Chronic constipation (CC) is a recurring issue for many people, with or without other health conditions.
Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medicine therapy, is one of the most popular alternative treatments for constipation. In this therapy, needles are used to stimulate specific points on the skin. Diet is also a major factor in relieving constipation.
Eating high-fiber foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and drinking enough fluids can help soften the stool and maintain regularity. Magnesium is another important nutrient that can help with constipation. Oral magnesium supplements act as osmotic laxatives, which means they carry water to the digestive system and soften the stool. The low-FODMAP diet is an elimination diet that helps treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and may also alleviate IBS-related constipation. Other alternative therapies for constipation include acupuncture or electroacupuncture, herbal medications, yoga poses, and chiropractic care.
Insoluble fiber is also beneficial for relieving constipation as it moves through the intestines without being absorbed. In children, medical treatments for constipation may not be effective due to financial difficulties or side effects. Non-medical methods such as reflexology can be used to encourage an inactive intestine and relieve constipation. Studies have also shown that sparkling water is more effective than tap water in relieving constipation. If dietary changes do not help with constipation, it is important to consult a doctor or health professional for advice. Among the four types of complementary and alternative therapies discussed in this review, acupuncture and herbal medicines have been found to be the most effective.
Novel and innovative therapies are needed to treat constipation as it is a chronic and highly prevalent disease.