Evidence Based Fact Checked

9 Natural Remedies for Constipation Relief at Home

FTC disclaimer: This post may contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click on a link and make a purchase.

Constipation is a big problem for many, causing at least 2.5 million trips to the doctor each year in North America. Doctors say it’s normal to go between three times a day and three a week. But, being backed up is more common in women and older folks. Thankfully, there are many natural ways to help get things moving again at home.

Key Takeaways

  • Constipation is a widespread issue affecting millions worldwide, leading to numerous doctor visits annually.
  • Healthy bowel movement frequency can range from three times a day to three times a week.
  • Natural remedies like fiber-rich foods, hydration, probiotics, and exercise can help alleviate constipation.
  • Herbal teas, abdominal massage, and stress management techniques can also provide relief.
  • It’s important to consult a doctor if constipation persists or severe symptoms arise.

Understanding Constipation and Its Causes

Many people deal with the issue of constipation. This means they have infrequent or hard bowel movements. There are many reasons why this happens. Learning about these reasons is the first step to solving the problem and keeping your gut healthy.

What is Constipation?

Constipation is when you have less than three bowel movements a week. The stools are hard, dry, and small, making them painful to pass. It can happen once in a while or be an ongoing issue, depending on the cause and person.

Common Causes of Constipation

Constipation can be caused by many things, such as:

  • Not drinking enough water and eating foods low in fiber
  • Not being active enough
  • Ignoring when your body tells you it’s time to go
  • Some drugs like opioid pain killers can slow things down
  • Health issues including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diabetes, and thyroid problems
  • Problems with the muscles in your pelvis
  • Being pregnant can also cause constipation because of hormone changes and the pressure of the baby on the bowels

It’s important to know what could be causing your constipation. This helps in making a plan to manage it and get your body back to normal.

Increasing Fiber Intake for Bowel Regularity

Adding high-fiber foods to your meals helps fight constipation naturally. Fiber makes your stool bigger. This makes it easier for your body to move it through. Eating more fibrous foods makes your trips to the bathroom more regular and less painful.

High-Fiber Foods to Incorporate

  • Fruits: Berries, pears, apples, and citrus fruits are all excellent sources of fiber.
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, and leafy greens are fiber-packed options.
  • Whole grains: Choose whole wheat bread, oats, brown rice, and quinoa over refined grains.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are high in both fiber and protein.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds provide a fiber boost.

Adult women under 51 should get about 25 grams of fiber daily. Men in the same age group need around 38 grams. For those over 51, women need 21 grams, and men need 30 grams. Sadly, most people in the U.S. do not eat enough fiber. They only get about 15 grams a day.

Benefits of Fiber for Constipation Relief

Fiber is important for keeping your bowels moving and stopping constipation. It makes your stool bigger, which helps it move through your body better. Fiber also keeps water in your gut, making your stool softer and your trips to the restroom smoother.

If you have trouble with constipation, fiber supplements might help. These can include psyllium and others if you don’t get enough fiber in your diet. Make sure to add fiber slowly and drink plenty of water. This helps prevent bloating and gas.

“Fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system and promoting regular bowel movements. By incorporating more fiber-rich foods into your diet, you can find natural relief from the discomfort of constipation.”

Eating a mix of high-fiber foods, drinking enough water, and staying active is great for your gut. This helps keep things moving well and stops constipation.

Staying Hydrated: The Importance of Water

Drinking enough water is key for our bodies. It keeps our bowel movements regular and fights off constipation. Try to drink eight glasses of water a day. For men, the goal is 125 ounces (3.7 liters) daily; for women, it’s 91 ounces (2.7 liters).

Keeping hydrated helps our digestion. Water aids in pushing food through our bodies. It’s even more helpful when paired with fruits and veggies like watermelon or cucumbers that have a lot of water inside.

It’s smart to slowly drink more water each day. Use apps to track how much you drink or write it down in a journal. Also, put water bottles in places you’ll see them often, like at work or by your bed. They’ll remind you to drink throughout the day.

Think of water as medicine for your body’s plumbing system. By focusing on getting enough every day, you’ll feel better and avoid constipation.

Home Remedies for Constipation

Adding more fiber to your diet and drinking plenty of water are great for constipation. Prune juice and olive oil are also helpful.

Prune Juice and Dried Prunes

Prunes are full of fiber and a sugar called sorbitol. This sugar can make your stool bigger and help your gut absorb more water. A study in 2019 showed prunes can make people poop more often, even if their diets lack fiber. There’s about 3 grams of fiber in five dried prunes. Drinking prune juice or eating dried prunes works well as a natural laxative for constipation.

Olive Oil for Lubrication

Olive oil can soften your stool for an easier time in the bathroom. It’s especially good for people who don’t get enough fiber or water. This is a simple, natural solution if you’re feeling blocked up.

Using these home remedies is fine for now and then. But, talking to a doctor is smart if you can’t seem to fix the problem. Also, don’t forget about a mix of different natural ways to help, keeping hydrated, and eating lots of fiber. These do a lot to keep your stomach happy and your bathroom visits regular.

Prunes and olive oil are simple, natural ways to relieve occasional constipation and promote bowel regularity.

Laxative Teas and Herbal Remedies

Herbal teas are favored by many for their calming effects. They are often used to ease constipation. Laxative teas are effective for dealing with this common problem. However, it’s vital to know how they work and any risks involved.

Senna Tea

Senna tea is well-known for helping move bowels. It’s a fact that if you have less than three bowel movements weekly, your stools may get dry and hard to pass. Senna in teas is proven to work against constipation. Yet, using senna tea for a long time can cause issues. It might make your body depend on it and hide other health problems.

Other Herbal Options

Ginger, fennel, and rhubarb are also known for helping with constipation. A study from 2022 showed that taking rhubarb extract made stool texture better for women. Slippery elm adds more bulk to your stool and helps with mucus in your gut. Dandelion root, with its inulin, can ease stool passage.

Remember, while herbal teas can be nice, they are not checked by the FDA for constipation use. Drinking certain teas like cascara and senna for a long time might harm your liver. Also, herbal teas could change how some medicines work. Always talk to a doctor before you start using them.

So, herbal remedies are helpful for constipation, but use them wisely. Remember, it’s best to eat lots of fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly to help prevent constipation.

Probiotics and Their Role in Gut Health

Probiotics are good bacteria in your gut. They are key to keeping your digestion healthy and working smoothly. Eating foods like yogurt, kefir, and fermented veggies or using probiotic supplements can help. They help balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut and ease constipation.

Some studies show that specific probiotics can help with constipation. For example, L. casei Shirota and B. lactis help more regular bowel movements and improve stool texture. But remember, the effect of probiotics on constipation can be different for everyone. It depends on the cause of your constipation and the type of probiotic you use.

Probiotics usually have 1–10 billion CFUs in them. Experts say it’s good to take them for between 2 weeks and 2 months, depending on how they help. Some people might get a bit of gas or feel sick from probiotics at first. But these problems usually don’t last long.

A study with constipated mice found certain probiotics helped. They included L. acidophilus LA11-Onlly, L. rhamnosus LR22, L. reuteri LE16, L. plantarum LP-Onlly, and B. lactis BI516. These probiotics improved how the mice’s digestive systems worked, affecting things like stool weight and speed.

When dealing with constipation, first try changing your habits or using store-bought remedies. Adding probiotics can be a great, natural way to help your gut along with these strategies. Always talk to a doctor if you have constipation often or it’s very bad.

probiotic gut health

In the end, more and more research shows how good probiotics are for constipation. They can keep the bacteria in your gut in balance, which is a real key to staying regular and healthy.

The Power of Exercise for Constipation Relief

Doing exercise often is a great way to fight constipation. Studies show that moving your body can make constipation less of a problem and helps you go regularly. Even just walking is good. It speeds up digestion and makes it easier to pass stool.

Some exercises, like running, can really get your bowels moving and help with constipation. Keeping up with exercise also lessens bad symptoms of IBS, like constipation. It makes food move through your gut better, so stool is softer and easier to pass.

Light Activities to Promote Bowel Movements

Easy cardio, like walks or bike rides, can help you go regularly and ease constipation. Doctors suggest 150 minutes of this light exercise every week for better digestion. Special exercises for the pelvic floor, like Kegels, can also help. They work especially well for kids, with an 88.4% success rate.

For ongoing constipation, mix in exercise, more fiber, and water for a strong natural solution. A 30-minute walk with warm-up and cool-down is a good routine. Doing this about an hour after eating a big meal can help a lot.

If doing things at home doesn’t help, see a doctor. They might suggest special exercises or medicines for tough or lasting constipation.

Fitting in regular exercise can solve constipation issues. It also boosts overall gut health.

Abdominal Massage for Constipation

Are you facing constipation issues? Trying an abdominal massage might help. This technique involves gently massaging your tummy in a clockwise way. It helps push stool through your gut, making you go more often. Many studies show this massage really does help with constipation. So, it’s a good trick to try for a healthier gut.

This massage is great for people who always have trouble going to the bathroom. It’s also good for those who have health issues. For example, Parkinson’s disease, or trouble moving. It can make you feel less pain and make your gut move waste faster.

There are a few ways to massage your belly for constipation. You could try pulling your knees close to your chest. Or gently squeeze your tummy. You can also use your hands to move from low to high on your belly. These moves help your gut muscles work better.

But, not everyone should try this kind of massage. People with certain gut or health problems should avoid it. It’s best to talk to your doctor before starting this kind of therapy.

Keep in mind that belly massages are just one step towards better gut health. To really fix constipation, you need to eat well, drink enough water, and stay active.

abdominal massage for constipation

Using abdominal massage along with these steps can really help. Talk to your doctor to see what might work best for you.

Over-the-Counter Laxatives: Use with Caution

Changing your lifestyle or using natural ways are the best first steps to ease constipation. But, sometimes, you might need quick help, and that’s where over-the-counter laxatives come in. It’s very important to know about these different laxatives and be careful when using them.

Osmotic Laxatives

Osmotic laxatives, like polyethylene glycol, work by pulling water into the gut to make stool softer. They work well for now and then blockages but might bring things like feeling bloated, cramps, or getting extra thirsty.

Stimulant Laxatives

Others, called stimulant laxatives and using items like senna, make the gut muscles squeeze harder to push out waste. They act fast, but you should only use them as a quick fix. Relying on them too much can cause problems.

Make sure you know how much to take and don’t take them for a long time. They might cause stomach pain, bloating, or loose bowel movements. Some people could even have issues with their body’s salts. Also, if you take other medicines, laxatives might change how well these drugs work, so talk to your doctor first.

Most of the time, you can beat constipation by living healthier, like eating more fiber and drinking a lot of water. Laxatives are for using short term and only under the advice of a health expert to avoid problems. If not used right, or for too long, they could cause even worse health troubles. So, always be careful and listen to the doctors.

Always remember to be careful when using over-the-counter laxatives. Make sure you’re paying attention and caring for your health above all else.

Managing Stress for Better Digestion

Stress impacts your tummy health, making constipation worse. Short-term stress can make you eat less and slow down digestion. Long-term stress can cause bigger stomach issues like constipation, diarrhea, or aches.

Practicing stress relief methods can fight these tummy troubles. It can lessen gut inflammation, soothe GI problems, and help you absorb nutrients better. Here are ways to decrease stress:

  • Physical activity: Doing yoga, walking, or running can make digestion better and ease tummy troubles.
  • Mindful meditation: Deep breathing and mindful meditation cut down on inflammation. This helps an upset stomach feel better.
  • Prebiotic and probiotic foods: Eating fruits and veggies high in inulin and fermented foods is good. They help friendly bacteria in your gut and boost digestion.
  • Avoiding smoking: Smoking raises the chances of gut ulcers, diseases, and cancers. It’s bad for the stomach and digestion.

Managing stress with these tips can really help your gut health. It fights constipation and makes your stomach feel better.

stress and constipation

“Less stress is key to a happy stomach and avoiding constipation. Adding relaxation techniques to your daily life can really help.”

When to Seek Medical Attention

Constipation can often be solved with changes at home. But, you should see a doctor if it doesn’t get better or gets worse. After 65, constipation risk rises. This is due to slower metabolism and weaker digestive muscles. Hormone changes from pregnancy can make things harder, too.

If you have chronic or severe constipation, talking to a doctor is a good idea. Each year, around 2.5 million Americans see their doctor for this issue. Also, certain drugs and medications can be the cause. So, your doctor might need to check this out.

Your doctor may do several tests to find the problem. These could be blood, stool, and urine tests, or even a colonoscopy. If simpler solutions don’t work, they might suggest stronger meds, like Lubiprostone or Linaclotide. Sometimes, surgery is needed for issues like colon blockages.

If constipation lasts more than 3 weeks, see a doctor. This is to make sure it’s not a symptom of a bigger problem.

“Constipation is a very common problem, and I see patients for constipation every single day in my clinic,” says Dr. Neeharika Kalakota, a gastroenterologist at Houston Methodist.

Dr. Kalakota notes that having three bowel movements a day to three a week is normal. The daily fiber goal is about 25 to 35 grams, but most Americans get only 15. Chronic constipation means it lasts over four weeks. To help, increase fiber and water in your diet.

  1. If constipation lasts over 3 weeks, see a doctor.
  2. Some drugs can cause constipation, so your doctor might need to change your medicine.
  3. Tests like blood and imaging tests can find what’s causing your bad constipation.
  4. If the usual fixes don’t work, you might need stronger meds like Lubiprostone.
  5. For very severe cases, surgery could be needed to fix certain issues.

To avoid constipation, eat a lot of fiber, move regularly, and drink enough water. And don’t wait if your constipation is serious or doesn’t stop.

Preventing Constipation: Lifestyle Changes

The best way to beat constipation is to stop it before it starts. You can do this by changing what you eat and moving more. These changes will keep your stomach happy and make constipation less likely.

Dietary Modifications

Eating more fiber is key to avoid constipation. Adults need about 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day. Good sources of fiber are dried figs, prunes, and Asian pears. Raspberries and apples are also great choices.

Cooked broccoli and carrots are high in fiber too. Don’t forget baked potatoes with the skin, cooked peas, and sun-dried tomatoes. Drink plenty of water because too little can make you constipated.

Regular Exercise Routine

Being active also keeps constipation away. If you’re not active, especially when you’re older, you might get constipated. Walking, yoga, or swimming are good exercises to help you go to the bathroom regularly.

Try to go to the bathroom 20 to 30 minutes after you eat. This uses your natural body movements to help with digestion.

So, remember to eat right, exercise, and drink water to fight constipation and keep your gut healthy. But, if you’re still having problems or feel really bad, talk to a doctor.

exercise for digestive health

Conclusion

In conclusion, many natural ways help with summary of natural constipation remedies. They boost regular bowel movements. A diet full of fiber and lots of water, plus exercise, can help. Adding herbal remedies to your routine can also make a big difference. In the U.S., about 16 out of every 100 adults deal with constipation. And, around 33 out of every 100 adults over 60 face these issues. This problem is more common in women, especially during or after pregnancy. It’s also more likely for non-Caucasians to have constipation. Not eating enough fiber is a key factor in getting constipated.

Some special fibers, like psyllium, and probiotics can fight constipation. Coffee with caffeine helps some people stay regular. Being active also lowers the chance of constipation. Senna, a plant that acts as a laxative, can work fast, making you go in as little as 6 to 12 hours.

Always talk to a doctor if constipation doesn’t get better. Follow these digestive health tips every day to keep constipation away. Good digestive health means feeling well overall.

FAQ

What is constipation and what are the common causes?

Constipation means you have trouble going to the bathroom regularly. This issue can be from not eating enough fiber, not drinking enough water, or not moving around much. Also, some medicines and health problems can make it hard to poop.

How can increasing fiber intake help relieve constipation?

Eating more foods full of fiber is a great way to help constipation. Fiber makes your poop bigger and softer, so it’s easier to pass through. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, and nuts are all good sources of fiber.

Fiber makes your poop bigger and softer, so it’s easier to pass through.

Why is proper hydration important for preventing and relieving constipation?

Drinking enough water is key to keeping your bowels moving smoothly. Water helps make your poop soft and easy to pass. Try to drink at least 8 cups of water every day.

What are some effective home remedies for constipation relief?

There are several things you can try at home for constipation. Prune juice and dried prunes can make your bowels move. Olive oil helps by making things slick. Also, some teas, like senna tea, can act as a gentle laxative.

How can probiotics and exercise help with constipation?

Probiotics are good for your gut and can help keep things regular. You can find them in certain foods or as supplements. Moving your body, like through exercise, can also keep your digestive system working well.

When should you seek medical attention for constipation?

If constipation sticks around even after trying home treatments, it might be time to see a doctor. A health professional can check for serious problems and suggest the best way to treat your constipation.

How can you prevent constipation in the long run?

To keep constipation away, focus on what you eat, drink, and how much you move. Boosting your fiber and water intake, along with regular exercise, is the best plan. This way, you help your body stay regular and healthy.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get our Well Researched Health Guide Direct to Your Inbox

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time. Read our simple Privacy Policy.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for educational purposes only, always check with your medical doctor before stopping any prescription medications or when implementing any dietary and lifestyle changes.
References

Healthlyious has strict sourcing guidelines, believes in trustworthy and reliable sources, and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, medical journal publications, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

Disclosure

We include products or services we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our Affiliate Disclosure