Constipation, whether episodic or chronic, affects mostly women and the elderly. It is not irreparable. If drinking water and eating prunes remain effective solutions, there are other natural alternatives to boost a lazy transit.
1. Psyllium a natural and well tolerated laxative
In which case? Psyllium (or ispaghul) is a natural ballast laxative that is non-irritating and well tolerated, even by fragile intestines. You can use it in cases of chronic constipation.
Its soluble fibers make the stool heavier because they retain water. They also stimulate the production of gas, which is essential for the motor skills of the digestive tract, explains Dr Guillaume Cargill.
How to use it? In pharmacies, there are sachets of powder to be diluted in a glass of water. Take 1 teaspoonful in a large glass of water, two to three times a day.
Allow two to three days to notice an improvement. You can use it over several weeks “because it is not dangerous in the long term. The only risk, as with any excess of fiber, is to cause diarrhea or gas,” says Dr. Cargill.
2. Oat bran to accelerate transit
In which case? In case of temporary constipation, and if you do not normally suffer from intestinal problems.
Why does it help ? The oat bran is rich in soluble fibers which accelerate quickly the transit, by increasing the volume of the food bolus and by stimulating the intestinal contractions. It also contains insoluble fibers, more aggressive for the intestines.
How to use it ? You can find it in the organic section of supermarkets or in organic stores, sold in powder form. Consume 1 tablespoon per day, according to your tolerance, to sprinkle in a yoghurt, a compote…
But be careful, do not exceed one week to ten days of treatment, because it can then become irritating! Avoid it if your intestines are fragile: it increases the risk of gas, bloating and abdominal pain explains Dr. Cargill who adds that it should not be used before adolescence.
3. A self-massage of the belly to revive the intestines
In what cases? When constipation is mild, with bowel movements every two or three days. This type of massage can also accompany other treatments and be performed on children.
Why does it help? Massaging the belly helps to stimulate the movement of our intestines, which expel food.
How do I do it? Massage your belly twice a day, for at least 5 minutes, with your palm flat, making large circles around your navel in a clockwise direction, the direction of digestion. Apply increasingly firm pressure.
Ideally, lie on your back, otherwise, do it standing up. You can use a neutral vegetable oil (for example, macadamia, hazelnut) and add, for adults, a drop of essential oil of tarragon and/or ginger, with digestive virtues.
4. Probiotics as a background treatment
When is it a problem? When constipation is associated with bloating, gas, and difficult digestion. “It is a good solution when the intestine is too fragile to tolerate prunes or in case of irritable bowel syndrome”, says Dr Guillaume Cargill.
Why does it help? “Probiotics have a global action on the intestinal functions”, specifies the gastroenterologist. They rebalance the disturbed flora in case of chronic constipation, they increase the good gases and the volume of the microbiota, which increases the frequency and the volume of the stools.
How to use them? “You should choose products that contain no more than two or three strains, with a concentration between 1 and 10 billion ferments per unit of intake,” advises Dr. Cargill. Prefer the strains Bifidobacterium (bifidum, infantis) or Lactobacillus (rhamnosus, acidophilus), in a cure of 20 to 40 days minimum.