Following on from my Constipation – General Guidelines post, I have now compiled a list of the most effective and common homeopathic remedies for constipation. Because it is sometimes hard to get a really detailed picture of how your child’s constipation really presents… and because you are at the ‘coal-face’ so to speak, I thought this article may lead to a much better ‘hit’ rate in first prescriptions. Have a read, and you will be able to make a far better assessment of which one (or ones) might be best indicated in your child’s case… I should mention that although Aluminium is often at the basis of the causation, it isn’t always the most indicated remedy… read all to make sure!
Alumina: Constipation due to dryness of the intestinal tract. Diminished peristaltic movement and complete inertia of the rectum, so that we have the symptom,’ soft stool expelled with difficulty. There is little or no urging to stool. The stools may be hard and knotty like sheep dung, or may be soft. It is one of our most useful remedies in constipation of children where the rectum is dry, inflamed and bleeding about the orifice. Alumina differs from Bryonia chiefly in the state of rectal inactivity. A dry mouth and an irritated looking tongue may lead to the selection of Alumina. There is much straining with the remedy and the stool is passed in very small quantities – piecemeal, so to speak. Very common in children today who have methylation issues. This is due to the presence of aluminium hydroxide in today’s childhood vaccinations.
Bryonia: This remedy is indicated for constipation with a feeling of dryness in the rectum and large dry stools (as if burnt) that are hard to push out, with sticking or tearing pains. There is generally no urging. Similar to Alumina, but with Alumina there is such inactivity of the rectum that even soft stools are hard to expel. The person feels grouchy or out of sorts. Constipation in young children, is frequently cured by Bryonia 30th. It can be alternated with Nux Vomica at a 30C potency daily with good results
Calcarea carbonica: People who need this remedy often feel more stable when constipated, and experience discomfort and fatigue when the bowels have moved. Large stools are hard at first, then sticky, then liquid. The person may feel chilly and sluggish, have clammy hands and feet, crave sweets, and feel weak and anxious when they have overexerted themselves.
Causticum: This remedy may be helpful when stool is difficult to pass, with lots of painful straining. The person’s face may turn red from effort, and more success may come from standing up. When it finally emerges, the stool will be narrow and full of mucus.
Graphites: This remedy is indicated when large stools look like “sheep dung” or little balls stuck together with mucus. Aching often is felt in the anus after the bowels have moved. People who need this remedy are slow to become alert in the morning, usually stout, and have a tendency toward eczema. There is no urging. The patient sometimes goes days without a stool, and when it does come it is composed of little round balls, knotted together with shreds of mucus and accompanied with great pain when passing, owing to the fissures around the anus. These fissures, as well as the haemorrhoids which accompany them, burn, smart and itch intolerably. Excessive soreness of the anus is common . The mucus-coated stool, the extreme soreness of the anus, the general Graphites temperament of sadness and obesity, will easily decide for the remedy. Graphites suits especially where people tend to not go to the toilet when they need to – they put it off.
Lycopodium: Often constipation accompanied by indigestion with gas and bloating, and many problems involving the bowels. Rubbing the abdomen or drinking something warm may help to relieve the symptoms. A craving for sweets and an energy slump in late afternoon and early evening are strong indications for Lycopodium. There is a sensation after stool as if something remained behind. Constipation, due to constriction of the rectal sphincter calls for this remedy (also Silica) The stools are dry and hard, or the first part hard, the last soft. In the constipation of children and pregnant women it is often a great remedy. A great deal of rumbling in the abdomen following the stool is an additional indication. Nux and Lycopodium may be easily distinguished, though both have the keynote: ‘ineffectual urging to stool’. In Nux, this is due to irregular peristaltic action, while with Lycopodium it is due to a constriction of the rectum. The individual can seem ‘anxious’ about going to the toilet, and it often accompanies a depressive mood.
Natrum Muriaticum: All the muriates have crumbly stools, and so we find that the characteristic constipated stool of Natrum muriaticum is a hard and crumbly one; the rectum is dry, the stool is hard to expel and causes bleeding, smarting and soreness in the rectum. There is ineffectual urging to stool, with stitching pains in the rectum. Magnesia muriatica, another of the muriates, has characteristically a constipation in which the stools are passed with great difficulty, being composed of hard lumps like sheep dung, which are so dry that they crumble as they pass the anus. Ammonium muriaticum has this same symptom of dry and crumbly stools, they may also be coated externally with mucus. In constipation of young people who are subjected to acne and blocked pores, Natrum muriaticum should be thought of.
Nux vomica: One of the most common remedies for constipation, due to the liver affinity . This remedy is often helpful to people who are impatient, tense, indulge in stimulants and are partial to sweets and spicy food. Headaches, chilliness, and constricting pains in the bowels or rectal area often accompany constipation when Nux vomica is needed. It has the added benefit of being a great antidote to other medications, stimulating the release of toxins. Very helpful in the picture where the patient has received too many medications. There is a ‘sluggishness’ to the whole portal system and lack of peristalsis. This gives rise to ‘ineffectual urging to stool’, and when it does appear, it is incomplete and unsatisfactory. If there is no desire to go, then Nux vomica is not well indicated. Opium and Bryonia are better indicated where there is no urging to go. There can be the sensation of a ‘plug’ in the rectum which cannot be expelled (Anacardium also has this). Even soft stools are expelled with difficulty. Mental symptoms are irritability, irascibility, and objection to all opposition. Haemorrhoids are also common. Nux can be given in higher potencies (200C) to be beneficial, or in tincture daily.
Opium: While the constipation of Nux is due to irregularity of intestinal action, that of Opium is due to absolute inaction of the intestines, a regular paralysis of the peristaltic movement. There is absolutely no desire, absolutely no urging to stool whatever, and so the faeces become impacted in the bowels; and when passed at all come in little, hard, dry, black balls, here resembling the stool of Plumbu . Another drug which has no urging to stool is Bryonia, but here the lack of urging is rather due to dryness of the mucous membrane than to intestinal inactivity; with Opium there is no feeling throughout the intestinal tract, and consequently the constipation is doesn’t initially bother the patient, so it gets worse and worse until the large amounts of gas accumulating in the upper part of the intestine eventually causes great discomfort. Where the faeces need to be physically removed, this remedy should be thought of, though Selenium, Alumina, Plumbum or Bryonia may also be used in this condition. Diminished secretions are also characteristic of Opium, so that dryness intestinal inactivity, is one of the causes of constipation of old people; the patient is drowsy and dizzy.
Phosphorus:. Phosphorus has long slender stools voided with much straining.
Plumbum: There is urging to stool, and accompanying this urging is a lot of pain / colic with a marked retraction of the abdominal walls. The stool is passed with the greatest difficulty and consists of little round balls, which are black, dry and hard. There are sometimes painful spasms of the anal sphincter. The anus feels as if drawn upward. There is loss of muscular activity and dryness in the intestines
Podophyllum: Podophyllum 12th has proved of use in constipation of children. Usually alternates with diarrhoea, and there is ‘colicky’ pain.
Sepia: A heavy sensation in the rectum, remaining after a bowel movement, may indicate a need for this remedy. Stools can be hard and difficult to pass, although they may be small. The person often has cold hands and feet, and is weary and very irritable. Exercise may bring improvement, both to constipation and to mood and energy level.
Silica: When this remedy is indicated, the person strains for long periods without success. A “bashful” stool begins to come out, but eventually retreats. People who need this remedy are nervous and mentally acute, but also chilly, physically frail, and easily fatigued. There is a great deal of soreness about the anus, also an oozing of moisture. There is urging to stool and a sensation as if faeces remained in the rectum.
Sulphur: Dry, hard stools with reddish inflammation of the anus and offensive flatulence suggest a need for this remedy. Constipation may also alternate with diarrhea. People who need this remedy are often “characters” with interesting mental notions, slouching posture, and very little interest in tidiness. With Sulphur there is an ineffectual urging to stool, with a sensation of heat and discomfort in the rectum , and there is a general uneasy feeling all through the intestinal tract, due to abdominal plethora or passive portal congestion. It is very useful remedy to begin the treatment of constipation but only if well indicated. A poor constitution with frequent ill health are good indications to start with, a tendency to piles is another. The stools are hard, dark, dry, and expelled with great straining, the first effort to stool being extremely painful. There is apt to be much twitching and burning of the anus, the evacuation are often unsatisfactory, and, as in Nux, there is often a sensation as if a part remained behind. Another characteristic symptom of Sulphur is constipation alternating with diarrhea. Exercise will general help with this venous weakness seen in the Sulphur presentation.
Platina: With Platina, there is great sluggishness of intestinal tract, unsuccessful urging to stool and great dryness of the rectum. The stools seem to adhere to the rectum like glue or putty. There is great weakness in the abdomen and a sensation as if there were a load in the rectum which could not be expelled. It is considered a remedy for the constipation of emigrants and travelers, so it would seem to find an additional indication where the trouble was brought on by change of environment/ diet etc. It is also a remedy for the constipation due to lead poisoning. There is frequent urging, scanty, dry stool and great abdominal weakness. As under Ignatia, there are sharp stitches in the rectum.
Veratrum Album: Although good for diarrhoea, it has a marked effect in the treatment of constipation. Here, there is complete lack of peristalsis / action of the intestines, as under Bryonia and Opium. The faeces accumulate in large masses and have to be removed by artificial means. There are extreme cases where the patient is able to force a passage for himself; the stools are large, hard and black. As with the diarrhea there may be faintness after the stool. Dr. Bryce claims that it will bring stool quickest of any medicine I ever tried.” He used 3x. It comes in very well after Nux vomica, especially in constipation of children.