Constipation is the most common digestive problem in America, affecting more than 2.5 million people each day. It’s defined as having hard, dry bowel movements, or going fewer than three times a week. Taking laxatives long term can lead to serious dehydration and other health issues. So today instead of taking laxatives and having more hopeless trips to the bathroom, we will be discussing natural remedies for constipation.
Let’s get moving! (Haha get it? It was a digestion joke.)
Drink More Water
One of the easiest natural remedies for constipation is to simply drink more water. Many people become constipated when their colon becomes dehydrated.
Doctors say that everyone should be consuming at least 8 glasses of water every day. If you’re an active person, you should be drinking even more water to make up for sweating and exercise.
Personally between running all over the house and taking each dog on a mile walk, I drink almost 2 gallons of water a day!
When your body is fully hydrated, it no longer needs to draw extra water out of the colon to keep the rest of your body running.
If you hate the taste of plain water, try making fruit water by using this fruit infusing water pitcher, where you can make your own delicious fruit water!
Some people say that drinking coffee will help constipation as well. However even though caffeine can stimulate muscle contractions in your intestines, caffeine is also dehydrating, which is the opposite of what you want if you’re trying to use the bathroom.
So make sure to choose water over any other beverage when having issues with constipation.
If you love fruits and veggies, chances are you’re already full of fiber.
There are two different kinds of fiber that you need in order to fight and eliminate constipation. The first is soluble fiber, which helps you absorb the nutrients from your food and delegate it throughout the body.
The second is insoluble fiber. This kind of fiber adds bulk to your stool, which helps it pass through your system more quickly.
Some fruits and veggies that are high in fiber include:
- Split Peas
- Black Beans
- Bran Cereal
- Brussel Sprouts
After seven years of running track & field, I can personally attest that exercise is one of the best natural remedies for constipation.
In a nutshell, exercise gets your body moving and helps your stomach and intestines process food faster. In addition, exercises that get your breathing and heart rate up naturally stimulate contractions in your large intestines, helping you pass stools more easily.
Make sure to wait at least one hour after a large meal to begin exercising, otherwise your blood flow will go towards helping the heart and muscles exercise instead of helping the intestines contract.
I like to wait about an hour after dinner to do a small walk outside to help process my food and avoid feeling overly full at bedtime.
If you’re looking for short term natural remedies for constipation, taking Senna may work for you.
Senna is an herb, and it’s leaves and fruit are used to make teas and medicines that help with issues like IBS, hemorrhoids, weight loss, and constipation.
The reason Senna works for constipation is that it has natural chemicals called sennosides, which irritate the lining of the bowels, causing a laxative effect.
I’d recommend this brand, and you can see the reviews for yourself that this is a great holistic product. It is an FDA approved over the counter medicine that you can buy, and is used often by doctors to help clear a patient’s bowels before a colonoscopy.
The American Herbal Products Association warns against long term use of the Senna leaves, but says that long term use of the fruit is fine.
If you’ve read any of my other blog posts about health, I’m sure I’ve talked about prebiotics and probiotics and how beneficial they are to your overall health.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that when eaten will keep any bad bacteria in check. Prebiotics are basically food for the probiotics to thrive on.
Taking probiotics can save you from all sorts of problems from constipation, IBS, leaky gut, vaginal health, hormonal imbalances, and so much more!
The trick is finding good probiotics that actually work. After years of trial and error I found that BioSchwartz’s Prebiotics and Probiotics work for me. The probiotics work just fine on their own but I also like to take the prebiotics just as a precaution in case I miss a day of taking my probiotics to avoid any tummy upset.
Though there are no official studies confirming that coconut oil works for constipation, I’m putting it on the list because I have used it for both myself and my dogs when there was an issue with constipation.
Coconut oil is a natural antibacterial and like probiotics, it also helps kill off bad bacteria in the stomach and keeps good bacteria in check. When the tummy is healthy, everything after it also has a better chance at staying healthy and running smoothly.
I’m sure if you asked my dog Cali about that time she didn’t poop for six days, she would tell you how much the coconut oil helped her. (She went potty about 2 hours after eating a spoonful of coconut oil.)
My grandmother always used prune juice and I still believe it is one of the most effective natural remedies for constipation.
Prunes are dried plums. Prunes are naturally high in fiber, but when made into a juice much of that fiber is lost. What is left in the juice is sorbitol, magnesium, and potassium. Together these act as a natural laxative and will have you going to the bathroom very quickly.
Don’t plan on leaving your house for a few hours after drinking this stuff. You’re going to want to stay near a bathroom.
Low FODMAP Diet
If constipation is something that you’ve been struggling with for a long time, you should consider making a significant change in your diet.
A low FODMAP diet is a diet low in fermentable carbs and is a diet that is recommended by doctors for people who suffer from stomach problems like constipation and IBS.
People who switch to this diet can see improved digestive health and an overall better quality of life. If you want to learn more about this diet and how it may help you, check out this beginner’s guide.
Constipation seems to be an epidemic in America, affecting millions of us each day. Between our processed diets and unhealthy stress levels, it’s no wonder why this is becoming a major health problem in America.
But with these natural remedies for constipation now under your belt, you can now conquer your digestion issues the way your body wants you to, the holistic way!
Do you have any natural remedies for constipation that work for you? Let me know in the comments!