Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. It essentially refers to an infrequent bowel movement or difficulty in passing stool. Infrequent bowel movement means passing less than three stools a week. Other indicative symptoms are hard stool, insufficient stool, unsatisfactory stool or a feeling of incomplete bowel evacuation, strain on passing stool and in extreme cases, a need to use fingers to remove stool in small kids. Homeopathic medicines for constipation are extremely effective in treating constipation in persons of all age groups. Acute as well as chronic cases of constipation are known to respond wonderfully well to homeopathic treatment as it helps improve bowel movement. In fact, homeopathy treats conditions such as piles and anal fissures arising from long-term constipation. These medicines are natural and do not have any side effects.
Homeopathic Medicines for Constipation
The best medicines for treating constipation are Nux Vomica, Bryonia Alba, Alumina, Opium and Alumen.
1. Nux Vomica – For Constipation With Constant Ineffectual Urge For Stool
Nux Vomica is one of the most frequently used medicines for treating constipation with constant ineffectual urge to pass stool. A person who needs Nux Vomica passes insufficient, scanty stool, very frequently. The stool is unsatisfactory. Even after passing stool many times a day, there is a never “got done” feeling. Abdomen pain may arise along with constipation. Nux Vomica is also a good choice of medicine for treating constipation in persons with a sedentary lifestyle (inactive lifestyle with prolonged sitting with little or no physical activity). More importantly, it also effectively treats piles with constipation.
When and How to use Nux Vomica?
This medicine can be used in persons who have constipation with constant ineffectual urge to pass stool and even after passing stool several times a day, do not have a satisfactory feeling. This medicine is used in different potencies like 30C, 200C, 1M. Initially, it is best to use Nux vomica 30C twice or thrice a day. Higher potencies can be used afterward after consulting a homeopathic doctor.
2. Bryonia Alba – For Dry, Hard, Stool In Lump Form
For constipation with hard, dry stool that passes in lumps, Bryonia Alba is considered one of the best medicines. The stool is dry as if burnt, and is passed with much difficulty. Abdominal distension is also noted in some cases. Headache due to constipation may also be effectively treated with Bryonia Alba.
When and How to use Bryonia Alba?
The main characteristic feature guiding use of Bryonia Alba is hard dry stool passed in lump form. Among its different potencies from low to high, it is best to start with 30C power. Bryonia Alba 30C can be taken two to three times a day.
3. Alumina – For Constipation With No Urge To Pass Stool For Days
Alumina is another highly beneficial medicine when there is absence of the urge to pass stool for days together. The person needing Alumina will go days without passing stool. The action of the intestine is extremely slow and sluggish. The stool is passed only when there is a large accumulation of fecal matter in the intestine. Another important symptom for using Alumina is excessive straining to pass stool even when the stool is soft. Alumina is also one of the majorly indicated medicine for constipation in children, infants (babies less than one year of age), bottle-fed babies and elderly persons.
When and How to use Alumina?
It is highly recommended for persons who have no urge to pass stool for days together. This medicine will improve bowel movement and relieve constipation. The most frequently recommended dose is Alumina 30C once or twice a day.
4. Opium – For Dry, Hard Stool In Form Of Balls
Opium work well in cases of constipation where the stool is hard, dry and passed in ball-like form. There is also lack of urge to pass stool. In addition, Opium is also the medicine for constipation where the person has been taking laxatives (medicines that increase bowel movement and relieve constipation) to pass stool for a long time.
When and How to use Opium?
This medicine can be used when stool is hard, dry and passed in ball-like form. One may consider its use in 30C potency once or twice a day.
5. Alumen – For Extremely Hard Stool Like Stone
Alumen is a well-indicated medicine for constipation when stool is extremely hard like a stone. Passing of stool is very difficult and is attended with some blood in it. After passing stool, intense pain is felt in rectum.
When and How to use Alumen?
Alumen is the best choice of medicine when the stool is exceedingly hard. Though it can be used in both low and high potencies, the most commonly used is 30C potency. Alumen 30C can be taken two to three times a day.
Note One can take the above medicines for constipation for about one to two months in the above-mentioned doses only. Always consider the advice of a homeopathic expert if no improvement is seen, or to continue taking these beyond 2 months, or if you wish to increase the potency/dose.
Cause and Predisposing Factors Behind Constipation
Our colon (large intestine) is 3 to 5 feet long and its wall is lined by muscle layers. The colon absorbs water and salts from the waste received from the small intestine creating a solid matter stool, store stool until it is expelled from the body and muscle contractions in colon propel the stool towards rectum to be thrown out of the body. Several nerves and hormones control the motility of colon. When the stool fills and distends the rectum, then internal anal sphincter relaxes and the need to defecate is felt. This is followed by contraction of rectal muscles and simultaneous relaxation of external anal sphincter and puborectalis muscle that opens the anus and expels stool. Constipation can occur if the muscle contractions of colon are slow and sluggish that gives colon more time to absorb water from waste resulting in dry and hard stool which is difficult to push out. Also, constipation can arise if there is a problem with the nerves that signal contraction of colon and rectum and control muscles required for defection, or there is some blockage in colon or rectum.
There are many factors that predispose a person to constipation. A diet low in fiber, sedentary lifestyle and decreased physical activity, decreased liquid intake, old age, taking calcium/iron supplements, overuse of medicines (such as anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, and laxatives) and stress also predispose one towards constipation. It is a common complaint among women during pregnancy. Medical conditions linked with constipation are diabetes mellitus, spinal cord lesions, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), depression and irritable bowel syndrome (disorder of large intestine that causes constipation or diarrhea or an alternation between these along with gas, bloating and stomach cramps)
Types Of Constipation
Constipation is of two types i.e. primary and secondary.
Primary constipation: Also known as idiopathic or functional constipation, it arises without any cause. It is further divided into 3 types:
1. Normal transit constipation: It is the most common among all types of primary constipation. The stool passes through the colon at a normal pace and frequency of stool is normal but inspite of this a person feels that he/she is constipated. Common problems they face are abdominal bloating, abdomen pain and difficulty in passing stool.
2. Slow transit constipation: Movement in the colon is reduced and food is passed through the digestive tract sluggishly. The stool remains in the intestines for extended time periods resulting in decreased frequency of bowel movements. The stool may be dry and hard and may be passed less than once a week.
3. Outlet constipation: It happens from damage to pelvic floor muscles that support bowels and bladder or its nerves which results in difficulty in passing stool. The symptoms may include straining efforts to pass stool and delayed bowel movements due to pain.
Secondary constipation: It always due to a faulty lifestyle or related to some other health problem, like hypothyroidism, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
Are There Any Other Associated Symptoms With Constipation?
Yes, there are several different symptoms that may attend constipation. These are gas in the abdomen, bloating or distension of abdomen, pain in the abdomen, headache and nausea. Bleeding may occur while passing stool due to fissures/piles as a result of constipation or from passing hard stool. Other attending features include pain and burning sensation in the rectum while passing stool which may continue even after passing stool.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does long-standing constipation lead to complications?
Yes, long-standing constipation may lead to piles, anal fissures, and rectal prolapse. Abdominal hernia (inguinal hernia/umbilical hernia) may also arise from long-standing constipation. Piles are swollen and veins are dilated in rectal canal or anus. Anal fissure refers to a tear in the tissue lining of the anus. Rectal prolapse refers to the protrusion of a part or the entire rectum from the anus. An abdominal hernia is the protrusion of an organ through the abdominal wall or cavity which normally contains it.
I pass hard stool with blood, what could the cause be?
Passing hard stool with blood points towards two conditions –anal fissures or piles. Kindly consult a physician to confirm the diagnosis.
In my case, constipation is accompanied by a lot of gas and distension of the abdomen. What does that indicate?
Excessive gas and distended abdomen with constipation could indicate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which is a functional bowel disorder without any pathological changes in bowels. In irritable bowel syndrome, constipation/diarrhea can predominate or alternate. Other symptoms include a bloated abdomen, gas, cramps in the abdomen and mucus in stool. Kindly check with a physician for confirmation.
Will exercise help treat my constipation?
Physical activity of any kind can better your condition. Exercise helps tone up intestine muscles and get rid of constipation.
Can a diet rich in fiber help in relieving me of constipation?
A diet rich in fiber will definitely reduce constipation to a large extent but a cure will require a proper treatment plan. Homeopathic medicines work at the root level by treating the basic cause of constipation. They set off the body’s own restorative processes making it strong enough to heal itself. The cure is permanent and enduring.
I have been on laxatives for long. Can homeopathy help me give it up?
Yes, homeopathy has the ability to treat chronic constipation at the roots and thus, do away with the need to use laxatives. Once started, homeopathy will slowly and gradually reduce your dependency on laxatives.
I lead a healthy lifestyle with exercise, high fluid intake, and high fiber diet, yet I’m constipated. Can homeopathy help?
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a must for steering clear of constipation. However, if you are already leading a healthy lifestyle with proper exercise and diet and yet, you are constipated, the case needs proper evaluation. Natural medicines do have a treatment in such cases. Homeopathy is a symptom-based science, therefore the practitioner will study the symptoms in detail, identify peculiarities and unique characteristics, and then select the appropriate medicine.
Lifestyle Tips To Manage And Prevent Constipation
1. Increase fluid intake and a diet rich in fiber content (like fruits, salads, vegetables, whole grains)
2. Regular walk or exercise can go a long way in curing constipation
3. Avoid low-fiber food (like milk, processed foods) and also alcohol and caffeine
4. Take probiotics like yoghurt
5. Never ignore the urge to pass stool