If your bowel movements have become painful or infrequent, remedies for constipation, such as acupuncture, should be on your list.

How to Manage Chronic Constipation for Life

It’s happening again. You’re having dinner with some friends, and you’re becoming increasingly uncomfortable. You haven’t had a bowel movement in almost a week. You’re tempted to excuse yourself once again and head to the restroom, but you already know it’ll be pointless. You can’t even focus on the conversation – all you can think about is seeking relief. Your friends have quieted down and are staring at you. You give up and smile, heading to the restaurant bathroom once again. Surely there are some remedies for constipation you could try?

What is Chronic Constipation?

The last time you experienced serious constipation was when you backpacked through Europe a few years ago. Nowadays, it seems you’re spending much more time sitting on the toilet than you used to. While it’s normal for everyone to experience constipation occasionally, especially when your body is going through some changes or stress, chronic constipation is an issue that can interfere with your ability to go about your everyday life.

The term “constipation” comes from the Latin constipare meaning “to press, crowd together.” Medically, constipation can be defined as experiencing infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools over an extended period of time.

Symptoms of chronic constipation include:

  • Having fewer than three bowel movements a week
  • Straining to have bowel movements
  • Having hard or lumpy stools
  • Not being able to completely empty your rectum
  • Emptying your rectum with help, such as pressing on your abdomen with your hands or manually removing stools with a finger

Causes of Chronic Constipation

Acupuncture for functional disorders has been shown to effectively help chronic constipation, but identifying the causes of constipation should be the first step. This will help your physician suggest remedies that address your specific needs. Knowing why you’re constipated is also important for ruling out more serious disorders that cause blockages in the colon or rectum. These blockages could be a sign of cancer, rectum and colon nerve problems, pelvic disorders or hormonal problems linked to fluid balance in the body, such as thyroid disease. Once any serious condition has been treated or ruled out, you and your physician can focus on finding a solution, which could involve a combination of lifestyle changes and incorporating several remedies for constipation.

Constipation may not seem like a big deal, especially if your case is mild; however, it’s important to address the issue and avoid further complications down the road. These complications can include:

  • Fecal incontinence
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal fissure
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Fecal impaction and bowel obstruction
  • Bowel perforation and stercoral peritonitis

Remedies for Constipation

Since healthy bowel movements are linked to fiber intake, an important step in treating your condition is increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Other remedies for constipation include:

  • Exercising daily, which tones intestines and can help regulate bowel movements.
  • Practicing yoga, breathing exercises, stress management and biofeedback, which involves training your pelvic muscles.
  • Changing your habits and listening to your body by never ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement.
  • Undergoing acupuncture for constipation.
  • Drinking plenty of water during the day.
  • Paying attention to your caffeine intake, as it can cause dehydration.
  • Avoiding laxatives, which can provide quick relief but can lead to dangerous addictions.
  • Adding fiber to your diet in the form of supplements if necessary.
  • Taking probiotics daily, which may improve whole gut transit time, stool frequency and stool consistency.

Acupuncture Balanced Health

Chronic constipation can hinder your ability to perform everyday tasks and enjoy physical and social activities. Acupuncture Balanced Health offers top-notch integrative medicine plans developed by our team of experts – traditional Chinese medicine physicians who work with our board-certified physician trained in integrative medicine and acupuncture research. There’s no need to keep suffering from your condition, so contact us today to make an appointment. Our list of happy, healthy clients speaks for itself.




In many ways, you can choose an acupuncture practitioner the way you choose any health care professional to see: by getting to know them and asking for other people's opinions.

How to Choose an Acupuncture Practitioner

As with all medical professionals you interact with, you want to find an acupuncturist who cares about your concerns and well-being. With acupuncture, you’re treating the whole self so it’s important you’re able to be comfortable and candid during treatment. Here are 4 steps for how to choose an acupuncture practitioner who can meet all your needs and truly treat the whole you.

Step 1: Specify Your Reason to See an Acupuncture Practitioner

Acupuncture is a wonderful mix of Eastern and Western medicine and a practice dating back centuries. To find the right acupuncturist for you, first identify why you want the treatment. It can be used to treat a wide array of conditions including:

  • Chronic pain caused by a car accident, illness or injury
  • Nausea, including morning sickness
  • Energy imbalance
  • Allergies
  • Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive health illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome

Your aches, pains and other uncomfortable symptoms may flare during some weather, especially in spring and summer when the weather is hot and there’s additional pollen and humidity in the air. Knowing the conditions or symptoms you need treatment for can help you to focus on the specialities and experience you’re looking for in an acupuncturist.

Step 2: Seek Recommendations

If you have family or friends who have gotten acupuncture treatment, ask them who their practitioner was and why they liked — or didn’t like — their experience.

Another way to get a recommendation is to look at testimonials or reviews online. You can do a simple online search of “acupuncturist in NC” to see what your options are in Chapel Hill and beyond.

Step 3: Choose an Acupuncture Practitioner

Consider the training and qualifications the practitioner has and whether he or she has the ability to treat your needs. At the very least, your acupuncturist should be either a Licensed Acupuncturist (L. Ac.), a medical doctor, an osteopath or a chiropractor. In North Carolina, a Licensed Acupuncturist means the person has completed:

  • A 3 year post-graduate program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • The clean needle technique course offered by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
  • The NCCAOM written exam
  • The practical exam, the NCCAOM PEPLS

While physicians can legally perform acupuncture treatment without formal training, it’s best to seek a physician who does have formal training. Acupuncture takes years to master, which is why Licensed Acupuncturists are required to complete programs and exams. To ensure you receive effective treatment and have the best experience possible, consider focusing your search on people who specialize in acupuncture and apply the treatment frequently.

Based on your identified needs, the recommendations you found and the background research you did on the acupuncturists you’ve found, it’s time to choose an acupuncture practitioner.

Step 4: Schedule an Appointment

Schedule an appointment with your acupuncture practitioner and come to the appointment prepared to discuss your condition and/or what treatment you’re seeking. You should be ready to answer questions such as:

  • What conditions or symptoms are you hoping to use acupuncture as treatment for?
  • What other treatments have you tried?
  • How long have you experienced this condition or symptom?
  • What do you want to gain from acupuncture treatment?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns about acupuncture?

You should also consider asking questions such as:

  • What’s your experience with treating my condition?
  • How long can it take to treat my condition?
  • What do you recommend for treatment?

By asking and answering these questions during your appointment your acupuncturist can be sure to care for you and offer you the best treatment plan they can, and you can begin to create a meaningful connection with the practitioner.

To find out what types of acupuncture we offer and learn more about our personalized approach to treatment, contact us to book an initial consultation.