Treating Constipation with Items Already in Your Stockpile

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    Most of the time, our bodies run like well-oiled machines, but even machines sometimes face a breakdown. No matter the level of care you give yourself or caution exercised when it comes to the things you eat, your digestive system will at some point fail you. In a stressful world post TEOTWAWKI, your food and water consumption will likely be different than was the norm prior, which may result in digestive upset such as constipation.

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    Photo: Cafe Holistic

    When bowel movements begin to decline in frequency, constipation is to blame. Although everyone's digestive system operates differently, you should have bowel movements no longer than three days apart and no fewer than two per week. Feces that remains in your system longer than three days solidifies and becomes more difficult to pass, which is something you want to avoid by treating constipation at its onset, but what if when creating your stockpile you forgot the laxatives? The good news is many other items likely in your stockpile can help get the job done as well.

    1. Coffee may perk you up when you're dragging, but it's benefits don't end there. The caffeine in coffee also works to stimulate the digestive system, so having a cup or two can help with constipation. Just make sure that you don't drink much more than that and that what you do drink is accompanied by water because coffee is a diuretic; this means it also makes you urinate more frequently and can lead to dehydration and further constipation if not accompanied by other hydrating fluids.

    2. Epsom salt aids in constipation by softening stools that have hardened. It does this by drawing water and depositing it in your digestive track where you need it. Epsom salt also contains magnesium which makes bowel muscles contract, giving your system a jumpstart. Mix 2 teaspoons of Epsom Salt with a cup of water and drink. Adjust dose to 1/2 teaspoon when treating a child.

    3. Baking soda has many uses when it comes to survival and remedying constipation is just one more. Being that baking soda is a bicarbonate, it will help move air through your digestive system, coming out of either end to remove pressure. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with 1/4 cup of warm water, drinking it down as quick as you can (within reason, of course) in order to re-alkalize the stomach and get things going again.

    4. Olive oil is a natural remedy that can help get things moving by stimulating and lubricating your digestive system. On an empty stomach, consume one table spoon. If the flavor is unpleasant to you, you can add lemon juice should you have some on hand.

    5. Dandelions may not be a part of your stockpile but they are often plentiful in the natural world and can be used to combat constipation. The dandelion acts as a natural laxative and detoxifier, but is bitter to the taste when eaten raw. Instead, take some dried dandelion leaves (2 teaspoons worth) and add them to a cup of hot water to make a tea you can drink as many as three times daily for relief.

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    Photo: Life Hacker

    In addition to these remedies, it is important to keep your digestive system in optimal condition. This can be tough in a survival situation, but some basic tips to remember are:
    • Keep moving: starting to sit around more than normal will cause fecal matter to sit around, too, so get up and at 'em, exercising your body to keep things flowing.
    • Eat fiber: though your diet will probably be lacking some important building blocks after the SHTF, try to plan for that ahead of time by stocking foods rich in fiber such as beans and nuts. Also, don't forget the prune juice.
    • Go when you have to go: when your body says it's time to go, then go. It's as simple as that. If you do not heed the call when nature issues it, the water in your stool dissipates, making it hard, and harder to pass, by the time you stop to go.
    • Stick to your routine: even if you don't have to go when you normally would, have a seat and give your body the opportunity anyway and a bowel movement may yet come to pass. Your body operates on a schedule, so stick as closely to the one you know as you possibly can.
    Though there are many obstacles we may face when TEOTWAWKI arrives, constipation does not have to be one of them. Plan accordingly in advance of it happening by having remedies on hand, be they natural or over the counter. That way when the time comes to fight to survive, you will not be dragged down by a dragging digestive system.

    Do you have any constipation remedies that you swear by? Add them to our list in the comments below!

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