At some point in our lives, we may have experienced it: sitting on the toilet bowl for several minutes, straining ourselves yet unable to defecate. It is an uncomfortable feat; that is constipation.
The type of feces we defecate varies significantly for most of us, based in part on what we've been doing and eating. A period of dehydration, a day of intense exercise, or bowel movement delay may result in drier-than-normal stool consistency.
In this article, we will help you unlock some natural remedies for constipation and answer the question, “does cranberry juice make you poop?”
In the United States, constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal ailments. Constipation causes at least 2.5 million people to visit their doctor each year. It affects people of all ages regularly.
You may not be passing stools every day, but you may not be necessarily constipated. Constipation is a symptom, not an illness, and is described as having three or fewer bowel movements per week that are difficult to pass. Its symptoms also include having to strain, manually evacuate, or drink a laxative, experiencing lumpy or hard stools, and feeling incomplete defecation 25 percent of the time.
From the stomach, food contents move to the small intestine. The small intestine is responsible for the absorption of nutrients from food. Water is removed from the waste as it is pushed into the large bowels, resulting in a solid substance known as stool. The feces are temporarily held in the rectum before being evacuated from the body via the anus. Defecation and egestion are medical terms for the ejection of bodily wastes.
Water makes up around three-quarters of feces, while solids such as undigested fiber, gut bacteria, and dietary lipids make up the rest. The color and texture of feces can be affected by various illnesses and events.
Constipation in children is a common scenario: kids experiencing excruciating abdominal pain and discomfort in the emergency department. Then, a series of laboratory exams and diagnostics are done, revealing a bunch of impacted feces in the bowels.
Children are prone to experience this symptom because of their withholding behaviors, toilet training issues, or changes in diet. A child’s medication intake or cow’s milk allergy may also lead to constipation.
Most women are affected by constipation in every trimester of pregnancy. This is due to progesterone hormones, which cause the bowels to relax. Prenatal vitamins, especially those containing iron, are also the primary culprits of passing hard stools. As the uterus expands, pressure on the bowels causes this uncomfortable symptom in later pregnancy.
In whatever stage of your life, from childhood to adulthood, constipation spares no one. When constipation lasts for more than three months, it is termed chronic. This may be associated with more difficult to treat conditions.
Struggling to pass dry feces raises the risk of anus laceration, rectal bleeding, hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, and diverticulosis. Diverticulosis, an enlargement of the large bowels, causes a bowel pouch to form, leading to infection or inflammation.
While it is early, keep your constipation in check. Luckily, we have some natural remedies that save us from high medical costs.
Natural Ways to Relieve Constipation
As a short-term cure, taking over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives can assist, but they can have unwanted adverse effects, such as dehydration. People who regularly use laxatives face the danger of developing a physical dependency on them. Thus, it is always better to use natural ways to relieve constipation.
Taking fiber supplements or eating more fibrous foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help you have more stools that move easily through your intestines. Adults should consume between 28 and 34 grams of fiber every day.
Physical activity aids the passage of feces through the intestines. With a doctor's approval, regular exercise can help reduce constipation. If exercising isn't a priority or a viable option, take a light daily walk.
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that live in the gut and help it function properly. They may aid in the repopulation of gut bacteria with beneficial strains that promote regular bowel movements. Yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are all high in probiotics.
Drinking enough water helps to make feces soft and easy to pass. If drinking water isn't working, consider adding clear soups, teas, and naturally sweetened fruit or vegetable juices to your diet.
However, an intake rich in water, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is not very attainable for some people. Most find refuge in taking fruit juices as their aid to constipation.
Juicing and Constipation
If you opt to consume fruit juice to cure constipation, keep in mind that only a tiny amount of juice may be required. Adults should consume half to a full cup of juice once a day, especially in the morning.
Try to get 100 percent fruit juices when buying readymade juices. Many added sugars are found in some fruit juices and fruit drinks that will not relieve constipation as 100 percent fruit juice.
The best juices that help constipation are prune, apple, and citrus juice. Other alternatives are aloe vera, pineapple, watermelon, and cucumber juice.
Prune juice is the most popular juice for relieving constipation. About 2.6 grams of fiber are present in each 8-ounce drink. That's around 10% of your daily calorie requirement.
Apple juice has a mild laxative effect on some people. Because of its high fructose and sorbitol concentration, it is frequently advised for children with constipation. However, too much of it may cause digestive discomfort.
Pear juice is another excellent choice, as it has four times the amount of sorbitol as apple juice. This juice is also frequently recommended for constipation problems as many children enjoy the taste.
Another popular pick for its laxative effect is cranberry juice. Cranberries have been cited for their function in gut health and the microbiome, although it's unclear if the juice has the same advantages. Although small in size, the fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals. Aside from this, it offers other additional benefits that we will discover later.
What’s in Cranberry Juice
An 80g serving of fresh cranberries provides:
- 12kcal / 52kj
- 0.3g protein
- 0.1g fat
- 2.7g carbohydrate
- 2.7g sugars
- 3.2g fiber
- 76mg potassium
- 10mg vitamin C
One of your five-a-day requirements for fruits is an 80g serving of fresh cranberries or a single glass of 150ml unsweetened cranberry juice. However, only one glass counts, and drinking more will not help you meet your five-a-day need. This is true for all fruit juices.
May Help Prevent UTI
Cranberry juice, generally in the form of a juice cocktail drink containing about 25% cranberry juice, has long been the go-to remedy for most women wanting to avoid urinary tract infections. The tannin in the red berry may help prevent E. coli bacteria from adhering to the bladder's walls, where they can cause disease. If you want to use cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, you must consume it daily. However, the exact amount you need to intake has yet to be determined.
Supports a Healthy Gut
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, can be inhibited by A-type proanthocyanidins found in cranberry juice. The antioxidant effects of cranberry can also provide anti-inflammatory properties, which are essential components in preventing colonic cancer.
Cranberry juice is a good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that inactivates the free radicals from damaging the healthy cells and DNA in the body. In the long term, this reduces the risk of developing various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and vascular conditions, among others.
Supports cardiovascular health
A particular component of cranberry juice—anthocyanins, has been studied to reduce the risk of deposition of cholesterol on the blood vessels, or so-called atherosclerosis.
Proanthocyanidins, a vitamin found in cranberries, prevent germs from adhering together, preventing 95 percent of plaque formation. It lowers the development of sugars in our mouth and makes it more difficult for acids to form, reducing tooth enamel damage.
Does Cranberry Juice Make You Poop?
In a way, cranberry juice does make you poop. The science behind this points to the side effects of consuming too much fruit juice. Drinking cranberry juice in excess can relieve dehydration, while the additional benefit is from the intake of its healthy sugars. Studies have also shown its usefulness in persons with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) who may experience constipation.
Constipation is more common in some people because of dehydration. For smooth stool transit, your body requires water. As a result, consuming more cranberry juice can help prevent dehydration and constipation. However, there is no evidence that cranberry juice is more helpful than ordinary water.
You don't get diarrhea only by drinking too much cranberry juice. Diarrhea can be caused by drinking too much fruit juice or overeating fruit. Fructose, a form of sugar that can induce diarrhea in people who have trouble digesting it results in loose stools. Sugars pull water into the intestinal lumen, increasing the water content of stools.
Yes, you might benefit from the looser stools from excessive cranberry juice. However, consuming significant amounts of juice can result in gastrointestinal distress. You may also get a stomachache or abdominal cramps in addition to diarrhea.
Furthermore, according to MedlinePlus, drinking too much cranberry juice—more than 1 liter per day—over time can raise the risk of kidney stones, especially in persons prone to them. Also, these adverse effects may occur at lesser levels in pregnant women.
If you wish to take cranberry juice for medicinal purposes, you should always consult a doctor first to see if it's right for you.
Improved Gut Microbiome
Natural salicylate in cranberry juice has been found to reduce the number of Enterobacteriaceae, including E. coli., which are found in more significant concentrations in those who suffer from digestive disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Because of this capacity to inhibit bacterial multiplication, cranberry juice may aid those with IBS who suffer from symptoms like constipation.
Side Effects and Precautions
Cranberry juice at a dose of 120-300 mL can be consumed 1-3 times a day, without any adverse effects. Meanwhile, children can safely consume 5 mL/kg of cranberry juice daily for six months.
An allergy to cranberries is possible, but it appears to be uncommon. The berries contain salicylic acid, which can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people. Those who are allergic to aspirin should avoid drinking a lot of cranberry juice.
While juice can aid bowel movements, you should not use it to treat persistent constipation. If you have regular trouble with your bowel movements, you should consult your doctor.
Fruit juices are heavy in sugar, so if you have diabetes or need to limit your sugar intake for other reasons, you should determine the limits of how much juice you consume.
Cranberries and concentrated cranberry products may be high in oxalates, raising the risk of kidney stones in some persons.
Certain prescription drugs, such as warfarin, may interact with cranberries and any products containing them or their juice. Seek advice from your doctor before juicing.
While cranberry juice offers many advantages, you should consume it in moderation. Because its laxative potential is a side-effect you acquire from excess fruit juice, it may not be the best way to find relief from constipation.
Even if you love cranberry juice, you may want to find other reasons to drink it besides helping make you poop. Besides, there are other causes of constipation; cranberry juice may not be the answer for everyone.