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8 Best Natural Laxatives

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Using natural laxatives is a popular option for many people who are struggling with constipation, and fortunately, there are many options to choose from.
What Are Natural Laxatives?
Natural laxatives are foods, spices, and supplements that can stimulate and speed up the digestive process, helping to clear the bowels and relieve symptoms of blockage and constipation. While millions of people use over-the-counter laxatives and prescription medications to solve this uncomfortable problem, those solutions can also have negative side effects, including emergency runs to the bathroom, dizziness, low blood pressure, and cramps, among others. Natural laxatives, on the other hand, have more of a mild laxative effect. They normalize your digestive process and keep your bowels moving naturally, without eliciting such a severe response from the body.
Many of these dietary laxatives also offer rich sources of nutrients, vitamins, fiber, protein, and antioxidants, so aside from relieving constipation, they can also help boost other areas of your health.
Types Of Laxatives
There are a few main types of non-natural laxatives, including stool softeners, stimulant laxatives, bulk-forming laxatives, and osmotic laxatives, among others.
Stool Softeners
These laxatives are able to make stools slightly slippery, often through the inclusion of oils, which can lubricate the intestinal walls and induce excretion.
Bulk-Forming
These basic laxatives can help to add bulk to your stool, which tends to speed up the transit time through the gut.
Osmotic
When you have a proper amount of fluid in the intestines, digestion is much easier, so these laxatives cause liquid to be drawn into the gut.
Stimulant
These very common laxatives cause the muscles of the intestine to contract – artificial peristaltic motion – and additionally hydrate the intestines.
How Do Natural Laxatives Work?
Natural laxatives work by bulking up the food in the gut, stimulating peristaltic motion so that bowel movements can pass, thereby relieving inflammation in the small intestine so that digestion can occur normally. It is recommended that people go to the bathroom at least three times per week, although numbers may vary, and constipation symptoms may still occur, even if you are going three times each week. Adding natural laxatives to your diet can improve these symptoms in a gradual and healthy way.
Natural Laxatives
The best natural laxatives include apples, olive oil, aloe vera, water, prunes, flaxseeds, coffee, kefir, leafy greens, castor oil, and berries, among others.
Apples
High in pectin, these popular fruits can bulk up stool and stimulate peristaltic motion.
Olive Oil
Working as a stool softener, olive oil can make it easier for bowel movements to traverse the gut and be expelled.
Aloe Vera
Some of the active ingredients and enzymes in aloe vera act as mild laxatives that soften stool and speed bowel movements.
Water
Without water, your body will struggle to move your bowels, so be sure to drink at least 8 glasses per day if you’re constipated.
Prunes
High in dietary fiber, prunes can bulk up your food and eliminate inflammation in the gut, while also boosting the health of beneficial bacteria.
Flaxseeds
All seeds are rich in dietary fiber, minerals, and other nutrients, but flax seeds are particularly effective as laxatives.
Berries
Being rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, berries can be used during colon cleanses and will stimulate faster digestion.
Castor Oil
This is a stimulant laxative, albeit a natural one, that can trigger peristaltic motion in the intestines.


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Health

Hepatitis A Causes and Symptoms

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Generally speaking, hepatitis A is more common in parts of the planet that are developing. It’s for the fact that sanitation and food handling practices are by and large poor. However, medical experts say that living in developed countries can also put you at risk of having hepatitis A, but it’s really a rare occurrence.

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus or HAV. It can be spread around by someone who has hepatitis A because he or she is a carrier of the virus behind it. It is said that a person with hepatitis A is most infectious about 2 weeks before he or she begins to experience signs and symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that hepatitis A is spread around:

 

Consumption of food that is prepared by a person who has hepatitis A. This is most especially true if he or she has not properly washed his or her hands.

Drinking of water that is contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.

Intake of raw or undercooked seafood obtained from contaminated water.

Close contact with someone who has hepatitis A. This includes having sexual intercourse with an infected person, especially when the rectal or anal area has been touched with the fingers, mouth or tongue.

Using illegal drugs, especially when paraphernalia contaminated with the hepatitis A virus are used.

Symptoms

Medical experts say that it may take a while before the various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A show up. They say that someone may experience them about 4 weeks after getting infected. It’s even possible for someone with hepatitis A to not experience any sign and symptom at all.

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Tiredness and malaise
Achy muscles and joints
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Headaches
Sore throat
Diarrhea or constipation
Hives or raised rash that’s itchy

These initial signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few days only to a couple of weeks. Afterwards, as the infection of the liver progresses, the following may be experienced by the individual:

Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes (sclera)

Pale colored stools
Dark colored urine
Skin itching

Tenderness and swelling of the upper right section of the abdomen

Although it rarely happens, hepatitis A can cause liver failure. When such develops, the person who is infected may experience severe vomiting, frequent bruising, bleeding of the nose and gums, drowsiness and confusion.

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Health

Busting myths around blood donation

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As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

Contrary to the myth about blood donations making a person weak or anaemic, the body replenishes the lost blood in a matter of a few days, say experts.

“A healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets, so there is no question of becoming weak, much less anaemic. It is a myth and should not deter people from donating blood,” says Dr RK Singal, chairman, internal medicine department, BLK super-speciality Hospital.

 

The donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components, as there is sophisticated equipment available these days that extract relevant components from blood and the rest of the blood can be transfused back to the donor.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

About 65% of India’s population is young and if this section donates blood regularly, chances of the country facing blood shortage will be remote. Hence, there is all the more reason for people, especially youngsters, to come forward and be regular blood donors.

How to prepare

Have enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate

Have a full meal 3 hours before donation; never on an empty stomach

Have some rest for about 10-15 minutes after donation

Have some snacks or a juice with high sugar content after donation

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Erectile dysfunction’s connection with lifestyle

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By Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal

healthy-lifestyle-can-reverse-effects-of-hypertensionAll over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

All over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). From my research, I have found a strong link between ED and stress. Other major causes include smoking, drinking, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My advice to these patients is — do not get even more stressed over this situation. Instead, focus on taking the right medication and making some changes to your lifestyle, so you can once again enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.

 

DIAGNOSIS OF ED

We normally diagnose ED and its underlying causes by asking the patient a few questions about his medical and sexual history. This is sometimes done by sharing a questionnaire with the patient. The questions that we ask are designed to help us understand the cause of ED in the particular patient.

We also do a physical exam, ask for certain blood tests to rule out other medical conditions responsible for erectile dysfunction, and recommend imaging tests (if required) to determine whether the person is physically able to have an erection or not.

SHORT-TERM SOLUTION, LONG-TERM CURE

Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) can cause ED. In these cases, ED can be reversed once the patient starts treatment.

In my experience, many men suffer from ED because of work stress, family pressure and anxiety. So, changes in lifestyle with regular exercise, yoga, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and proper counselling help in treating ED. Along with this, medicines for ED are usually prescribed for about 3 to 6 months by which time lifestyle changes start to take effect and the patient is physically and mentally healthier, which helps resolve the problem.

An estimated 16% to 25% of men experience ED at some point in their lives. I would urge them not to be embarrassed about it. Seek medical help from a urologist or andrologist; get the necessary advice/medication; and go on to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sexual life.

The author of this article is Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal, head, andrology, department of urology sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

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