Chronic constipation is embarrassing, uncomfortable, and frustrating. The mainstream medical community says that bowel movements three times or less per week is abnormal and means one suffers from chronic constipation. The natural medicine community believes that anywhere from 2-3 comfortable but not too soft movements per day is ideal. Our liver dumps toxins into our bowels to be expelled. If we are not expelling quickly enough up to 90% of toxins are reabsorbed! Not good.
There are several things that can cause chronic constipation including:
- amount of water we drink,
- foods we eat,
- amount of fiber we consume,
- our emotional state,
- level of physical activity,
- and food sensitivities.
Luckily, all of these can be addressed with your health coach and/or natural minded practitioner. In the meantime however, here are two gentle remedies you can begin to ease your discomfort and help get things moving.
- Warm Lemon Water– First thing every morning drink warm filtered water with the juice of one lemon. Lemon helps get the digestive juices going and water helps lubricate things up. Together they are power partners in getting things moving out. I have several friends and clients who are amazed at how effective it is. How to use lemon water effectively: Every morning when you first wake up, warm up a glass of water (I use a coffee mug) and squeeze the juice of a whole lemon into your water. Drink on an empty stomach as you are getting yourself ready for the day.
- Castor Oil Packs- A long time homeopathic remedy for all kinds of issues ranging from back pain, menstrual cramps, liver detox, and also, constipation. (Here is one study) I can speak from personal experience on how much castor oil packs can help ease menstrual cramps when they are really bad and have had clients use castor oil packs for constipation with success. It is a great way to help get things started while changing up other life factors to prevent constipation from happening in the first place.
How To Use A Castor Oil Pack
Organic castor oil (like this one), squares of flannel (like these), a sheet of plastic (a garbage bag is fine and it protects your couch or bed from getting oil stains), and hot water bottle (a regular bottle is fine or you can get this one which is easier to use and can get slimy 🙂 )
*Some people like to wrap the torso with plastic wrap over the flannel and hot water bottle because they fall asleep with it on. If you do tend to fall asleep, I recommend special bedding you don’t mind getting ruined with stains.
*You can get starter kits like this one that has everything you need right off the bat as well.
How to do it:
1. Fold flannel into 3 layers to fit over entire abdomen.
2. Soak flannel with castor oil. Fold flannel in half and strip excess from pack. Unfold.
3. Lie on your back with your feet elevated (use of a pillow under your knees and feet works well), placing oil-soaked flannel over abdomen, cover with a small sheet of plastic and then an old towel. Place a hot water bottle or heating pad on top.
4. Leave pack on for 30-60 minutes. Watch TV, read a book, or take a nap 🙂
5. Store in a glass jar with lid when done in the fridge. You do not need to wash the flannel after each use, just add more oil when needed. When you do decide to clean your cloth,to remove the oil, wash with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1-quart water or BioKleen Citrus Soap in your sink and air dry.
6. Replace the pack after it begins to change color.
12 thoughts on “Gentle Remedies For Constipation”
This is a great article with good information. We all have so many people with know with this issue and this certainly helps and is a natural remedy.
Right. The causes and remedies are individual but I wanted a gentle place for people to start while they explore the root cause.
Flax seed oil. I take Pure Encapsulations Flax/Borage, two capsules daily per the advice of colorectal specialist. Works great 🙂
That is definitely one great supplement that can help.
Lemon water totally does the trick for me 😉
Thank you so much for sharing info about the castor oil pack. I have a friend who can benefit from your blog 🙂
It’s amazing how something as easy as warm water with lemon can be so effective! I love it and hopefully more people will see that the solutions you write of will help them.
I drink a ton of lemon water, but not usually warm. I know the benefits of warm water, I just prefer it cold. I have not tried the castor oil packs. I did try to take a spoonful of castor oil once. I’ll NEVER do that again. Have you seen the pharmaceutical commercial pushing drugs for constipation for people who have tried and not succeeded with increasing hydration and fiber, etc. It makes me really mad! Pharmaceutical drugs are a big contributor to chronic constipation. Now they are pushing more pills and saying natural methods don’t work. UGH!
Warm water helps open everything up versus the cold water. As a mom there are plenty of times I don’t get to drink it warm. It still helps but the warm gets things moving much quicker. I definitely don’t recommend taking castor oil internally ever. It’s very harsh. The packs are amazing though and useful for many ailments, constipation being just one of them.
I usually see a magnesium deficiency as the root cause of many of my clients constipation issues. Adding the right formulation in the right amount helps long term and with so many issues
Yes, I agree. I don’t recommend people self dose with magnesium though. There are different types of magnesium available and certain types are better for getting things moving, or for absorption. If a person is a client of mine I might suggest magnesium to help while we address a root cause, but I won’t blanket recommend on a blog because too much can cause more discomfort and being chained to the toilet seat for the day.