Important habits for preventing and treating constipation include:
Adequate daily water consumption — up to 8 glasses per day
Avoiding caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, cola) as these increase dehydration
Adequate dietary fiber — to 20-35 g/day
Minimizing consumption of constipating food items
Adequate daily activity/exercise • Use of the bathroom at the first urge to eliminate
Using the toilet at a consistent time each day and taking time to relax while sitting there
Hara massage (deep abdominal massage) in a clockwise direction can be helpful for constipation.
Gentle Stimulating Laxatives
Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale)
Yellow dock root (Rumex crispus)
Stronger Stimulating Laxatives
Dried fruits (soaked first)
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Irish moss (Chondrus crispus)
Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra)
Black tea Plantain (Plantago spp.)
White oak bark (Quercus alba)
Wtich hazel (Hamemelis virginiana) Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Venotonic Herbs Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
Nettles (Urtica dioica)
Bulk and demulcent laxatives can be used freely, though with bulk laxatives it is important that the user drink LOTS of water lest the herbs absorb the water from the intestine and worsen the problem.
The same rule applies when using bran and other fiber supplements, and dried fruits such as prunes. Demulcent laxatives moisten the bowel.
Fiber in the form of food can be used freely as well, but fiber supplements can be irritating to the bowel so best to either also use a demulcent tea as well, or limit use to a few weeks at a time with a rest of a week or so between.
Generally stimulating laxatives should be used for a more limited duration, for example, only up to two weeks at a time.
New onset constipation or constipation accompanied by other signs such as blood in the stool (other than from hemorrhoids) could be symptomatic of a serious medical problem, including colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. Any woman with these symptoms should be evaluated by a physician. Women with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, appendicitis, intestinal obstructions, or abdominal pain should discuss laxative use with their physician prior to use. Additional
Adequate dietary fiber, fluids, and exercise are key to prevention of constipation and hemorrhoids
Ironically, both iron deficiency anemia and supplemental iron can lead to constipation.
Magnesium citrate, from 240 to 720 mg or so daily, can safely increase bowel regularity in pregnancy and may also relieve restless legs and heart palpitations in women experiencing these.