You should go to the toilet at least once, and up to three times a day. Constipation can lead to many many greater ills including depression, appendicitis and bowel cancer. Because constipation leads to a build up of ama, it an cause or aggravate every illness under the sun.
Routine is crucial to alleviating constipation, especially in the morning. Rise early and drink warm water. Squat on the toilet, even if you do not need to go this may encourage peristalsis. Some gentle yoga postures, squats and twists especially, breathing exercises and more warm water are good for more than just constipation. Take a warm wet breakfast and avoid coffee.
Do not get too anxious about your condition, this will only worsen the problem. Take constipation seriously but do not worry about it.
Vata type constipation, the most common, is caused by too much dryness. Pita type constipation is caused by too much heat, literally burning up the bodily fluids and in turn causing dryness. No matter what your dosha triphla can help.
So the crucial thing is rehydrating the body. This is not as simple as drinking more water, it requires richer and more nutritious hydration, namely oil. This rehydration is crucial to Pita type constipation too, with extra care to avoid too much spicy, salty, sour or fried food.
Some ways to rehydrate (Vata and Pita)
- Drink warm water, never cold water. Especially drink 2-3 glasses of warm water in the morning before taking breakfast
- Eat cucumber (at room temperature or above) in the morning
- Steel cut oats, well cooked in plenty of water, milk and ghee are an excellent breakfast
- Soak a closed handful of sultanas in water in the morning and eat them last thing before you go to bed, at least an hour or two after taking any other food
- Take plenty of warm milk, ghee, olive oil, whole wheat, spinach, pumpkin, zucchini
- Take digestive spices such as cardamom, fennel and cumin.
- Avoid dry foods such as potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, apples (especially juice), corn, chickpeas, beans (other than mung and maybe a little tofu). Avoid cold or raw foods. Avoid coffee, honey and green tea and drink your tea weak and milky, like chai.
- Rub sesame oil on you whole body. Leave it to soak in for 30-45 mins and then have a lukewarm shower. The skin is a digestive organ too and sesame oil has the unique ability of penetrating all seven tissues. The chest is linked to the colon so oil appied here will especially lubricate the colon. Use coconut oil instead if you have any skin problems such as acne or eczema.
Finally, in any case, stress, worry, fear and grief cause constipation. As does too much television, travel and other over-stimulating activities. Fasting disrupts the digestive fire and metabolism so listen to your body, eat when your hungry, appreciate your food and never eat on the run. Allow yourself time to go to the toilet in the morning, and never ignore the urge! Air-conditioning, too much sex, anal sex, excessive exercise or a sedentary lifestyle all exacerbate the problem.
I would like to acknowledge and appreciate Dr David Frawley for much of the information in this post.