Constipation is an incredibly common problem which can cause a great deal of discomfort and, if chronic, even lead to health complications such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fecal impaction and rectal prolapse.
It is vital that bouts of constipation are dealt with relatively quickly, and often natural remedies can be used. Using coconut oil for constipation is a particularly good remedy because it's affordable, simple and effective.
Coconut oil is an excellent natural laxative because it is very gentle on the digestive system. Its laxative effects are attributed to the high amounts of medium-chain fatty acids which help to soften stools and provide rapid energy for the bowel walls to boost the digestion process.
There are lots of other health benefits to coconut oil, too. It contains high amounts of lauric acid which help to minimize high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It can help to improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity for people with type 2 diabetes.
Plus, it can help to boost hair and skin health. Individuals who experience chronic constipation can, therefore, use coconut oil as a remedy on a regular basis and enjoy added benefits to their health.
The laxative effects of coconut oil mean that it should be used with caution. High doses straight away could lead to very loose stools or diarrhea. It's recommended to start with half a teaspoon of the oil, twice each day, then gradually increase the dose each day in half-teaspoon increments. Once you find that your stools are passing smoothly, you will have achieved a dose which works for your body.
You can incorporate the coconut oil into your diet in any way you choose, whether that's by cooking with it or adding it directly into drinks or cooked foods. It could be incorporated into smoothies or juices for example, and can even be added to coffee where it will give the beverage a smooth, creamy consistency.
Coconut oil doesn't really have a very strong coconut flavor, so if you're not keen on the taste of fresh or dried coconuts, don't let this put you off trying the oil for constipation. When cooked with, for example as a replacement for olive or other vegetable oils, it will certainly not provide a strong coconut flavor and will be very palatable.
To give your body the best chance of overcoming constipation, and to alleviate future episodes, consider the following tips:
Water is vital for the body's digestive processes and when we're dehydrated it can make our stools hard and difficult to pass. Drinking the daily recommended amount of water - around 13 cups for men and 9 for women - can help keep stools soft.
Fiber keeps our bowels moving and a lack of it in our diet is often one of the biggest causes of constipation. Soluble fiber helps to increase water content in stools, while insoluble fiber absorbs water in the gut. For this reason, you should be consuming foods such as oats, beans, lentils and fruits which contain plenty of soluble fiber.
Being active helps to keep our bowels moving and daily exercise may help to keep constipation at bay. It doesn't necessarily have to be strenuous - a daily walk will be enough to increase your activity levels. Plus, your body will appreciate the added health benefits of extra exercise.
Some medications have the side effect of causing constipation. If you experience constipation on a frequent basis and are taking long-term medicines it may be worth checking the side effects and speaking to your doctor. It may be possible to find an alternative medicine that will improve your bowel health.
The most common medicines which lead to constipation include:
The human body is designed to squat to defecate; this process helps to open up the rectum and allow for easier bowel movements. Our sitting position while on the toilet isn't ideal for passing stools and can lead to incomplete bowel movements which in turn may cause constipation.
If you raise your feet on a stool when you use the toilet, ideally so that your knees are higher than your hips, it may make bowel movements easier.