Constipation can be uncomfortable and even painful at times. If it becomes a chronic condition, it can lead to additional problems, including hemorrhoids.
In many cases, you can treat constipation by using lifestyle changes or over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Some people also recommend home remedies, including baking soda. Learn about the benefits and potential risks of using sodium bicarbonate to treat constipation.
What are the Symptoms of Constipation?
If you struggle to pass stools or have less than three bowel movements in a week, you may be constipated.
Other symptoms of constipation include:
- Passing lumpy or hard stools
- Feeling pain in the lower abdomen
- Feeling that your rectum is blocked
- Experiencing the feeling that you can not empty all the stool from your rectum
- Having to use your hand to press your abdomen to produce a bowel movement
- Having to use your finger to remove stool from your rectum
Many people experience occasional constipation. For example, you may experience it when you change your diet or exercise habits. Occasional constipation rarely leads to complications.
What are the Complications of Constipation?
Chronic constipation can cause problems if it is not diagnosed and treated. For example, if you experience chronic constipation, you are more likely to develop:
- Anal fissures, which occur when the skin around the tears of the anus
- Fecal impaction, which occurs when the stool is compacted and stuck in the rectum
According to the Mayo Clinic, you may have chronic constipation if you experience constipation for several weeks or longer.
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation often occurs when the waste in your bowels moves too slowly. This gives the stool time to become hard and dry, which makes it more difficult to pass.
Many things can contribute to constipation, including:
- Eat a diet low in fiber
- Do not drink enough water
- Not getting enough physical activity
- Do not use the bathroom when you have the desire to do it
Changes in your routine can also disrupt your bowel habits. For example, traveling or experiencing greater stress may affect your ability to have regular bowel movements.
Other less common causes of constipation include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome and other intestinal diseases
- Anal fissures
- Colon cancer
- Narrowing of your colon
- Weakened pelvic muscles
- the pregnancy
- thyroid problems
- Mental disorders
- Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
- Certain medications
How is Constipation Treated?
OTC laxatives and stool softeners are also available. However, you should avoid using stimulant laxatives too often. Over time, constipation can worsen.
Some natural remedies can also provide relief. For example, some people recommend the use of sodium bicarbonate to treat constipation. There is no research available to support these recommendations.
How to Use Baking Soda for Constipation
Below are some of the most effective methods for using baking soda to relieve constipation. Try all and find the one that works best for you.
1. Baking Soda and Hot Water
- Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to a glass.
- Pour ¼ cup of hot water over it.
- Stir until the baking soda has dissolved.
- Optional: Add a pinch of salt .
- Drink in the morning on an empty stomach to break down food and help it to pass more easily through the colon.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water while using this remedy. It helps prevent constipation.
- Note: this method can also be done with water at room temperature.
2. Baking Soda with Apple Cider Vinegar
- In a bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar .
- Eat this mixture 1-2 times a day depending on the severity of your symptoms.
- You can add a pinch of sea salt to improve bowel movements.
- Note: drinking too much can cause diarrhea.
- In a bowl, mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Add the mixture to a glass of water and mix well.
- Drink regularly.
3. Baking Soda with Lemon Juice
The citric acid in lemonjuice stimulates the intestines and eliminates the toxins that accumulate in the walls of the colon, helping in proper digestion. Sodium bicarbonate neutralizes the acidity of lemon juice, ensuring that no excess acid is left in the digestive tract to cause pain or discomfort.
- Put 1 teaspoon stacked with baking soda and juice of half a lemon in a 16-ounce glass of water.
- Optional: Add a pinch of salt.
- Drink regularly.
Side Effects of Sodium Bicarbonate Consumption
Rare side effects have been reported when consuming sodium bicarbonate.
In some cases, excessive consumption of sodium bicarbonate can cause constipation. It can also cause:
- frequent urination
- muscular weakness
- muscle spasms
The consumption of bicarbonate has also been linked to cases of stomach rupture. When mixed with stomach acid, sodium bicarbonate produces carbon dioxide. If your digestive tract is unusually full, the gas may not be able to escape. If it accumulates too much, the stomach can burst. This is rare.
Sodium bicarbonate is also high in sodium. Consuming too much sodium can increase your risk of health problems, especially if you are sensitive to salt or if you have high blood pressure , kidney disease or heart disease.
Mixing baking soda with some other medications or supplements can cause unwanted interactions.
Most doctors do not recommend sodium bicarbonate as a treatment for constipation. Talk to your doctor before using baking soda to treat constipation. If you take sodium bicarbonate for constipation and experience severe and sudden abdominalpain , seek emergency medical attention.
How to Prevent Constipation
Follow these tips to prevent constipation:
- Drink lots of water and liquids. Try to drink about 9 cups of fluid every day if you are a woman or 13 cups if you are a man, suggests the Mayo Clinic.
- Eat a diet rich in fiber-rich foods, including whole grains, fruits and beans.
- Exercise regularly Even a 30-minute walk around the block can help you produce regular bowel movements.
- When you feel the need to use the bathroom, do it immediately. Waiting may increase the risk of constipation.
Tips and Precautions
Follow the tips below to get the best possible results from your baking soda remedy.
- Sodium bicarbonate releases salt in the body when ingested, so people without salt diet should consult their doctors before using these remedies.
- Baking soda can cause imbalances in the levels of potassium , chloride and sodium, which can cause kidney, stomach and heart damage. If you are allergic to sodium bicarbonate, or if you have kidney problems, or have suffered from congestive heart failure, do not take baking soda for constipation.
- While taking baking soda, avoid calcium supplements and calcium-rich foods, such as milk , cheese, and yogurt.
- Sodium bicarbonate increases the body’s pH or metabolic alkalosis.
- Baking soda also comes in powder, tablets and injection form.
- Use these remedies only until your constipation heals. Regular continued use can lead to a decrease in stomach acid, which can worsen gastrointestinal problems.
- The results vary from person to person. If you do not see results, contact your doctor.
The baking soda remedies listed above are natural and safe. Have you tried any of them? Do you know of others that we have not mentioned? Share your experience with us!