For fast relief, it is also possible to take an over-the-counter fiber supplement or herbal remedy. Some natural substances, such as psyllium husks and bran, increase bulk, improving bowel function. Others, such the stimulating herbs, irritate the intestinal wall, stimulating a bowel movement.
- Psyllium is very high in both fiber and mucilage. It is one of the safest natural remedies for severe constipation. Psyllium works by increasing bulk and stimulating the contraction of the intestinal wall. It also has the added benefit of reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
- Bran is the outer shell of wheat grain. It is another bulk-forming agent that can safely and effectively encourage a bowel movement when taken with water.
- Senna pods are another potent natural laxative that will bring constipation relief. They have a irritating, stimulating effect. To use senna soak three to six dried pods in one cup of warm water for six to twelve hours. Drink the infusion.
- Cascara sagrada is another strong herbal laxative that should only be used for severe constipation. To use this herb steep one teaspoon of the dried bark in one cup of water for ten minutes. Drink before going to sleep.
While all of these solutions, from stool softeners to stimulating herbs, can be safely used for the immediate relief of severe constipation, it is important to use them responsibly. Follow the directions on your prescription or packaging and make sure you talk to your doctor about use.
Do not rely on these remedies for dealing with constipation; instead focus on eating a high-fiber diet, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. Also, keep in mind that constipation is often a sign of a greater problem. If problems persist talk to your doctor.