How To Use Baking Soda For Constipation
Warning (thanks to EHR reader Nancy D. ): People with high blood pressure should be aware that baking soda has a very high sodium level. 160 mg sodium in 1/8th teaspoon.
We've all had it before - that awful feeling of needing to go but not being able to. At best it's uncomfortable and at worst it's agonizingly painful. When you add timing in to the mix, it can crop up at the most inopportune moment and ruin your day. A lot of people discover that simply changing your sitting position with a Squatty Potty can do wonders!
But good old sodium bicarbonate is one of my go-to emergency solutions. Knowing how to use organic, food-grade baking soda for constipation can save your day and leave you feeling on top of the world! (psst, it's also great for acid reflux!)
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The Worst Timing
I remember one of the worst times I suffered with constipation. Somehow it always happens when I'm on the road. I was travelling in South Asia when it struck...
What should have been an amazing day enjoying sights, sounds and smells I've never experienced before quickly became a, well, crappy day. I was experiencing a horrible belly ache and spent a lot of time trying to poop . And on toilets that were not the kind of places you want to spend any time in! On top of that, what did manage to come out, had a tarry color. Later on, it turned out I had developed an ulcer in a very unfortunate spot. But the cause wasn't as bad as my wild imagination had made of the black color of my stool. I was lucky that my traveling companion knew about the baking soda and constipation hack, and it literally saved the rest of the trip...PHEW!
So it's always handy to know about using baking soda for constipation wherever you may be. But the first way to combat constipation is prevention. How can you avoid getting constipated in the first place?
The first step is knowing why it happens:
Most commonly constipation is caused by hard faeces which are difficult to expel. This happens because the colon has absorbed too much of the water from the food passing through it. Also the slower the food moves, the more time it spends in the colon. This means a greater risk of water being drawn out.
This means it's important to make sure that you drink enough water. I'm guessing you already knew that it's important to stay hydrated! But now you know it can help you fight constipation too. Drink at least two liters spread out through the day.
Not Enough Fiber
This is why your diet is another important factor - eating enough fiber is key. Fiber will keep things moving at the right pace, so it's important to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Well it turns out that one cause of constipation is travel! Who would have guessed it? More specifically it's the disruption to our regular routine that it causes.
Dairy & Junk Food
Something to avoid eating is too much dairy, especially cheese. Too much junk food will also cause this through a mix of binding foods and a lack of fiber.
Too Much Sitting
One of the other common factors causing constipation is a lack of exercise, or remaining immobile for too long. This is bad news for desk jockeys, but a timely reminder to stay active to make sure everything continues to work as it should.
Your knight in shining armor is to use baking soda and water for constipation. Simply mix one teaspoon of baking soda with 1/4 cup of water and drink quickly.
It works because baking soda is a bicarbonate. When it enters your body, it forces air to escape which relieves some of the pain and discomfort caused by this build up.
Baking soda for constipation is one of the oldest and well known home constipation remedies going. It's been used millions and millions of times.
However as with almost any medicine, there have been rare cases of bad reactions to taking it.
The link between baking soda and constipation has been known for an age. Since the 1920's, there have been 18 cases of people's stomachs rupturing associated with baking soda. There has been one death associated to baking soda and water for constipation, in 1939.
An independent study into this phenomenon found that:
...baking soda produced too little carbon dioxide in a short period to be a likely cause, except possibly in rare cases when a stomach was overloaded and not emptying properly, so that the addition of anything else could lead to a rupture.
But another thing worth noting is that baking soda is high in salt, and a diet high in salt can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney problems.
Baking soda for constipation has been regularly used for over a century, and one of the main reasons has been because of how effective and affordable it is, and because almost every household has some.
But for regular use, it's not recommended by doctors because of its high salt content. So if you keep getting constipated, you should look for a more long-term solution.
Stimulant laxatives (chemical laxatives you buy at the drug store) should only be used in extreme cases and as a last resort. (Baking soda and water for constipation is an example of a non-stimulant laxative).
You should only try them after all else fails because long term use is very damaging - it itself can cause extreme constipation and can damage nerves and muscles of the colon.
It's far better to drink plenty of water, eat your fruits and vegetables, and make sure you're active for 20 minutes a day. Then in the rare cases you need to use baking soda for constipation.
Ninja tip: Stop Constipation For Good
As I mentioned before, baking soda is more of an emergency solution for constipation. If constipation keeps coming back, and you are consuming enough water and fiber, something else might be going on.
Good and bad bacteria should live in harmony
The intestinal flora is a collective term for all the bacteria that live in the intestine. These intestinal bacteria can be divided into beneficial and harmful bacteria.
Did you know, that in total there are approximately a 100 billion bacteria in your intestines?
In a healthy intestinal flora the most useful and harmful bacteria are in equilibrium with each other. The inside of the intestinal wall in that case is completely occupied with bacteria. The harmful bacteria can not multiply as a result, because there is not enough room and food for new bacteria.
But sometimes they don't...
The intestinal flora may change due to illness, infection or treatment with medications such as antibiotics. Antibiotics not only kill harmful bacteria, but also the beneficial bacteria of the intestinal flora. This causes a disturbance in the intestinal flora creates voids in the intestinal wall. Thereby giving the harmful intestinal bacteria a chance to multiply. When these harmful bacteria prevail, we can get symptoms or become ill. One of the symptoms can be chronic constipation.
Probiotics for constipation relief
Probiotic supplements contain large amounts of beneficial lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria, such as, for example, the lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, survive the stomach acid and thereby reach the intestine.
There is evidence that probiotics can help with constipation and with some forms of diarrhea. There are even special probiotics formulas available that are designed to cure constipation, like the popular Complete Probiotics by Dr. Mercola. It is important that you use probiotics daily for a few weeks, for a noticeable effect. You can find them here.