How Heating Pads Can Help With Constipation
We've all heard about how heating pads can help with your aches and pains. This includes the cold AND the hot treatment.
But did you know that heating pads can help with constipation as well?
The heating pad can help relax in your muscles in your midsection, but can also do some mental healing as well.
Read on to find out more why this is true.
Why do we get constipated?
Before we get into how heating pads help with constipation, we are going to take a little bit of time to talk about why we sometimes get constipated.
Here are just a few reasons we get constipated:
Too much dairy
It is not completely understood why, but having too much dairy can lead to someone becoming constipated.
So if you have too much milk or cheeses in your diet, that can lead to constipation.
If you feel constipation coming on or you've felt like you've had too much dairy lately, then dial it back.
Instead, soy milks or yogurt have been found to not cause constipation.
Not enough water
Dehydration is a big problem that can lead to constipation.
Your body needs water to be able to process your food the right way.
And if you aren't drinking enough water, then your body has a little bit of problem processing food.
But if you drink enough water, than everything flows through your body as it should.
Then you don't have to worry about being constipated.
Too much caffeine or alcohol
Coffee has become a favorite beverage for waking up in the morning.
You can tell just by looking at the lines outside of Starbucks when you are heading into work.
While alcohol is a beverage when hanging out with friends.
Some people depend on coffee to keep up their energy levels throughout the day.
If they feel their energy slipping, or because they need to get their fix, they will go out and get themselves another cup of joe.
While some people drink alcohol socially.
And a cup of coffee or alcohol every once in awhile might be fine, but having it all of the time can give you constipation problems.
You see, the caffeine from the coffee and alcohol is actually going to dehydrate you and as we talked about in the area "not enough water" area, not enough water can lead to constipation.
So a few cups of coffee or alcohol is probably fine, but you should couple it with even more cups of water to avoid constipation.
Not enough fruits, veggies, and whole grains
An important part of a regular diet is having enough fiber.
If you only subsist on meat and dairy, then you aren't going to have enough fiber in your diet.
So you need to sprinkle in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet to make sure that you are "regular".
Of course, on the flip side, having too much of these will lead to constipation as well.
So it's s thin line between too much and not enough.
According to Harvard:
"The most effective combination of fruits and vegetables among study participants was two servings of fruits plus three servings of vegetables per day, for a total of five servings daily.
The biggest health benefits came from eating leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach) and fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C and beta carotene (citrus, berries, carrots). "These are primary sources of antioxidants that may play a role in preventing cancer," Dr. Wang says.
Interestingly, eating more than five servings of fruits or vegetables per day didn’t seem to provide additional benefit in lowering the risk of death. Neither did eating starchy vegetables like peas, corn, or potatoes, or drinking fruit juices.
Also, understand that we’re talking about how much you eat on average. If during any particular day you have no fruit and vegetables, that’s fine: you won’t keel over. You can add a little more than usual on other days to raise your average for the week."
So try to have 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This will help you have a good balance in your diet.
You should also try to have 48 grams of whole grains each day.
Now it isn't traveling directly that is going to give you constipation.
It will actually be the change in habits that will give you constipation.
For example, when you are working from your office, then you use the bathroom on a schedule.
You also typically have a plan of what you are going to eat for your meals and easy access for stuff to drink (including water).
While traveling, this is typically not the case.
You sometimes start your day off in the airport, sometimes getting yourself some McDonalds for breakfast, which is unusual for you.
And you don't want to give up your seat, so you don't get a drink of water when you usually do.
Lastly, you get on the airplane and don't want to get up from your seat, so you don't go to the bathroom right away when you need to.
All of these are changes in your schedule, which can lead to you having problems with bowel movements and can sometimes lead to constipation.
Stress and anxiety
Though it is not the final reason that you might have constipation, it will be the last we will cover in this article.
A lot of us have some form of stress or anxiety in our lives.
Whether is it because we work at a job we don't like or because we have too much to do every day, there is usually something that leaves us stressed.
Your autonomic nervous system is what helps to control your stress level and also works on your digestion.
So if you are stressed, then your autonomic nervous system will focus on helping you get rid of your stress.
On the other hand, it won't be able to focus on helping you digest your food.
And if the stress goes on long enough, this could lead to inflammation of the digestive tract.
At that point, you will need to seek the help of a doctor to help your digestion get back to normal.
Things that can help
Constipation is far from fun.
Most of us have experienced it a time or two.
But there are a few things that can help us.
Drink more water
As we talked about previously, one of the biggest reasons we get constipated is because we don't drink enough water.
So we can solve our problem by drinking more water.
There is no amount of water you should drink each day because it really depends on how big you are, what else you drink during the day, etc.
For a good start, 8 glasses of water is typically recommended.
This is if you don't drink anything else.
If you are dealing with constipation, then try sticking with drinking just water for awhile.
This will ensure that your body is getting enough of the right fluids to help you deal with constipation.
But that doesn't mean stop at 8 glasses. Try to drink as much water as you feel comfortable drinking.
A sedentary life style was one of the things that causes constipation that we didn't cover above.
But it is one of those ways we can get constipated.
So to combat that, we simply have to exercise more.
This doesn't mean that you have to go out and run a marathon or lift weights until you look like a professional wrestler.
But maybe make yourself go out for a brisk walk every once in awhile.
I like to do my walking right before bed so I can go right to sleep afterwards.
Eat probiotic foods
Probiotics are live bacteria that live in your gut and help you to process food.
Some people who have constipation have an imbalance of probiotics in their gut.
So adding some by yourself could help your body process things normally.
Foods that include probiotics are yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi.
If you can add these into your regular diet, then you can do a great deal towards helping your digestive system.
Over the counter laxatives
If you get really desperate because of your constipation, then you can try using over the counter laxatives.
This might be able to help with immediate relief from your constipation.
But it might also lead to further digestive problems.
So I would avoid these options unless absolutely desperate.
So one of the other options you have is heating pads.
A problem with constipation is that your muscles tense up and they don't have the ability to push out your stool.
A heated up heating pad will help your muscles to relax in that area of your body.
And with that relaxing of the muscles, your body should be able to release whatever is being held back.
In this case, a heated up heating pad is much better than a cold heating pad.
So grab your LavaBag heating pad and throw it in the microwave for 3 minutes.
Then apply it to your lower back and leave there for up to 30 minutes.
If that isn't enough time, give yourself 2 hours for a break and then put the LavaBag in the microwave for another 3 minutes and apply for another 30.
Doing this one or two times should help with your constipation.
There are many things out there that might cause you to become constipation.
And that is not a comfortable situation to be in.
But one of the main ideas is you need to make sure you are drinking enough water and not sitting in the same spot for too long.
If you do find yourself in the situation where you become constipated, drink plenty of water and heat up that LavaBag heating pad.
Apply the heating pad to your lower back once you've heated it up and hopefully you will feel some relief.