Being constipated is one of the common gastrointestinal problems faced by most of us at least once in our lifetime. When a person doesn’t have a bowel movement for 3 days then he/she is considered constipated.
If the bowel is present in our intestine for longtime, the colon will absorb the water from it. This makes the bowel movement difficult and painful. Less fiber content in food, lack of physical activity, dehydration, medication and excessive intake of calcium can trigger constipation.
Usually, we try over the counter laxatives to treat constipation but long term usage can make the person dependent on them. This the reason why many people use home remedies like olive oil, prunes, baking soda to treat constipation at home. In this article, let’s learn about olive oil in detail.
Is Olive Oil Good in Treating Constipation? A glance over the facts
A study was conducted by scientists from Spain in 2006. As per the study published by them, they have surveyed over 414 individuals with age over 55 years old. 97.7% people were given olive oil to treat constipation while 2.7% people were given laxatives for the same.
The results published by them in the year 2007 said, “the participants who took extra virgin olive oil have seen an improvement in bowel movements”. So it is proved that olive oil is helpful.
Why is Olive Oil helpful to Provide Relief from Constipation?
- Olive oil acts as a laxative which lubricates the bowel and provides moisture to the stools which make it easy to move through the colon.
- The monounsaturated fats present in it improve the bowel evacuation speed.
- Olive oil strengthens the mucus lining of the colon which has weakened or works down due to constipation.
- It stimulates the muscle contraction of large intestine to make it easy for the stools to pass through the passage.
- It is rich in vitamin E and K, antioxidants, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which help to boost the health of digestive tract.
- It encourages gallbladder to release bile which is important for fat digestion. Apart from that, it encourages the digestive enzymes production to improve the digestion.
- The liver produces bile in our body. Olive inhibits the after effects of oxidative stress that affects the bile production in the liver. This helps in maintaining the bile production adequate enough for digestion.
- Olive oil stays stable in very acidic environments like the ones caused by helicobacter pylori bacteria which can trigger cancer and stomach ulcers (constipation is one of the symptoms of these diseases).
How to Use Olive Oil for Constipation:
There are different ways of using olive oil alone or in combination to treat constipation. We have included them below with a detailed description.
Olive Oil for Constipation in Adults
1. Olive Oil
Drinking olive oil is one of the easiest ways to treat constipation. If you are constantly prone to constipation then you can follow this process regularly until you get relief from constipation.
- Consume 1 tablespoon of olive oil on an empty stomach in the morning and repeat the same before going to bed as well.
- Follow this method daily for a week or more until you get relief.
Note: If you have forgotten to drink it on an empty stomach in the morning then you can drink it 1 hour after having the breakfast.
2. Olive Oil Laxative drink for constipation
In this process, you can add olive oil to another ingredient which also has the properties to prevent constipation. Before looking into the process, let’s have a look at what you mix olive oil with.
- Milk: The combination of warm milk and olive oil helps to loosen the hard stools. It also moistens the colon making it easy for the stools to pass freely.
- Coffee: Olive oil can be added to your morning coffee which acts as a laxative. This process helps to cleanse the colon after drinking the concoction. It loosens and moistens the stools to makes pass easily through the colon.
- Fruit or Vegetable Juice: You can add olive oil in any fruit or vegetable juice. Choose vegetables or fruits that are rich in fiber. Fiber bulks up the stools which stimulates bowel movements while the olive oil moistens the colon.
- Parsley Juice: Parsley is known to be a potent colon cleanser as it flushes out the harmful toxins from the digestive system. It stimulates the bowel movement and forces the gut to pass the stools.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil with any of the above ingredients.
- Drink it on an empty stomach or before going to bed.
- Repeat the process whenever required.
3. Olive Oil with Lemon
Lemon contains high acid content which helps to move the things in the colon. The combination of lemon and olive oil prevents the dryness in the colon which helps the stools to move easily.
- Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
- Consume it on before going to bed.
- Repeat regularly.
4. Olive Oil with Yogurt
If you are suffering from constipation due to bacteria in the gut then this method is for you. Fight it with some probiotics like yogurt which contains good bacteria and strengthens the mucus lining of the colon. This helps to treat severe constipation and its symptoms.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a cup of yogurt.
- Stir well and consume it.
- Repeat the process 3 times in a day.
5. Olive Oil with Fibrous Fruits
For this process, you can use any fruits that are rich in fiber. Fruits that rich in fiber are apple, pineapple, pear, peach, raspberries or oranges. As banana helps in proper digestion and bulking up a stool, it can also be used.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil on 1 or 2 cups of chopped fruit or fruit salad.
- Eat it on an empty stomach daily.
- Repeat the process daily.
6. Olive Oil with Black pepper and Garlic
By following this process, you will make a paste. You can add this paste to the fiber-rich vegetable salads or meats and poultry on daily basis.
- Combine 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 – 3 teaspoons Curcuma powder, a pinch of black pepper and 1 garlic clove (crushed).
- Mix the ingredients well and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
7. Olive Oil Massage
If you are not a fan of the olive taste, then you can just massage it to get relief from constipation. The skin absorbs the olive oil and the massage reduces the pain and discomfort caused by hard stools.
- Pour 4 – 5 drops of olive oil near the navel on the stomach.
- Massage gently in circular motions for 5 minutes or until the skin absorbs the oil completely.
- Repeat the process twice in a day.
8. Olive Oil Enema
If none of the remedies work, then the last resort is to try an enema. It has to be performed under the strict supervision of a health professional. Enema is a process where it is pumped into the colon which softens the stools and speeds up the bowel movements.
- To 1.5 liters of warm water, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Pour the solution into enema pump.
- Under the strict supervision of qualified professional, pump the solution into the colon through anus.
- Wait for 10 minutes to let the enema solution work.
Note: This process should not be followed on regularly. Enema is only prescribed to people with severe constipation.
Olive for Constipation in Children
Children often get constipated if their diet doesn’t include fiber. To avoid potty training, kids often hold in the stools which accumulate in the intestines. This makes the stools dilate and painful while passing. Olive oil is also very helpful in treating constipation in kids and toddlers. Olive oil helps to encourage gallbladder to release bile which acts as a natural laxative.
- Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil into fiber-rich fruits or vegetable juice or pear sauce and feed them in the morning on an empty stomach. You can feed meals prepared with olive oil during lunch and dinner.
- If your child is more than 6 months, then drizzle olive oil over their food or use it while cooking. You can add 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil for every 2 ounces of food. Feeding more than this limit can cause diarrhea. Few supermarkets supply olive oil specially formulated for kids. You can also use them as they contain mild flavor and less acidity which makes it easy for kids to digest.
- Massage few drops of olive oil on your baby’s stomach. This helps to loosen the muscles near intestine and reduce the pain.
- Follow the process regularly to improve bowel movements.
Side Effects of Olive Oil for Constipation:
Even though olive oil helps in providing relief from constipation, there are some reports that claim the negative effects of olive oil with prolonged use. Below are the side effects and risk factors…
- As olive oil contains a lot of calories (120 calories in 1 tablespoon), you may put on weight if used for longtime without keeping an eye on calories.
- Our body can handle small doses of olive oil but large doses of olive oil can lead to diarrhea. So, it is better to stick with the quantities mentioned in the article.
- People with diabetes and other chronic conditions should speak to their doctor before trying out olive oil for constipation. Regular usage of olive oil can decrease your sugar levels.
- Avoid giving olive oil for constipation in babies or newborns as it can lead to non-stop diarrhea in them.
Tips to Treat and Prevent Constipation:
Olive alone cannot treat or prevent constipation completely. You should follow certain dietary and lifestyle changes. Read on to know…
- Which olive oil to use for home remedies? In order to receive effective results, it is better to use cold compressed extra virgin oil for all home remedies.
- Dietary Changes: Low fiber diet is one of the reasons for constipation. Add fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and green leafy vegetables in daily diet. Foods rich in vitamin C are also helpful in treating constipation.
- Olive Oil for Cooking: Using olive oil for your regular cooking or drizzling it on salads helps to maintain your bowel movement normal.
- Stay Hydrated: Lack of moisture hardens the stools which are caused due to constipation. Drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day at regular intervals. In addition to it, you can also drink up to 3 glasses of fruit or vegetable juice. You can also consume fruits and vegetable rich in water content to stay hydrated.
- Avoid Foods that Trigger Constipation: Cut down foods and drinks that cause constipation. Processed foods, fried foods, and foods that contain high amounts of fat, refined sugars and artificial additives should be avoided.
- Maintain Proper Weight: If you are obese, then it might be a reason for your constipation. If you are overweight as per your height then it is time to shrink some inches to get rid of constipation.
- Avoid Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol dehydrates the body and worsens the condition so it is better to avoid it at least till constipation is cured.
- Physical Exercise: Lack of physical exercise is often the main reason for constipation. So make sure to do some stretches or walking to improve bowel movements.
- Squats in Toilets: Squatting is considered the natural position to pass the stools. When you have an issue passing the stools, consider squatting over the toilet and check if it works.
- Bowel Movement Schedule: Our body can adapt a time schedule to pass the stools. Visit the bathroom in order to empty the bowl movements at a particular time every day. This makes your body adapt to the time schedule and trigger bowel movements at the same time daily.
- Replace the Medication that Trigger Constipation: If you observe dealing with constipation after taking certain medications then ask your doctor to lower the dose and change the medication.
Olive oil is helpful in treating mild cases of constipation. But even prolonged use of olive oil is not helping then you should consult your doctor, as sometimes it can be due to serious health conditions like lupus, colon cancer or others.
Did you try olive oil to get relief from constipation earlier? Do you have any other remedies that work better than this? Share your experience and suggestions in the comments section below.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Long Does it Take for Olive Oil to Relieve Constipation or Make You Poop?
You should start a bowel movement within few hours. If you don’t see any movement then repeat the process again. If you haven’t seen any improvement with the second dosage then stop the process and try different methods like castor oil or prunes. Or else you can consult a doctor.
What is the Dosage of Olive Oil for Constipation?
Apart from cooking your meals with it, you can drink 1 tablespoon of olive oil once in the morning and 1 hour after the dinner. Avoid consuming in large quantities of olive oil as it can trigger diarrhea. For kids and toddlers, you the dosage is 1 – 3 teaspoons.