Epsom Salt For Constipation
Constipation is a common digestive problem experienced by nearly everyone. Although constipation is not a serious medical problem, frequent constipation needs to be addressed. Chronic constipation usually means that a person needs to make significant dietary changes, among other things. Domestic products such as Epsom salt are particularly effective at relieving constipation. If used properly, Epsom salt is an effective short term solution, but it should not be relied upon in chronic cases.
How Widespread is Constipation?
Simply put, being affected by constipation can happen to anyone at any time. It is estimated that approximately 2% of the U.S. population suffers from constipation on any given day . Furthermore, in the U.S. alone, over 4 million people are regularly affected by constipation whether it be from poor dietary choices, or health related problems. However, the U.S. is not the only population that experiences constipation on a massive scale. The problem occurs throughout many countries and cultures in the world.
What is Constipation?
Constipation, or irregularity, primarily affects the human digestive system. On an internal level, constipation occurs when feces in the bowels becomes hard and difficult to pass. Stool becomes hardened when the colon over-absorbs water from food. Furthermore, the longer stool stays in the digestive tract, the more water is leached from it making it even harder. Once the stool is in this state, it tends to block the digestive tract, making it difficult to defecate.
Symptoms Associated With Constipation
Irregular bowel movements cause an uncomfortable, and sometimes painful feeling in abdomen. This feeling is usually accompanied by excessive gas and bloating. Many times a person will have to take several trips to the bathroom due to the consistent pressure of an imminent bowel movement. A person who tries to defecate while constipated may also experience pain and burning in the anal area. In most cases, all of these symptoms disappear right after a bowel movement occurs.
What Causes Constipation?
As previously discussed, diet is often the main factor in causing constipation. A person eating a diet which lacks an appropriate amount of fiber is almost certain to suffer from costiveness. Foods that are high in sugar and fat contribute to the problem. People who are lactose intolerant or who are allergic to milk may also find that they are susceptible to constipation when they consume dairy products. Finally, an imbalanced intake of caffeine or alcohol (instead of water) deprives the body of the fluids necessary to produce a bowel movement.
An inactive lifestyle also contributes to constipation. Medical experts suggest that people who live sedentary lifestyles are more likely to be affected by constipation. The exact science behind this is unknown, but it is believed that when the body is active, it helps biological processes remain active as well. Therefore, those who suffer from constipation are best advised to establish a regular exercise program.
What Is Epsom Salt?
Chemically speaking, Epsom salt is known as Magnesium Sulfate. It is actually not a salt at all; it is classified as a pure mineral compound. Most people are familiar with Epsom salt due to its uses in removing splinters, exfoliating skin, and as an additive to baths for sore muscles or strained ligaments. Epsom salt is also frequently recommended for people suffering from malodorous feet or to remove roughened patches of skin.
How to Use Epsom Salt for Constipation
In the context of constipation, Epsom salts can be ingested to ease a bowel movement. It has the ability to increase the water content in the bowels due to the magnesium sulfate. Once additional water is introduced into the intestinal tract, the hardened stool becomes softened and will once again begin to move along the bowels. The chemical compound in Epsom salt also helps intestinal muscles to contract, which aids in moving feces out of the body.
The best way to take Epsom salt is to mix it with water for drinking purposes. A teaspoon portion of Epsom salt should be mixed into a glass containing at least 4 oz of water. This mixture should be consumed within a few minutes to achieve the maximum effect. In most cases, a single dosage will produce a bowel movement within 6 hours. Where constipation persists, it is appropriate to take another dosage after the initial 6 hour period.
Epsom salt can be taken in a higher dosage if the instructions specifically state so. A 2 tsp dose may be recommended by certain brands. Epsom salt can also be mixed in with juice if desired, although water is usually more effective. The Epsom salt remedy should not be used for more than one week to avoid creating a physical dependence.
When Epsom Salt Should Not Be Used
It is important to note that this type of home remedy is not safe for certain types of people. Pregnant women, and those currently breast feeding, should avoid using such remedies without a physician’s recommendation. People from suffering from a serious case of colic, nausea, or gastro-intenstinal problems should also refrain from using Epsom salt.
Other Remedies For Constipation
Aside from Epsom salt, there are many other home remedies for constipation. Food items such as figs, fennel seeds and honey are known to help stimulate bowel movements. A combination of lemon juice and warm water and some sea salt is also commonly used as a home treatment for constipation. Another age-old remedy is to drink a couple teaspoons of castor oil, which has laxative properties. If you are looking for an effective solution to constipation, it is best to try several different remedies to see which reacts the best with your body.