32 Home Remedies for Constipation
Constipation is an incredibly common problem and most of us will experience it at several times in our lives. In fact, it’s thought to affect approximately twenty percent of Americans each year. Luckily, home remedies for constipation can help to prevent and cure this common ailment.
Most doctors define constipation as fewer than three bowel movements a week. However, it can also be identified by a series of other symptoms including discomfort when pooping due to hard stools, abdominal bloating, and/or pain and difficulty passing dry or hard stools.
Constipation can be brought on by a number of factors including your diet, lifestyle habits, medications or pre-existing conditions. One of the most common causes is a lack of fiber in the diet.
Home Remedies for Constipation
Whilst constipation can be uncomfortable and affect a number of aspects of your life, there are plenty of things you can try at home to relieve the condition. Many of these home remedies for constipation involve dietary changes.
If you’re regularly dehydrated you probably have a greater risk of constipation. To prevent this from happening it’s important to drink plenty. Water is your best option, and you may find sparkling water really helps to rehydrate your body and stimulate a bowel movement. In fact, some studies have found that sparkling water might be more effective than tap water in helping to relieve constipation. However, carbonated drinks like sugary soda won’t help as much. They’re bad for your general health and could actually make your constipation worse. It is especially important to avoid caffeinated drinks for this reason.
If you’re constipated, you’ll probably be told by many people that you need to increase your fiber intake. This is because fiber helps to bulk out your bowel movements, giving stools a better consistency. As a result, this makes them easier to pass and is, therefore, a handy home remedy for constipation.
However, you need to make sure you’re increasing your intake of soluble and not insoluble fibers. Insoluble fibers, like those found in wheat bran and whole grain bulk out your stools and make them harder to pass. Enjoy natural fibers found in fruit instead.
Studies on the effect of exercise on constipation have shown mixed results. But recent studies have shown that exercise can significantly reduce the symptoms of constipation, even if it doesn’t necessarily help to encourage bowel movements. If you’re experiencing constipation or any of the symptoms, try going for a gentle walk.
Coffee stimulates the muscles in your digestive system and can, therefore, increase the urge to go to the bathroom. It, therefore, acts as a gentle, natural laxative which can work as an effective home remedy for coffee. However, it’s best to only drink a cup or two. Drinking too much caffeine can make constipation worse.
Coffee is also a good source of soluble fibers that improve the balance of good bacteria in your gut and therefore helps to ease constipation further.
Senna is an herbal laxative which is often recommended as a home remedy for constipation. It is packed full of plant compounds which help to stimulate the nerves in your gut. As a result, it’s able to speed up your bowel movements and help you pass stool quicker. It’s advised that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding don’t take Senna as it could potentially cause inflammation and complications.
Probiotics make an effective home remedy for constipation. This is because the condition is often linked to an imbalance of healthy bacteria in the gut and probiotics helps to rectify this inequality. They also encourage the production of lactic acid and healthy fats which help to improve movement in your gut and make it easier to pass stools. It can even help to improve the consistency of your stools, which equally makes them easier to pass.
You can get more probiotics into your diet by consuming more yogurts which contain live bacteria which are good for you. You could also opt for a probiotic supplement.
A Low-FODMAP Diet
Whilst it can come with its own symptoms, constipation can actually be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Eating a low-FODMAP diet, which is a diet that is low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, can help to combat your constipation.
Undergoing this diet involves limiting your intake of high-FODMAP foods for a set time before reintroducing them one by one over a period of time. This can help you determine which foods are ones you are intolerant too and therefore helps you identify which ones might be triggering your constipation.
Shirataki noodles contain a compound called glucomannan which is a type of soluble fiber. As we know, soluble fibers can greatly help to ease constipation and its symptoms and studies have shown that shirataki noodles can have the same positive effect. As well as aiding your bowel movement, the glucomannan in shirataki noodles has a probiotic effect, balancing the level of good bacteria in your cut. If you can’t find any shirataki noodles, you may be able to use a glucomannan supplement instead.
Prebiotic foods contain fibers which are great for aiding digestion as they feed the good bacteria in your gut and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. This can help to improve the frequency of your bowel movements and make your stools softer and easier to pass. Good prebiotic foods to include in your daily diet include bananas, onion, and garlic.
Magnesium citrate makes a popular home remedy for constipation as it is a gentle, natural laxative that can be easily attained. In fact, the substance if often given to patients in order to clean out the bowel before surgical procedures.
Prunes and prune juice are often recommended as home remedies for constipation. Not only are they packed full of fiber, but they also contain a compound call sorbitol, which is a natural laxative. Try consuming 50 grams of prunes twice a day to ease your constipation.
However, if you suffer from IBS prunes may be a home remedy to avoid as they are well-known FODMAPs and can often trigger IBS in some people.
Try Skipping Dairy
Some people find that their constipation is caused by the effects of a dairy intolerance on their gut movements. If you think you might have a dairy intolerance, try cutting back on cheese, milk and other dairy products and see if this improves your condition. Make sure you’re still getting enough calcium though as this is crucial for healthy digestion.
Get Your Positioning Right
Our ancestors didn’t evolve using a toilet in the way we do. Instead, they would squat when pooping. This would have created what many believe to be the optimum angle for bowel movements as it brings your knees above your hips and reduces straining. To replicate this position when you use the toilet, try resting your feet on a small stool.
Getting plenty of vitamin C is often crucial to healthy digestion and the balance of bacteria in your gut. Try introducing more vitamin C into your diet or take a daily vitamin C supplement and see if this helps reduce your constipation. To include more vitamin C in your diet naturally, try eating more fruits.
Sesame seeds are regularly recommended as a home remedy for constipation. Their oily composition moisturizes your intestines, which can help if you’re struggling with dry stools. They also work as a relief from some of the discomforts of constipation. Try adding the seeds to cereals or to salads. You could also grind them in a coffee grinder and use the resulting powder to season your food.
Taking a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses before bed could help to ease your constipation overnight so that you feel better in the morning. It’s a super-fast and effective home remedy for constipation.
Mint tea is well known for its positive effects on your digestive function. This is because of its high menthol content which acts as an antispasmodic, relaxing the muscles in your gut and making it easier to pass stools.
Ginger tea is another great home remedy for constipation. It not only helps to ease digestion but also helps to combat the feeling of sluggishness that can come as a result of feeling bloated and constipated.
Healthy fats can be found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados. They make a great home remedy for constipation as they help to moisturize and lubricate your intestines, making it easier to pass stools which may be dry or hard.
Lemon juice contains high levels of citric acid which stimulates your digestive system and flushes toxins from your body. This makes it a great constipation relief. To use, squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon into a glass of water each morning as a refreshing morning drink. This will not only aid any existing constipation but will also improve long-term digestion if done every day.
Raisins are both high in fiber and tartaric acid. Fiber helps to improve your digestion and bowel movement whilst the tartaric acids works as a gentle laxative. Studies have suggested that eating four and a half ounces of raisins each day could help speed up digestion and relieve constipation, as well as preventing further instances
Castor Oil is a home remedy for constipation which has been used for generations. This is thanks to its laxative qualities. Taking one or two teaspoons of the oil should clear up your constipation in a matter of eight hours! This is because the oil contains a component which stimulates both your small and large intestines, speeding up and easing digestion.
Biofeedback therapy is often suggested for people whose constipation is caused by pelvic floor dysfunction. This is a condition which stops the pelvic floor muscles from functioning correctly. The therapy involves retraining your body to better coordinate your muscles for defecation. Studies have suggested that the therapy could really help to ease any chronic or recurring constipation over the course of six months, with the benefits lasting for up to two years.
Acupressure is a traditional healing practice where finger pressure is applied to various pressure points on the body. It’s slightly similar to acupuncture but uses fingers to create apply pressure, rather than very thin needles. It’s often advised against during pregnancy, however.
To use acupressure to ease constipation you’ll need to apply pressure to the highest spot of the muscle between your thumb and index finger once they’ve been brought close together. Use your thumb or middle finger to apply gradually increasing pressure to this point, keeping your finger at a ninety-degree angle to the skin. Don’t apply too much pressure though, it shouldn’t cause you any pain or discomfort if you’re doing it right.
Prune, apple, or pear juices are full of natural sugars which are poorly absorbed by the body. These sugars then pass through the intestine unabsorbed and hold water in your poop. Around two to four ounces of fruit juice, a day should help clear constipation in babies, while four to six ounces will help older children and adults.
Studies suggest that consuming a tablespoon or two of coconut oil every day can act as a great home remedy for constipation. This is because it helps to lubricate your intestines. You can either swallow the oil on its own or include it in your morning coffee. You could even blend it with some vinegar to create a tasty salad dressing.
Psyllium is a soluble fiber that’s great for aiding digestion and easing constipation. It comes from the husks of certain flowering plants. Unlike other fibers, such as those in wheat bran, for example, psyllium is less irritating and is far gentler, whilst still helping to bulk up your stools.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress is often a risk factor for developing IBS and can also cause pre-existing IBS to flare up, resulting in a bout of constipation. Try to ease your stress by avoiding stressful situations or develop better-coping techniques.
You could try yoga or meditation or simply listen to calming music or going for a walk. Good relaxation techniques can help to ease tension and pressure on your gut and relieve constipation. This is hardly surprising when you consider that your colon is partly controlled by your nervous system and therefore heavily affected by stress.
Cascara Sagrada (Buckthorn)
Buckthorn (also known as Cascara Sagrada) is a popular herbal laxative which can be extracted from the bark of buckthorn trees. It helps to ease constipation by irritating your colon and triggering it to promote bowel movements. Overuse can cause damage to your liver though so it’s best to treat this as a very short-term remedy.
While it may make a nice dessert, rhubarb is also known for its laxative effects, making it a common home remedy for constipation.
Slippery elm has been used as a home remedy for constipation for generations. It helps to stimulate the nerves in your digestive system and triggers the production of mucus. As a result, it helps to relieve constipation.
Dandelion tea has gentle laxative qualities and acts as a detoxifier. Together, these properties make it a potent home remedy for constipation.
Which of these home remedies will you try the next time you’re constipated? Comment below!