Many serious illnesses may be caused by chronic constipation. Liver, kidneys, pancreas, and even the heart may become damaged by continued absorption of the poisonous products of a clogged intestine. It is always dangerous to allow a chronic condition to become established in which day after day intestinal wastes accumulate. They may ferment or putrefy and produce poisons which damage the body seriously.
Whereas it is probably better to empty the intestines with some medicine rather than to retain the waste material, this is nevertheless a poor makeshift. The continued use of laxative drugs is certainly not advisable. If a person suffers from chronic constipation, every effort should be made to locate the cause and to correct the difficulty. The cathartic should be used as an emergency measure only.
Perhaps the simplest and least harmful way of cleaning out the intestine of an adult is by the use of what is known as a physiological salt solution-1 slightly rounding teaspoon of salt (7 grams) to 1 quart of warm water. The entire quart may be necessary, and it should be taken on an empty stomach. One-half hour or more before breakfast satisfies this condition. Slightly more or less salt may be needed in some cases to make this solution effective.
Constipation is in many cases due to the following conditions: failure to establish regularity in emptying the intestines; lack of proper exercise; wrong diet; and insufficient water. Its cure, in these cases, must be: taking time to cultivate the habit of emptying the intestine at a regular hour each day; exercising in such a way as to strengthen the abdominal muscles (rapid walking is good for this); following a laxative diet; drinking more water.