It’s not fun to talk about, but constipation can put your life on hold. Here’s everything you need to know about how coconut oil can relieve constipation and get you back to living your life.
What causes constipation?
Constipation happens as a result of digestion gone wrong. Everything you eat goes through your digestive system. In some cases, the stool gets stuck in your intestines. When this happens, it gets hardened, which makes it difficult for your intestinal muscles to excrete it through your rectum.
Several things can cause constipation, including:
● Too much dairy
● Underactive thyroid
● Certain medications
● Change in activities
● Neurological conditions (e.g., Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis)
Constipation is typically classified as having less than three bowel movements a week. However, when you’re constipated, you know it, even if you aren’t keeping track of how many bowel movements you’ve had so far in a week. Constipation is considered chronic when you have it for three months or longer. Your doctor can give you medical advice and diagnosis if you think you have chronic constipation.
How to treat constipation
The good news is that you have several options to treat constipation.
Over-the-counter constipation relief
The first way to relieve constipation is with an over-the-counter (OTC) laxative or stool softener. This is usually everyone’s go-to. In fact, when I recently had surgery and was prescribed a narcotic for pain, the doctor specifically told me to go to the drugstore and get a strong laxative to help with constipation.
For short-term constipation, like when you’re taking narcotics for a few days after surgery, OTC laxatives can be fine. But you don’t want to use them long-term.
If you’re pregnant, for instance, you might have constipation for several months. Using laxatives for that long can lead to a host of other problems, including dehydration, bloating, nausea, and an inability for your body to absorb nutrients. You might even experience unintentional weight loss, which is really just a loss of water weight that your body needs.
Holistic constipation treatments
If you have frequent constipation, try holistic methods to encourage your digestive system to process food the way it’s supposed to. Drink more water, add more fiber to your diet, and make sure you’re getting some exercise. All of these will go a long way toward easing constipation as well as preventing it in the first place.
Probiotics for constipation
There’s some research out there that suggests people who suffer from chronic constipation have an imbalanced number of bacteria living in their gut. A probiotic can improve your gut health. If you don’t want to take a probiotic supplement, you can add probiotic-rich foods into your diet, like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
Coconut oil for constipation
If you’re dealing with frequent constipation and want a natural remedy, try coconut oil, which can have a laxative effect. Make sure to use organic virgin coconut oil (it might also say unrefined coconut oil on the label). This is the purest form of coconut oil you can buy. Refined coconut oil can remove some of the important nutritional benefits during processing.
How does coconut oil ease constipation?
There haven’t been enough studies on coconut oil and constipation for doctors to agree that coconut oil eases constipation. The best reason scientists have at this point for why coconut oil seems to help people suffering from constipation is that it contains a high number of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which stimulate bowel movements.
How to take coconut oil for constipation
You can ingest coconut oil directly by ingesting one spoonful straight. A lot of people prefer to add it to meals for a simple way to improve gut health and alleviate constipation.
Because it’s cooking oil, coconut oil is really easy to incorporate into your day to treat constipation. Simply replace olive oil with coconut oil when you cook dinner or dress your salad. You can also add a spoonful to your soup, top your popcorn with it instead of butter, or add a spoonful to your morning cup of coffee.
You don’t need to go overboard when you start taking coconut oil; a little bit of coconut oil goes a long way. Start by just adding a spoonful to your meals. I like to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to my morning smoothie to help me stay full.
Other benefits of coconut oil
In addition to helping ease constipation, coconut oil can help your skin look more radiant. It’s can be useful for people with eczema to improve their skin condition. Coconut oil is also popular for helping people eat less and boosting metabolism. So, even though there isn’t any scientific evidence proving that coconut oil can help ease constipation, there are enough benefits to coconut oil that it’s a good idea to incorporate it into your diet to improve your health.
Coconut oil for constipation in pregnancy
It’s very common to experience constipation during pregnancy, even if you stay active and have a healthy diet. Basically, your hormones go haywire when you’re pregnant, which can slow down your digestive tract. As your stomach grows, your intestines will contract, making it even harder for your stools to “go”. So, if you’re pregnant and constipated, you aren’t alone.
Coconut oil is an easy and natural way to ease constipation, and it’s worth trying if you’re pregnant. Start with just a spoonful a day because taking too much could have the opposite effect and lead to diarrhea and cramping.
If you have any concerns about your constipation or aren’t sure if coconut oil is right for you, talk to your doctor. It’s always OK to seek medical advice from a professional before diving into the latest holistic health trend.