet and digestion or that can come up after undergoing surgery.
Here, we will share 19 home remedies for constipation, but first, let’s cover more information regarding risks, causes, and laxatives.
Risks Involved with Constipation
Potential risks which are faced when struggling with constipation include:
- Fecal Impaction: Stool becomes hardened and packed in the colon and rectum too tightly, thereby making one unable to pass a bowel movement.
- Rectal Prolapse: This condition occurs when part of or all of the rectum slides out of place and sticks out of the anus, turning it inside out.
- Hemorrhoids: Enlarged and swollen veins on the outer area of the anus and in the lower rectum.
What Causes Constipation?
There are many factors that can lead to constipation after gastric sleeve which include:
- Lack of dietary fiber
- Not drinking enough fluid (dehydration)
- Little physical activity
- Some medications (including painkillers, antidepressants, some antacid or iron supplements, calcium channel blockers, and more)
- Taking laxatives or using enemas too frequently
- Ignoring the urge to go
- Certain medical conditions or diseases (including diabetes, stroke, nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, and hypothyroidism)
- In some medical-related cases, such as a strangulated hernia, constipation can be caused by a serious medical issue that requires immediate attention and potentially an operation
Why Home Remedies Instead of Laxatives or Stool Softeners?
Laxatives and stool softeners are okay for short-term use if necessary, however, they can have negative effects on the body when taken too often (especially after bariatric surgery).
There are five different types of laxatives:
- Stool Softening Laxatives (Typically works in 1 to 4 days)
- Bulk Creating Laxatives (Typically works in 1 to 3 days)
- Lubricant Laxatives (Typically works in 5 to 9 hours)
- Stimulant Laxatives (Typically works in 6 to 24 hours)
- Saline Laxatives (Typically works in 1 to 3 hours)
The risks involved with taking such laxatives include;
- Lack of nutrients pulled from the food as it passes through the body faster
- Dependency issues within the body
- Kidney damage
Going with natural remedies that you can tie into your diet is ideal for a long-term solution with minimal complications.
Here are 19 Great Home Remedies for Constipation
1 – Molasses:
Blackstrap molasses is a great home remedy for constipation which is boiled and concentrated three times. It is high in vitamins and minerals, including magnesium which is great for constipation relief. A tablespoon before bed at night should provide some constipation relief by morning.
2 – Fiber:
Fiber helps make things easier by adding mass to your bowel movement, which provides the muscles within your gastrointestinal tract with something to grab onto to keep the food moving along. It also scrubs food and waste particles from your digestive tract and soaks up water. It is good to drink water along with fiber to help keep your stool soft as well.
Foods that serve as a good source of fiber include:
Ideally, you should aim for 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day to stay regular.
3 – Healthy Fats:
Certain types of fat help to lubricate your intestines and reduce the effects of constipation. Some sources of healthy fats include:
- Olive, Grapeseed, or Coconut Oil
By simply having a handful of nuts, having a dark leafy green salad with some olive oil dressing, eating some fresh avocado, or spreading some natural nut butter on a piece of multigrain toast, you can help fight off constipation while also providing the body with valuable nutrients.
4 – Lemon Water:
Citric acid acts as a great stimulant to the digestive system as it helps flush toxins from the body. Lemon juice serves as an excellent source of citric acid and can be easily added to a glass of water or tea. What is great about this option is that it also increases water intake.
5 – Coffee:
Coffee has been shown to serve as a great way to stimulate your colon and make that trip to the bathroom much easier. Other hot drinks that work much like coffee are hot herbal tea with lemon juice or honey. Be sure to keep drinking water regularly alongside your coffee intake or constipation could become worse.
6 – Ginger and Mint Tea:
Both of these types of tea serve as great home remedies for digestive issues. Peppermint contains menthol, which has an antispasmodic effect that relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract, thereby making it easier to pass food through the digestive tract. Ginger has a warming effect that helps the body generate more heat which can make for faster digestion. Add some lemon as mentioned above and you have a great combo.
7 – Raisins:
Because of their high fiber content as well as the tartaric acid they provide, which has a great laxative effect, raisins serve as a great addition to constipation relief. Eating even just one small box of raisins can potentially cut the time to pass a bowel movement in half.
One great recipe you can try out is raisins and almonds with yogurt. The yogurt provides some soothing probiotics while the nuts provide healthy fats and additional fiber.
8 – Prunes and Figs:
Prunes serve as a great laxative as they contain great fiber and a compound that triggers the desire to go to the bathroom. If you are looking for a fruit that will not cause quite so much bloating as prunes, figs are a great choice as well.
9 – Castor Oil:
Castor oil contains a component that breaks down into a substance that stimulates your large intestine. Due to this strong effect, if taken on an empty stomach, castor oil can yield results within 8 hours after consumption. It’s indeed a great option that has been passed down from generation to generation.
10 – Exercise:
Moving around can help get the digestive system kicked into gear. If you eat a meal and feel sleepy, get up and move around a bit to get that digestion process going. It can be as simple as a 15 to 30-minute walk or jog.
11 – Sesame Seeds:
Sesame seeds consist of an oily composition that helps to moisturize the intestines. You can add them to foods such as salad, cereal, grind them up in coffee, or add them to foods in whatever creative ways you come up with.
12 – Black Seeds:
Black seeds contain a lot of fiber and help to improve your overall health. They aid in removing unwanted toxins from the digestive tract and support regular bowel movements.
13- Olive Leaves:
Olive leaves help to relieve discomfort and pain, remove toxins from the digestive system, and serve as a great tool in stopping constipation.
14 – Flax Seeds:
Flax Seeds have been used to treat constipation for centuries. They contain high amounts of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids which help serve as a laxative. Similar to sesame seeds, flax seeds can be added to foods such as salad, cereal, yogurt, smoothies, soups, and any other fun ideas you can come up with.
15 – Aloe Vera:
Aloe Vera has also been used for centuries to treat constipation as well as skin rashes, internal bleeding, burns, and ulcers. It helps promote regularity as well as cleanse the colon of unwanted toxins.
16 – Epsom Salt:
Epsom salt serves as a good stool softener which can help make stools easier to pass and can promote regularity. Two teaspoons of Epsom salt in a glass of water or fruit juice is all it takes to get the job done. Standard salt also softens stools, however, it will not promote bowel movements the way that Epsom salt does.
17 – Baking Soda:
Baking soda can do a great job of neutralizing acid within the stomach and encouraging immediate constipation relief as your body releases gasses. Simply add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to a quarter cup of warm water and drink it down to get the job done.
18 – Psyllium Husk:
Psyllium husk is an edible soluble fiber and prebiotic. Once it is ingested, it expands, forming a gel-like mass by drawing water in from the colon. It then promotes easy, healthy elimination by sweeping waste out of the colon more quickly and efficiently. In addition, the psyllium husk is known to have positive effects on heart health and cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that psyllium is safe, well-tolerated and improves glycemic control for people with diabetes. Unlike stimulant laxatives, psyllium husk is gentle and not addictive.
19 – Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
Water plays a big role in good health as well as smooth bowel movements. So it is important that you have adequate water intake alongside a healthy diet containing good fiber and some of the above solutions.
- 48 to 64 ounces of water is required daily after any weight loss surgery