Having a hard time with your bowels? You are not alone. Constipation is one of the common gastrointestinal problems, affecting 20% of American population resulting in 6.3 million doctor visits each year. (1, 2)
NIDDK also declared that almost $725 million yearly are spent alone on laxatives. Surprising isn’t it?
Most of us look out a quick fixes that is the reason why laxatives are in high demand. But the reality is – these products actually do more harm than good.
But don’t worry, we have a good news for you – constipation is often preventable with natural home remedies that can improve bowel functioning.
Before unveiling the home remedies, first let me explain you about how constipation occurs, what caused constipation and others so that you can understand your problem well.
Understanding helps you to analyze which ingredient or solution works better. However, if you want to skip the detailed stuff, you can jump to home remedies section using the table below…
- 1 Why Constipation Occurs?
- 2 Different Types of Constipation
- 3 A Detailed Overview of Constipation Causes
- 4 How to Know If You Are Constipated or Not?
- 5 How to Cure Constipation?
- 6 Supplements that Relieve Constipation
- 7 Other Tips that Resolve Constipation
- 8 Foods To Avoid While Constipated
- 9 How Constipation Affects Our Body?
- 10 Can Constipation Lead to Other Serious Complications?
- 11 When Should A Person Reach Out for Doctor?
- 12 Causes of Constipation
- 13 Natural Constipation Remedies
- 14 The Best Way To Prevent Constipation
- 15 1. Water:
- 16 2. Fiber Rich Foods:
- 17 3. Best Fruits for Constipation:
- 18 4. Dried Fruits for Constipation:
- 19 5. Vegetables for Constipation:
- 20 6. Seeds for Constipation:
- 21 7. Whole Grains:
- 22 8. Oils for Constipation:
- 23 9. Nuts:
- 24 10. Yogurt:
- 25 11. Tea’s for Constipation:
- 26 12. Lentils:
- 27 13. Honey:
- 28 Tips to Prevent Constipation:
- 29 Conclusion
Why Constipation Occurs?
When we consume food, our digestive system breaks it down to help our body absorb all the essential nutrients and water from it.
But our digestive system cannot break all the food we have eaten. So the food that is not digested and food leftovers after absorbing the nutrients form into a stool (poop).
Now, the intestine muscles push the stool through colon and out of the rectum. This process is natural and common.
But when the colon muscles are not contracting properly then the stool stays in it for a longer period of time. During this time, the colon absorbs the water from the feces making it hard and dry. Thus defecation becomes painful and less. (3)
As per National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a person is considered constipated if he/she has less than 3 bowel movement in a week or hard and small movements that are painful and difficult to pass. (4)
Different Types of Constipation
Constipation is categorized into two different types – organic and functional constipation.
Organic Constipation occurs due to abnormalities in the anal or colon segments which include anal stenosis, bowel obstruction, anal atresia, anal fissures, spinal cord disorders and many others. (5)
A medical intervention is required for this type of constipation.
Functional Constipation occurs due to diet habits, lack of exercise, food allergies, dehydration, high stress levels, improper bowel style and lifestyle.
Functional constipation is the most common one which can be treated with home remedies, dietary changes, lifestyles and drinking plenty of water.
A Detailed Overview of Constipation Causes
When you are suffering from constipation, there can be several reasons resulting it which often take place in GI tract. Here are several factors that might be the reason for constipation. (6)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: If you have IBS symptoms then it can often attribute to persistent constipation along with other symptoms.
- Poor Diet: Food that is rich in refined carbohydrates, alcohol, sugar, synthetic additives and unhealthy fats makes it hard to produce normal bowel movements.
- Stress: A rise in stress levels leads to hormone and neurotransmitter production which can directly influence overall digestive functioning, muscle tension and inflammation.
- Magnesium Deficiency: Magnesium helps with normal muscle functioning. Low levels of magnesium can lead to muscle tension and worsen emotional stress symptoms.
- Imbalance in Intestinal Flora: A healthy GI tract contains healthy bacteria which help to regulate bowel functioning.
- Certain Medications: Few medications like calcium, iron supplements, narcotics, anticonvulsants, antacids, antidepressants and anticholinergics can lead to constipation.
- Thyroid or Hormonal Problems: Eating disorders, PMS, diabetes, thyroid disorders and menopause can contribute to constipation. Other diseases which can contribute to spinal injuries, neurological issues and Parkinson’s disease.
- Lack of Physical Activity: Exercising boosts blood flow, strengthens muscles within digestive tract and reduces stress levels. All these factors can help with easing constipation.
- Age: Sometimes, people in old age loose interest in eating food, which leads to lack of fiber and calories that therefore affects digestion process. (7)
- Bad Bathroom Habits: Sitting in an uncomfortable position on the toilet, rushing the time in bathroom can often lead to constipation.
- Poor Sleep: Improper lifestyle, jet lag and travelling can lead to poor sleep which can have direct impact on our digestive system which can often lead to constipation.
How to Know If You Are Constipated or Not?
Mostly, a person can simply understand when he is suffering from constipation. However, we would like to explain the symptoms just in case if you are not sure. You can analyze whether you are constipated or not if you are experiencing the following…
- Fewer than 3 bowel movement in a week
- Hard, dry and possible lumpy stools
- Painful and difficult bowel movements
- You have to put extra pressure to push the stools out
- Feeling of unemptied bowels after passing the stool
How to Cure Constipation?
Instead of just depending on commercial laxatives, you can use many home remedies to cure constipation. However, if you are not able to resolve the problem after trying home remedies then a medical intervention is necessary.
DIY laxatives to Treat Constipation
Prunes are considered as an effective natural laxative which contains high amounts of fiber and sorbitol. (8)
Sorbitol is a natural carbohydrate which is not easily digested. It helps to soften the stool by drawing a lot of water from the intestines and bulking up the stool.
How to Use?
- Drink 8 oz of prune juice in the morning and another before going to bed.
- Alternatively, consume a lot of prunes instead of juice.
Note: Too much consumption of prune or sorbitol can lead to diarrhea, bloating and stomach gas.
The citric acid present in lemon improves your digestion process, helps to flush out toxins as well as undigested materials that have built up along the colon walls.
How to Use?
- Into a cup of warm water, add freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon.
- The best time to consume it is on an empty stomach in the morning.
Note: You can add honey to improve the taste of the solution. As per some studies, honey works as mild laxative. Instead of honey, you can also use salt because it contains magnesium which encourages contraction of bowel muscles and it also helps to flush out toxins from the small intestine.
3. Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is rich in high doses of potassium and magnesium which are effective in combating constipation.
Molasses works fairly quick moistening the hard stools by drawing water into the bowels. Being alkaline it allows the intestines to regulate digestion and form proper stools.
Blackstrap molasses is rich in
- Manganese – helpful in regulating nervous system
- Calcium – remove waste and other toxins from the colon
- Vitamin B6 – regulates nerves, blood sugar and brain functioning
- Iron – iron present in blackstrap molasses doesn’t lead to constipation
- Copper – prevents cancer causing free radicals
How to Use?
- Consume 1 – 2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses by mixing it in warm water, organic apple cider vinegar, or juice.
- Follow this remedy for weeks at a time.
For babies with constipation and gas pain…
- Add 1 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses in 1 ounce of boiled water.
- Give them this solution 3 times in a day before their regular feedings.
Things to Notice: Make sure to use only organic blackstrap molasses to prevent sulfate consumption.
4. Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil contains laxative and antidiarrheal properties which are even proved by many researchers and studies. (11)
Flaxseed oil coats the intestine walls and stools which increases the bowel movements number you are having. You can boost its effectiveness by adding it to orange juice. Because oranges have a good number of fiber in them.
How to Use?
- Add 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil into a glass of orange juice.
- Consume it and wait for at least 5 hours to start its job.
- Drink as needed but avoid over-doing it.
5. Aloe Vera
The aloe vera has laxative properties due to the presence of anthraquinone glycosides. A group of 28 individuals were given aloe vera for treating chronic and normal constipation which has shown promising results (12)
It is always better to use pure aloe vera gel straight from the plant. However, if don’t have the plant at home then probably you can use commercial aloe vera juice.
How to Use?
- Add 2 tablespoons of pure aloe vera gel into a glass of water or juice.
- Consume it in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Alternatively, you can drink 1 cup of aloe vera juice.
- Repeat as necessary.
6. Baking Soda
The versatile baking soda also works for constipation and tummy aches. It pretty much works 95% of the time.
It re-alkalizes the stomach, neutralizes the acid, encourages the air to come out in one or other way and helps things to pass through the gut.
How to Use?
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/4 cup of warm water.
- Drink the mixture quickly.
- Note: The quick you drink, the better it works to moving up the things.
- Repeat the process, if you don’t find any sign of bowel movement within 4 hours.
7. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is considered one of the effective home remedies for treating constipation. The salt draws water from the surroundings and soften the stool to make it easy for passing.
Magnesium present in salt promotes bowel muscles contraction which also helps the stools to pass easier.
How to Use?
- Dissolve 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in a cup of water or any fruit juice.
- Drink it quickly.
- If you didn’t observe any sign of bowel movement within 4 hours, take one more dose.
- Repeat whenever required.
Things to Notice: Table salt can be helpful in moistening the stools however it doesn’t contain magnesium. So, Epsom salt is the most preferred one.
8. Dandelion Tea
Though dandelion is a terrible weed, it is one of the effective ways to treat constipation. The properties of dandelion make a gentle laxative which acts as detoxifier.
Dandelion tea is perfect for those who are suffering from constipation due to consumption of processed foods and inactiveness.
- Into a cut of hot water, add 1 – 2 teaspoons of dried dandelion leaves.
- Stir well and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Drink 3 times in a day.
9. Castor Oil
Castor oil is a stimulant laxative. When it is consumed, it stimulates the small intestine to develop more bowel contractions. The increased motion will move the stool through the intestines so it can be excreted. (9)
Castor oil helps to maintain a healthy gut which inturn helps in treating constipation, leaky gut syndrome, and bloating, cramping, and possible symptoms of IBS.
Ricinoleic acid, an active ingredient in castor oil gets released in the intestine which helps in improving digestion, nutrient absorption and cleansing the system through constipation.
The small intestine becomes more efficient in fat absorption with better lymphatic drainage. The gut environment balances the good and bad bacteria ratio.
How to Use Castor Oil?
Before consuming castor oil, it is always important to check the oil preparation process on the label. Make sure to buy only organic which doesn’t contain any chemicals and preservatives. A proper dosage of castor oil is 15milliliters or 1/2 ounce or 3 teaspoons.
As it contains a strong taste and smell, you can add it to juices, water, or milk for better taste. The best time to take castor oil is before going to bed.
Castor oil typically takes 2 – 3 hours to cause a bowel movement. Sometimes, it can even take up to 6 hours.
- People who are pregnant should not take castor oil because it may induce labor. It can also lead to fetus or fetal abnormalities.
- People suffering from rectal bleeding, strong or sudden stomach pain, appendicitis symptoms, vomiting and symptoms of blocked intestine should avoid castor oil.
- Castor oil should be taken for as a short term solution. Depending on it can lead to severe consequences.
- Few side effects of castor oil include little potassium in the body, muscle weakness, bowel swelling, dehydration, and diarrhea.
- Castor oil should not be given to children under the age of 6 years. If the child is of age between 6 and 10 then it is better to consult a pediatrician before giving it to the child.
10. Lubricant Oils
Just like castor oil, several other oils can also be used to treat constipation. Several oils that are helpful include almond oil, extra virgin olive oil, and coconut oil. (10)
Oils lubricate the GI tract and make it easy for the stools to pass. Oils also contain antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and omega-3. They are also efficient in stimulating the gall bladder to release the bile which helps to breakdown fats in the food.
How to Use?
- Consume 1 – 2 teaspoons of any oil mentioned above.
- The best time to take it is on an empty stomach.
- You can also add it to smoothies, juice, salads, coffee and water if you cannot drink it alone.
- Repeat the consumption once or twice a day.
If you have sensitive stomach, it is better to avoid oil consumption on an empty stomach. Because it can causes slight stomach cramps and queasiness.
For constipation or gas pains in babies – add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil into their homemade formula.
Make sure to consume organic products to avoid genetically modified foods, monosodium glutamate and other chemicals from harming our body. Organic oils don’t contain pesticides, fillers, chemicals or other filler agents.
- Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- La Tourangelle, Roasted Almond Oil
Triphala powder is a combination of amla, haritaki and vibhitaki. It acts as a laxative by stimulating the release of bile and other secretions which are essential to boost bowel movements. (11)
It works as fantastic laxative, contains anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties.
How to Use?
- Add 1 tablespoon of Triphala powder to a glass of warm water.
- Mix well and drink it in one go.
- For taste, you can add a teaspoon of honey.
Note: Avoid drinking or eating anything after consuming tripaha. The best time to take it is before going to bed.
12. Cinnamon – Honey Laxative Tea
Honey is a natural laxative which helps to strengthen the digestive system and stimulate elimination of hard stools. (12)
How to Use?
- Boil a cup of water and add 1 inch each of ginger and cinnamon.
- Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the flame.
- Let it cool down until lukewarm.
- Strain and add 1 tablespoon honey to it.
- Stir well and consume it.
- Repeat 3 – 4 times a day.
Raisins contain lots of fiber and they are a natural laxative. It adds bulk to the stool and helps to move the trapped stools. Adding raisins to your daily diet can prevent constipation problems in future.
How to Use?
- Soak a handful of raisins in water overnight.
- Discard the water and eat raisins on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Alternatively, you can eat few raisins daily after meals.
14. Chia Seeds
It works as an intestinal broom for your intestines and helps to move the trapped hard stools.
Chia seeds are proven to be an excellent digestive solution especially for people suffering from IBS realted constipation. Chia seeds also contain fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation.
How to Use?
- Soak 2 tablespoons of chia seeds in a cup of water.
- After 15 minutes, drink the complete solution.
- Repeat daily or whenever required.
It contains mucilage properties which lubricate the intestinal tract and help to eliminate the hard stools without pain.
How to Use?
- Eat 1 cup of steamed or baked okra.
- Or chop okra and soak them in a cup of water overnight. Drink it in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Repeat daily.
16. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables that help to provide relief from constipation are papaya, oranges, figs, grapes, Oregon grape, pears, spinach, cabbage and guava.
All these foods are rich in fiber, water and other essential properties that aid in digestion and treat constipation.
How to Use?
- You can eat a cup of any fruit or vegetable (mentioned above) chunks per day.
- Or else, you can juice them or add to salads or desserts.
17. Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds are rich in dietary fiber that helps bulk up stools by absorbing water through the digestive system and promotes the complete evacuation of bowels. 100 g of coriander seeds contain 41.9 g fiber.
How to Use?
- Boil water and add 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds.
- Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain and drink it.
- Repeat 2 times daily.
- Note: You can add coriander seeds or coriander powder in your recipes.
18. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds act as natural laxative which helps to increase the bowel movement. It helps to loosen the hard stools by drawing water from the intestines.
Fennels are proven to improve the digestion and correct many digestive disorders which definitely improve constipation.
How to Use?
- Before going to bed, mix ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds into a glass of warm water.
- Let it stand overnight and drink it in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Do this every night.
Supplements that Relieve Constipation
Fiber is one of the effective ways in improving digestive health and treat constipation. Fiber scrubs off the food and other particles from the intestine walls while absorbing water for itself. Fiber is always misguided as bulk forming, however it gathers the stuff as it passes through the tunnels along the intestines to anus. (13)
Fiber rich foods include – tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, oatmeal, lentils, fruits, cereals, barley, and leafy green vegetables. You can consume fiber rich foods by chopping them into chunks, juices, or add them to soups, salad or stew.
Recommended Fiber Intake: 25 – 30 grams of high fiber per day
Usually, fibers are divided into two groups – soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibers bulk up the stools and reduce transit time. While soluble absorb water from the intestines and soften the stool.
A person suffering from constipation should always prefer soluble fibers instead of insoluble fibers. Make sure to begin with small amounts of fiber to avoid abdominal cramps and flatulence which are some of the common symptoms of high fiber intake.
Alternatively, you can consume fiber supplements like psyllium and apple fiber to balance your daily fiber intake. While taking high fiber, make sure to consume enough water to keep the stools soft and moving.
Dosage: For adults and children over 12 years of age – Add 1 teaspoon of it to 8 ounces of liquid and drink once in a day.
Dosage: Consume 1 – 2 teaspoons 2 times in a day.
Note: Too high fiber intake can actually lead to constipation, painful gas, uncomfortable bloating. (14) It can also cause hemorrhoids, straining, tears along the walls of intestinal tract and anal lacerations (bleeding). So, make sure to eat only recommended amounts of fiber to avoid consequences.
Probiotics play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system and combating constipation. (15, 16) The good bacteria is responsible for maintaining the stools lose and retaining the moisture in the intestines. When the stools lack good bacteria then they turn into rock hard.
Many times, good bacteria get wiped out due to certain things that are meant to kill bad bacteria. Here are the examples: antibiotics, surgeries, diarrhea, too much fiber, protein deficiency and others.
Commercial yogurts are not good substitutes as they go through high-heat sterilized process while manufacturing. During this process, the active bacteria usually die.
Probiotics are also a safe remedy for pregnant women. Consume at least 1 – 2 cups of probiotics per day. Probiotics include yogurt, kerfir, komucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and others.
Alternatively, you can take probiotic supplements for the same. For proper dosage consult your doctor or look out for the specifications on the label.
In order to suggest the best probiotic supplements beneficial for constipation, we have researched and tested many products and listed the best among them here.
Magnesium is an important electrolyte which plays a vital role in heart rhythm, bowels, immune system and muscles. Magnesium supplements relax the intestine muscles and draw water back into the colon.
Dosage: Take 300 – 400 milligrams of magnesium supplement at night with some water. You can expect a bowel movement by the morning.
- More amounts of magnesium intake than recommended can cause serious disruptions in the body.
- Magnesium supplements can interfere with antibiotics, diuretics and chemo drugs.
- People with kidney problems should avoid taking magnesium supplements. Make sure to avoid calcium while taking magnesium as it can have constipation effects.
4. Cod Liver Oil or Fish Oil
Cod liver oil is one of the traditional remedies to treat constipation. The essential omega-3 fatty acids present in these supplements helps in optimal digestive function which is necessary to treat constipation.
Dosage: Upon waking, consume 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil mixed in 8 ounces of water or fresh juice to stimulate bowel movements.
- Athelas Neutraceuticals Natural Triple Strength Cod Liver Oil
- AMRAP Nutrition Fermented Norwegian Cod Liver Oil
Other Tips that Resolve Constipation
1. Low-FODMAP Diet
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Examples of foods high in FODMAPs include cheese, maple syrup, and sweetened beverages.
A low-FODMAP diet represent decreased intake of above foods to relieve constipation especially if it occurs due to irritable bowel syndrome.
2. Avoid Dairy Products
Milk could cause constipation especially if you are intolerant to it. Milk reduces bowel movements and you need to stay away from it if you feel constipated. However, make sure to replace milk with other calcium-rich foods so you do not become deficient of this key mineral.
Though it may look simple, hydration helps in digestion and muscle functioning. When the body gets enough amount of water, the digestive system will process nutrients and move the wastage easily. Even the bowel muscles become more efficient and keep the things moving.
Consume 8 – 16 ounces of water every 2 hours. And the best time to drink is in the morning on an empty stomach. Generally, you should divide your body weight by half, and drink the same amount of water in ounces.
For example, you weigh 150 pounds then you consume 70 ounces of water. This can be increased based on your activity level.
In the morning, once you wake up, consume 2 glasses of water on an empty stomach. Make sure to take a gap of 20 – 30 minutes between breakfast and water. If you are not experiencing severe constipation then you should get bowel movements in 30 – 60 minutes.
While you are sleeping, the body functioning slows down, when we consume water, it stirs up the sleepy bowels. Though this method works absolutely great, consuming more amount of water than recommended throughout the day have other severe consequences.
Caffeine present in coffee acts as natural stimulant. Drinking 1 – 2 cups of coffee in the morning helps to stimulate bowel movements. Coffee is a natural diuretic which make you urinate frequently.
But make sure to avoid over consumption. If consumed in excess it can lead to constipation by dehydrating the body and drawing water from the stool.
5. Move your Body
In our lifestyle now-a-days, we are reserved to one place than being active. Though there isn’t any scientific evidence, moving your body helps the smooth muscle in the colon moving.
Remember that you have to wait at least for 1 hour to consume food after exercising. For occasional constipation, pelvic floor muscles, yoga, running and pilates are effective in encouraging the movement of wastes along the intestinal tract.
6. Establish Routine
Potty schedules are not just for puppies, they are even effective to provide relief from constipation. Regularizing the bathroom timing to regulate your bowel movements. Make some time of about 15 minutes for 2 – 3 times in a day. Even if nothing happens, don’t worry your body will slowly catch on.
7. Heed Natures Call
This is a preventive measure to ward off constipation. When your body signals then it is good listen and go to bathroom. If you hold stools for a longer period of time then the water from the stools will be absorbed by the colon leaving then dry and hard.
Though it sounds a bit awkward, squatting over the toilet helps to relieve constipation and stimulate your colon muscles. It is the natural position that our body understand that it’s time to poop.
While squatting, the puborectails muscles open to allow more complete defecating. Some experts believe that squatting helps to reduce constipation, anal fistuals, straining and hemorrhoids.
While sitting on toilet, try to place large books or stepping stools under each foot. Mimic the squatting position by propping the legs on them. For comfortable and natural squatting position, you can try using Squatty Potty.
Squatty potty comes in various heights, ranging from beginner-level squatter to a more experienced one. When not in use, it can be slided underneath the toilet seat. You can also gift the Squatty Potty for people who are too shy to purchase.
A study has conducted by The Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine has proven that blockage can be caused due to reduced Qi (vital energy) flow, excess heat or excess cold in the body.
Qi is influenced by two life forces – Ying & Yang. When these forces interrupt, it affects the health. You can consider massage or acupuncture to get back the natural flow of Qi. Make sure to consult a specialized therapy for proper results.
Foods To Avoid While Constipated
- Empty Calorie Foods: Foods that is rich in calories but poor in fiber or nutrients should be eliminated or reduced. These foods are common in Standard American Diet like cheese, chips, fast food, sweetened cereals, ice cream, processed meats, hot dogs and high sodium frozen foods.
- Alcohol: It increases urine production and lead to fluid loss which leads to dehydration. Alcohol is difficult for our body to digest which can make constipation worse. It is better to avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water.
- Oily/Fried Foods: Trans fats commonly present in deep fried foods slow down the transit time of stools through the intestines and clog up the digestion.
- Caffeine: Moderate consumption of caffeine can help with constipation. But however, if you consume caffeine is high amounts then worsen constipation.
- Pasteurized Dairy Products: People who are lactose intolerant can become constipated if they consume dairy products.
- Refined Flour: Refined flour doesn’t contain any fiber so it will lead to constipation or worsen the problem.
How Constipation Affects Our Body?
When you are constipated, few changes take place in our body. Let’s have a look at them…
- Bad Breath: Most of the people regularly constipated also experience bad breath. Because, as the toxins buildup within the colon, gasses rise up and come out through mouth. Unfortunately, one cannot realize of having bad breath until someone tells them.
- Skin Problems: Skin is the largest and detoxifying organ. It is also a reflection on your inner heath. Due to toxin build-up in the body caused due to constipation, an individual can experience acne, skin discoloration and other skin ailments.
- Colon Cancer: Suffering from constipation for a longer period of time can lead to cancer. The colon is designed to hold few pounds of stools. But when a person is constipated, the colon holds more stool, strains the inner membrane, ruptures the membranes and may lead to infections.
- Loss of Healthy Bacteria: Our intestines contain a lot of healthy bacteria which are helpful for immunity and vitamin production. However, when a person is constipated the balance of intestinal flora gets disturbed leaving the person more vulnerable to illness.
- It May Affect bladder Control: If the colon is strained then it can damage the pelvic floor muscles which are important for good bladder control. If bladder control is lost then it can cause leakage unexpectedly.
Can Constipation Lead to Other Serious Complications?
Many people don’t realize that constipation is a very serious problem. It make a person lethargic and uncomfortable. And sometimes it can lead to severe complications too.
If wasted food is left to decay in the colon then it can lead to complication mentioned below…
- Fecal Impaction
- Varicose Veins
- Hemorrhoids (Piles)
- Anal Tears and Fissures
- A Prolapsed Rectum
- Diverticular Disease
When Should A Person Reach Out for Doctor?
There are some serious or severe conditions when you have to reach out for a doctor instead of dealing with it at home. Here are few cases which need immediate medical attention…
- If you have sudden constipation with belly pain and you are not able to pass gas or stool.
- Blood in stools.
- Losing weight even if you are not dieting.
- Severe pain with bowel movements.
- If constipation lasts for more than 2 weeks.
- If you have pencil thin stools.
How Doctors Cure Constipation?
Most times the dietary home remedies are the only things required to get relief from constipation. However, there are some occasions where the problem is beyond diet such as when constipation is associated with bleeding via the anus, inability to pass flatus, and severe abdominal pain. These cases should be handled by doctor.
- Sometimes, home remedies have to be combined with medications for full resolution of the symptom.
- Furthermore, additional treatment for constipation to be recommended by your doctor is dependent on the cause of the constipation. There are certain investigative tools your doctor would order to detect the cause of the constipation.
- Your doctor would order for blood tests including complete blood count to detect a shortage of red blood cells in case you might have a hidden bleeding site in the intestines. The blood is also tested for certain chemicals including potassium, as imbalance in blood chemicals also causes constipation.
- Quite importantly, especially in cases where the constipation is prolonged, your doctor could order for imaging studies such as plain radiograph, Computed tomography (CT) scan, or barium studies of the abdomen. These techniques give a visual image of the intestines and other abdominal organs to see if there are any obstructive diseases causing the reduced bowel movements.
- An endoscopy is a test in which a long tube with a camera at the end is passed through the mouth or the anus to view the upper part or lower part of the gut respectively. In the case of constipation, your doctor would require a lower gut endoscopy.
What Medicines are prescribed to Treat Constipation?
- Your doctor would prescribe some drugs which might be best combined with home remedies. These drugs include bulk-forming agents such as methylcellulose and psyllium, emollient stool softeners such as docusate, prokinetics such as tegaserod which help to stimulate bowel peristalsis or movement waves, and osmotic agents such as sorbitol, polyethylene glycol, and lactulose. These medicines stimulate bowel movement by absorbing water into the intestine and causing its distension. All these drugs can be obtained without your doctor’s prescription.
- Magnesium citrate, magnesium sulphate, and magnesium hydroxide are among the drugs your doctor may prescribe. These drugs trigger bowel movements by absorbing water into the intestine and distending it.
- Mineral oil is also very effective for the treatment of constipation. Mineral oil lubricates the wall of the intestine making flow of stool easy.
- Some drugs that are prescribed to treat constipation which is caused due to opioids such as tramadol. Examples of these drugs include methylnaltexone, naloxegol, and alvimopan. These drugs cannot be obtained without a doctor’s prescription.
- If your doctor investigates and finds out that the constipation is caused due to obstruction in the bowel, tears in the anus, or haemorrhoids then surgical correction would be opted for. However, the home remedies would still be advocated before and after the surgery.
Constipation is a problem that we have all faced in our lives at one time or another. While it isn’t the most fun topic to talk about, it is important to know how to naturally relieve constipation.
Let’s go over the main causes of constipation – learning the causes can help to keep constipation away in the first place!
Causes of Constipation
The main reasons for constipation usually include dehydration, insufficient fiber in your diet, or a lack of physical activity.
In addition to that, changes in your daily diet and activities can also cause constipation. Your body seeks to find homeostasis through your normal daily routines. When you add in something new, such trying out a new diet or traveling, it forces your body to recalibrate.
When you try something new, be aware that it may causes fluctuations in your digestive system.
Natural Constipation Remedies
Below is a list of the best natural constipation remedies. Experiment and see which ones work best for you.
Eating prunes is one of the oldest constipation remedies – and it’s one of the best! Prunes are amazing for constipation relief because they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. In addition to this, prunes also contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that works by helping to draw water into your colon. This helps to soften your stool. You can read more about the benefits of prunes here.
The recommended amount of dried prunes is 3-4 for mild constipation. You can add more or less, depending on the severity of your constipation. A glass of prune juice is another option.
Taking a magnesium supplement is a great way to relieve constipation. Magnesium works by relaxing the muscles in your digestive tract, this helps to move stool through the intestines.
A dose of 300-400mg of magnesium is recommended per day. Getting this amount will help you maintain normal bowel movements. For cases of constipation, going over the daily amount can work as a gentle laxative. It is recommended that you go back to a normal daily dosage after you have experienced relief.
Drinking a glass or two of lemon water is a great way to keep your system moving. Citric acid, which is found in lemons, activates your digestive system and will help your system to flush toxins. In addition to this, drinking water will aid in hydrating your body, which will help to soften your stool.
To make lemon water, simply squeeze lemon juice into a glass of water and drink. This will help to not only relieve your constipation, it will also make your water taste more refreshing!
Similar to prunes, raisins are a great way to naturally relieve constipation. They work as a laxative to loosen stool and move it through your system. Eat a handful of raisins after a meal, it’ll help to keep your system running smoothly!
To learn more about the benefits of raisins for constipation, read more here.
Coffee is beneficial for relieving constipation due to the fact that it stimulates your colon. Once your colon is stimulated, your body will start the bowel movement process.
The instructions are easy, simply drink a cup of black coffee. Don’t use cream, as dairy can add to your constipation problem.
One thing to note is that coffee is a diuretic, which means that it will drain your body of water. Make sure to continue drinking water with your coffee. A good rule of thumb is to drink one cup of water per cup of coffee.
The Best Way To Prevent Constipation
Maintaining a healthy diet mixed with plenty of fruits and vegetables will go a long way towards preventing constipation.
If you have an especially tricky digestive system, consider taking a daily fiber supplement. Fiber supplements can be beneficial in that they provide a combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber. This is especially handy if you are on the road traveling.
If interested, you can learn more here about the best fiber supplements.
A few other keys are to make sure to drink enough water each day. Eight 8oz glasses is a good start. In addition to this, make sure to exercise regularly. Exercise will help to keep your system moving, as well as helping you become a more fit person.
This is a guest post from Daniel from utzy.com.
Constipation is a common and uncomfortable digestive health problem in which the stool gets hardened and won’t pass through the bowels smoothly. In this case, you feel bloated and have little of pain. This problem rises due to high intake of fatty foods, preservatives, lack of laxatives, less intake of water and fiber food in the diet. In some cases, people develop anal fistula in inner tissue of anal cavity that was injured by hard stool and pressure in it and cause bleeding and pus formation. This problem makes you that not to concentrate on work and also unable to eat properly until and unless it overcome across this constipation and the discomfort caused by it.
If you’re suffering with constipation for more than 2 – 3 times a week or having any severe pain or bleeding then you have to check it once with your doctor as it can be signs of any digestive disorders.
In most cases, constipation causes due to lack of fiber and water content in the body. An average adult generally requires fiber that ranges from 25 – 30 grams per day to get regular bowel movement. So plan your daily diet with more fiber filled foods and also drink more of fluids and liquids to get fiber flow properly in the digestive tract and to have normal and regular bowel movements to prevent constipation.
The following are the list of foods which are very effective in treating constipation. So include them in your daily diet to get the required water level, fiber content and also laxative effect to prevent constipation completely without its recurrence.
Drinking less water is one of the main reasons for constipation. So, water is considered as the best and most important remedy for treating constipation. This helps to moisten the intestines and feces which make the bowel to move easily from inside the body to outside.
The intake of more water will also helps to break the fiber food, so if you don’t drink enough of water then the fiber which you’re taking will lead to constipation rather than curing it. For treating this problem, you can drink either warm or cold water to cure constipation but the intake of warm water will help to soften the stool faster than cool or normal water.
- Take water and drink this to get rid of constipation.
- Daily intake of at least 8 – 10 glasses of water per day will work as effective medicine for treating constipation.
2. Fiber Rich Foods:
The most important thing to cure and prevent constipation completely is the intake of fiber rich foods in your daily diet. Fiber is a part of plant material that helps to treat constipation mainly in two ways like it add bulk to the stool and softens the stool to come out easily. In fiber, we generally hear about two types such as soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber will absorb water and binds with the fatty acids by forming a gel – like substance which keeps the stool soft. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and provides bulk and the essential moisture to the stool which helps to regulate the bowel movement. Here both types of fiber are essential for treating constipation and mostly chronic constipation and we can find these fibers in all plant foods.
So start taking the fiber rich foods and slowly increase the amount of taking dietary fiber in diet. Otherwise, too much fiber taken at once might cause symptoms like gas, loose stools (diarrhea), upset stomach or bloating. So, slowly increase the intake dietary fiber rich fruits and vegetables by up to 20 – 25 grams per day in your daily diet.
Or you can also try taking fiber supplements to get the required amount of fiber for daily requirements. Most of these fiber supplements come in the form of powder which you can mix with water and drink it. These supplements are generally made from plants and animals that effectively work on proper digestion and regular bowel movement. But make sure to know about the recommended dose before taking this supplement that includes inulin, psyllium and oligofructose.
3. Best Fruits for Constipation:
Fruits are very effective for treating constipation in which most of these have excellent sources of dietary fiber and has other nutritional benefits. Generally, our body responds better to the fruits which has been taken raw or dried or cooked. Here are few fruits that are very helpful in easing the constipation.
Berries like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries has high amount of fiber which helps a lot in treating the constipation. Half – cup of fresh strawberries contain 2 gms of fiber and raspberry has 4 gms of fibers and blackberries will give you 3.8 grams of fiber. Other than fiber, these berries are low in calories which make you to eat a large bowl of these plain berries with low fat cream as desserts or toss them on breakfast cereal or you can also mix them in your pancakes and have this to get complete relief from the problem.
Guava is also effective fruit remedy for treating constipation. Its pulp and seeds contains both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber that helps to pass the stools very easily. This also helps in mucus production in anus and aids in contraction of intestinal lining that further helps in proper passage of food into the stomach and thereby into colon to prevent constipation. You will get 5.4 grams of dietary fiber from 100 grams of guava. So include this guava fruit in your daily diet to keep the constipation at bay.
- Guava (Not too ripe or raw)
- Take guava fruit and eat this in breakfast.
- Or if you are suffering from any gastric problems, then you can have this guava after lunch but avoid eating this at night time.
- The perfect way to eat this guava is to eat this pulp along with the peel by softly chewing the seeds to get rid of constipation and other gastric problems.
Oranges contain rich amounts of vitamin C and also has a lot of fiber in which about 2.5 grams for 100 grams of orange and a large orange gives 4.4 grams of dietary fiber and 1 medium one gives 3.1 grams that in turn helps for proper digestion and thus stimulates the bowel movement to prevent the waste that was accumulated in colon.
Apart from these, oranges have water content in it which also helps to keep the stool soft and moisture. It contains a compound called flavanone naringenin has some laxative effect which further helps to get regular bowel movements. So it’s good to eat 2 – 4 oranges everyday for constipation and health like stronger teeth, glowing skin and best immune system.
Kiwi is important fruit while discussing about constipation why because a medium sized kiwi contains about 2.5 grams of fiber and a lot of nutrients, vitamins and minerals which not only required from constipation but also for good health that includes intestinal problems.
Generally, kiwi belongs to berry family which has edible seeds and you can eat this peel along with this fruit which has nutrients and vitamins in it, but most of the people prefer to eat only the flesh but not the peel. Research has found that intake of kiwi will help to promote the regular bowel movements and clears the constipation problem. So have 2 kiwis per day on daily basis to get increased the number of regular bowel movement even though you’re suffering from constipation.
Other than these fruits, you can also use the following fruits for treating constipation.
- Ripe bael
- Figs (Fresh)
4. Dried Fruits for Constipation:
Dried fruits have lot of fiber and laxative effect which effectively eases the constipation. Here are few dried fruits listed below.
Prunes are another effective remedy for treating constipation. It acts as natural laxative and has high amount of dietary fiber (of about 3 grams of fiber for 5 prunes) and sorbitol (sugar alcohol). This also helps to draw a lot of water as it passes through the intestines and thus finally adds bulk to the stool. It is rich in vitamin A, potassium and certain minerals to the body which helps to activate the enzymes in the digestive system. These enzymes dissolves the feces in colon and thus helps for the movement of stool from rectum and the potassium in prunes helps to pull out the water from the body and to colon. This also helps to protect the colon walls from bacteria and provides all the essential strength to the body.
Here are few ways on how to use these prunes for treating constipation.
Method – 1: (Prune Juice)
- Prune juice – 1 to 2 glasses
- Take a glass of prune juice and drink this for twice a day i.e. once in the morning with empty stomach and once at night time before going to bed.
- Or you can eat these prunes instead of drinking its juice.
- Intake of these prunes daily will help a lot in curing the constipation.
Method – 2: (Prunes)
- Prunes or its Juice
- Take 2 – 3 prunes and chop it finely.
- Then sprinkle these chopped prunes on the cereal, oatmeal or stir it in pancake or muffin batter.
- Have this to get rid of the constipation and also to have better digestion and better absorption of nutrients into the body.
- Or you can also add prune juice into banana smoothie to make it as a nutritious breakfast and have this daily to clear constipation problem.
- Follow this process regularly for at least a week to observe the noticeable changes in getting rid of constipation.
Method – 3: (Stewed Prunes and Lemon Juice)
- Prunes – 1 cup
- Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
- Water – 1 ½ cup
- Lemon slices – few
- Take saucepan and add prunes in it.
- Then pour water in it and stir it well.
- Add freshly squeezed lemon juice it and place it on the stove or heat.
- Boil it for few minutes till it reaches the boiling point.
- Now simmer it for about 25 – 30 minutes and then turn off the heat.
- Allow it to cool down for few minutes and add some lemon slices in it.
- Drink this stewed prune in lemon juice mixture to prevent constipation.
- Regular intake of this drink will definitely help you to completely get rid of the constipation.
Raisins acts as natural laxatives and also contains rich amount of fiber (insoluble fiber) and other essential nutrients which help to prevent the constipation. You will get 3.7 grams of dietary fiber from 100 grams of raisins which add mass to the stool and keeps it loose to come out easily. Hence daily intake of raisins will definitely prevent constipation and also diarrhea in every one. Here is the process on how to take raisins for constipation.
- Raisins – 10 to 12
- Water – 1/2 cup
- First of all, take a handful of raisins.
- Then soak them in water for overnight.
- In the next morning, strain the water and eat those raisins on an empty stomach.
- You can also drink that water to prevent constipation.
- Continue doing this process regularly till the constipation has cured completely.
- Or simply take a handful of raisins and eat them everyday an hour after completing the meals for better digestion and also to have better bowel movement.
Figs are generally packed with fibers and this also acts as natural laxative that helps to keep the constipation at bay. These figs are very helpful in treating the chronic constipation. So you can take either fresh or dried figs to cure constipation but be sure that if fresh figs are easily available to you then its better to eat them with their skin only as the peel contains a lot of fiber and calcium of fruit. You will get 5.6 grams of fiber from dried figs and 2.2 grams of fiber from fresh figs of about 100 grams of serving.
Method – 1: (Figs with Milk)
- Figs (dried or ripe)
- Milk – 1 glass
- Take a saucepan and pour milk in it.
- Then add some figs in this milk and allow it to boil for few minutes.
- Turn off the heat and drink this milk at night time before you go to bed.
- Make sure that this milk when you’re drinking should be warm.
- Or you can also directly eat the figs along with their skin.
- Remember that the usage of whole fruit is always better than syrup which is available in market.
- Repeat taking these figs regularly until you get complete cure from constipation.
Method – 2: (Soaked Dried Figs)
- Dried figs – 4 to 6
- Take water in a small bowl.
- Add dried figs in it.
- Allow it to soak for overnight by covering the bowl properly.
- In the next morning, take out the soaked figs and eat them with an empty stomach.
- Regularize taking these figs to get rid of the constipation.
Method – 3: (Dried Figs with Almonds)
- Dried figs – 2 to 3
- Almonds – 2 to 4
- Honey – 1 tablespoon
- First of all, take these dried figs and almonds.
- Place them in water and allow it to soak for few hours.
- After that, peel it off the almonds properly.
- Grind both of these almonds and dried figs to make it fine paste.
- Then add honey to it and stir it well.
- Finally take this paste at night time before going to bed to get normal bowel movement in the next day morning.
- Regularize taking this paste as a habit in every night until you get complete cure from constipation.
Date is a healthy dry fruit which has good amount of fiber that helps to fight against the constipation naturally. It keeps the colon to get cleared by increasing the amount of the fecal matter. This also acts as laxative and thus facilitates the bowel movements within the body. It also contains many nutrients like calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, manganese, copper and magnesium which help for the overall health.
Coming to fiber content, you will get 8 grams of dietary fiber from 100 grams of both fresh and dried dates). This is rich in soluble fiber which helps to hold the water and increases the softness of stool. This in turn adds bulky weight to the stool for facilitating the bowel movement from intestine to rectum. Here is the process that explains you on how to take these dates for constipation.
- Take few dates and place them in a small bowl.
- Then pour water till the dates has completely soaked in water.
- Allow it to soak for overnight by covering the bowl well.
- In the next morning, consume them by taking out of water and if you want you can also drink that dates soaked water.
- Or simply you can eat a handful of these dates in the evening as snacks to cure constipation.
- Repeat the same process to improve the constipation condition and to regularize it.
5. Vegetables for Constipation:
Eating a lot of vegetables especially green leafy vegetables is another effective way to keep the bowel movement regularly. It has high amount of fiber, nutrients with helps for better digestion and also for overall health. The following vegetables are very beneficial for easing the constipation.
Artichokes help to prevent constipation with its high fiber content of about 6.5 grams of fiber from 1 artichoke. This also contains vitamins (C vitamin) and minerals (iron, magnesium and potassium) which are good for better digestion and cures digestive disorders. So include this vegetable in your regular diet but avoid taking spinach artichoke dip. However both of these are good fiber sources but it has more of cheese which is one of the causes for constipation.
Beans are another effective remedy that helps for treating constipation with its high fiber content of about 10 gms per cup serving. It has both types of fiber i.e. soluble and insoluble fiber that helps the food to get easily digested and pass away the waste from intestines to get regular bowel movements.
Here are few types of beans that you can take it regularly by adding them in salads, soups, casseroles or pasta to eliminate the constipation problem.
- Baked beans give you 6-plus grams of fiber from 1/2 cup of serving.
- Kidney beans give you 8.2 grams of fiber from 1/2 cup of serving.
- Black beans give you 7-plus grams of fiber from 1/2 cup of serving.
- Lima beans give you 6-plus grams of fiber from 1/2 cup of serving.
- Navy beans give you 9.5 grams of fiber from 1/2 cup of serving.
- Pinto beans give you 6-plus grams of fiber from 1/2 cup of serving.
- Soy beans give you 6-plus grams of fiber from 1/2 cup of serving.
- Black – eyed peas
- Garbanzo beans
Broccoli is another effective vegetable that has high source of fiber. This is low in calories and high in nutrients so it is preferred to eat this broccoli in raw form as cooking can reduce the fiber content in it. If you want to cook this broccoli then you can try the steaming, roasting, boiling or baking process is very effective why because they avoid putting extra calories and you can also toss this with a little of olive oil, pepper and salt for additional flavor. You will get 2.6 grams of dietary fiber from 100 grams of broccoli or a cup of raw broccoli gives about 2.4 grams of fiber per serving and a cup of boiled broccoli gives 5.1 grams of dietary fiber.
Cabbage has high amount of fiber which helps to keep the digestive system healthy and also regularizes the bowel movement. It also contains mild laxative elements with which it stimulates the bowel movement by cleaning the stomach and intestines. You can get about 2.5 to 3 grams of fiber from 100 grams of cabbage.
- Cabbage – 1 cup
- Take chopped cabbage and have this before eating the meals.
- Or you can also take this in curry or steamed form to cure constipation.
- Or you can drink a cup of cabbage juice to stimulate the bowel movement.
- Daily intake of this cabbage for twice a day after completing the meals will definitely give better results.
Apart from the above mentioned vegetables, these are also used to treat constipation with its fiber content and other nutrients that helps to ease constipation by stimulating the bowel movement regularly.
- Swiss chard
- Green beans
- Artichoke hearts
- Brussels sprouts
- Red potatoes with skin
6. Seeds for Constipation:
Here are some of the best seeds that are very effective in curing the constipation. Regular taking of these seeds in your diet will definitely help you with its high fiber content and add bulk to the stool and loosens it to move easily to come out.
A. Coriander Seeds:
Coriander seeds are high in dietary fibers which has 41.9 grams in 100grams quantity of these seeds. This fiber has insoluble fiber and helps to increase the bulk of the stool by absorbing the water that is required for bowel movement from the digestive system and thus eases the constipation. So to get rid of this constipation completely, you have to include these coriander seeds in your daily diet.
- Coriander seeds – 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Water – 1 ½ glass
- Pepper corns (optional)
- Strainer or sieve
- Take a saucepan and pour water in it.
- Then add coriander seeds in it and stir it well.
- Allow it to boil for few minutes till it forms as concoction.
- Now add peppercorns in it and boil it for another few minutes.
- Turn off the heat and strain it with the help of strainer.
- Let it cool down for few minutes until it reaches room temperature.
- Drink this coriander seeds infused water to get rid of constipation.
- Or you can also add these coriander seeds or powder in the recipes while you’re cooking food to prevent constipation.
- Regularize the usage of coriander seeds in the daily diet will definitely help you to treat constipation.
Flaxseeds has rich amount of fiber (both soluble and insoluble fibers) and it is considered as bulk – forming herbal laxative. You will get about 2.8 grams of dietary fiber from 1 tablespoon (whole 10.3 grams). This seeds helps to draws the water into stool and makes it softer for the easy bowel movement to pass out of the body. This also coats the intestinal walls and stool that increases the number of bowel movements which you regularly have it. It also has omega – 3 fatty acids which is good for easing constipation. But make sure that you have to drink a lot of water and other liquids when you’re using this remedy to get more effective and quick results over constipation.
Here are few methods which you have to follow them regularly to deal with constipation.
Method – 1: (Flaxseed with Yogurt)
- Flaxseeds (freshly grounded) – 2 tablespoons
- Yogurt – 1 cup
- Take freshly grounded flaxseeds and add this to yogurt.
- Stir it well and have this in the early morning or at night time before you’re going to sleep.
- Repeat this same process daily until you cleared this constipation problem.
Method – 2: (Flaxseed Oil with Orange Juice)
Drinking flaxseed oil mixed with orange juice will give you the additional benefits of getting the increased fiber quantity which further helps more for digestion and easy bowel movement and thus prevent constipation.
- Flaxseed oil – 1 tablespoon
- Orange juice (with pulp) – 1 glass
- Take flaxseed oil and add this to orange juice.
- Stir it well and drink this juice whenever you feel constipated.
- But make sure that you have to give a time gap of at least 5 hours to it to start work and also don’t over drink this liquid as it may cause gastric problem.
- Regularize the intake of this flaxseed oil mixed in orange juice to get complete relief from constipation.
- Or you can mix this flaxseed oil in any glass of fruit juice and drink this in the morning to get proper bowel movement.
Method – 3: (Flaxseed Powder)
- Ground flaxseed powder – 1 tablespoon
- Warm water – 1 glass
- Take flaxseed powder and add to warm water.
- Mix it well and take this as a first thing in the morning.
- Or you can also add some flaxseeds in the morning breakfast cereal or oatmeal.
- Regular intake of these flaxseeds will definitely help you to get complete relief from the constipation.
Method – 4: (Flaxseed with Salads or Breakfast Cereal)
- Ground Flaxseeds – 2 tablespoons
- Salad mixture
- Oatmeal – 1 bowl
- Take freshly ground flaxseeds and add this to a bowl of oats or any of your breakfast cereal.
- Stir it well and have this in the morning time to get the food easily digestion and to have normal bowel movement.
- Regular intake of this flaxseed mixed breakfast cereal or oats will help you to prevent constipation.
- Or you can simply sprinkle this flaxseed powder in salads or smoothies or add this to pancakes.
Method – 5: (Flaxseed Tea)
- Flaxseeds – 1 teaspoon
- Water – 1 ½ cup
- Honey (optional)
- Take saucepan and pour water in it.
- Place this pan on the stove or heat.
- Then add flaxseeds in it and stir it well.
- Let it simmer for few minutes till the quantity becomes half.
- Now turn off the heat and add a little bit of honey in it.
- Sip this flaxseed tea when it is warm to speed up the bowel movement and to cure constipation.
- Or you also take flaxseed oil capsules as directed by physician to relieve from constipation.
- Do this process regularly for more effective results over constipation.
Method – 6: (Flaxseed with Warm Milk)
This combinational process adds bulk to the stool and that in turn helps to have bowel movement in the morning which this milk is taken at night time before going to bed.
- Ground flaxseed – 1 teaspoon
- Warm milk – 1 cup
- Take ground flaxseeds and add this to warm milk.
- Stir it well and drink this warm milk at night time before going to bed.
- This process will definitely help you to get relief from constipation.
- Continue the same process daily until you got complete cure from constipation.
Other than coriander and flaxseeds, you can so other effective seeds which are mentioned below.
- Chia seeds
- Fennel seeds
7. Whole Grains:
Start taking whole grains by switching from refined grains like white flour, white rice will make the difference in resolving constipation problems. But make sure if you’re suffering from chronic constipation then consult the doctor before trying these whole grains. Here are few whole grains which are good at treating constipation.
A. Brown Rice:
If you’re feeling constipated due to the intake of white rice then it’s time to change to brown rice which is unprocessed rice and has whole grains. These whole grains help to maintain the regular bowel movement and prevents constipation totally. A cup of brown rice contains 3.5 grams of fiber which in turn gives 14% of daily requirement of fiber that helps to prevent constipation. It also has anti-oxidants and other nutrients which is useful for better digestion.
Popcorn is another wholegrain which has high fiber content and low calories that makes you to add this to your diet. So have air – popped or any healthy variety of microwave popcorn in your daily diet to cue constipation. Avoid the popcorn which is made by adding salt or butter to it. Have this popcorn as a snack in the evening time rather than intake of junk, oily or fatty foods and this popcorn also helps you to keep the regular bowel movement and thus prevents constipation.
Intake of whole grain rye bread rather than wheat bread is very effective in relieving constipation. Through this bread, you will get 12.3 gms for each slices in which you have to take 30 grams of fiber per day to cure constipation. You can also take the bread which is made up of whole grains why because the whole grain bread are low in fat and high in fiber and also in complex carbohydrates. But don’t forget to check the label which says that whole before the grains. Also the diet bread has high of fiber to get relief from not only constipation but also to lose weight by clearing the cholesterol and fat in the body.
You can also take the below mentioned whole grains which are excellent sources of fiber that helps to ease constipation.
- Whole wheat
8. Oils for Constipation:
Even oils can also be used to cure constipation. Castor oil and olive oil are one of the best oils which are used in the treatment of constipation. Let’s see about its properties and methods to use these oils for constipation.
A. Castor Oil:
Castor oil heals many health problems that include constipation. It acts as natural stimulant laxative that helps to contract the bowel and squeezes it, which in turn helps you to pass the stool more easily and comfortably than regular bowel movement. So you can expect a comfortable bowel movement within 4 – 7 hours of castor oil consumption.
- Castor oil – 1 teaspoon
- Warm milk or water – 1 glass
- Take castor oil and pour this in warm milk or warm water.
- Stir it well and consume this milk or water at night time before going to bed.
- Or you can also drink this oil mixed milk or water to get free flow of bowel movement.
- So have this whenever you’re suffering from constipation to prevent that problem.
B. Olive Oil:
Olive oil is a natural laxative that helps to stimulate the digestive system by maintaining proper functioning of colon to relieve constipation. Olive oil, if taken regularly not only helps to relieve constipation but also prevents it from recurrence.
- Olive oil – 1 teaspoon
- Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
- Take a small bowl and pour virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice in it.
- Mix it well and take this in the morning with an empty stomach to get complete relief from constipation.
- Or you can also take olive oil only, if you can withstand its taste to soften the stool and to regulate the bowel movement.
- Continue this process until you treated the constipation problem completely.
Nuts are also considered as a powerhouse of fiber and omega – fatty acids which help a lot to eliminate the constipation problem. Nuts among Brazil nuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, etc. are the best fiber sources. One ounce serving of pistachios has 2.9 grams of fiber, almonds have 3.3 grams and pecans have 2.7 grams of fiber. But make sure to check how much nuts you’re eating why because the nuts are calorie – dense and more intake can cause weight gain and other side effects in the body. You should take nuts which have to fill only the palm part but not the full hand or a full cup.
Yogurt contains many friendly bacteria called probiotics in which some of these bacteria are Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillis and sacchromyces boulardi that work as bacterial laxative and helps to softening the hard stool which finally results in constipation. Intake of yogurt cures constipation which is caused due to the imbalance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. You can use any type of naturally fermented yogurt which is more effective in treating constipation but avoid taking the one which has added preservatives, artificial flavors and sugars. When you take consume this yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) then it combines along with the micro-organisms in the body that it turns as a bacterial laxative and regularizes the bowel movement to cure constipation.
If you cannot withstand the taste of yogurt then you can take get the same good bacteria content from probiotic supplements. They are equally effective in improving digestion and regulating the bowel movements. If you want to know the best brands of probiotic supplements then you can know then here…
11. Tea’s for Constipation:
Teas are also effective in curing constipation. A hot cup of soothing tea will help to prompt the system to action. Drinking tea which is made from the herbs that has laxatives effects is helpful in treating constipation. The best two teas for curing constipation are
A. Anise Tea:
Anise is an herb that helps to treat many health problems which has aromatic, sweet and licorice taste that has both laxative and antispasmodic effects. Here is the process on how to make this anise tea.
Method – 1: (Using Anise Leaf)
- Dried anise leaf – 1 teaspoon (or) fresh, crushed anise leaf – 3 teaspoons
- Boiling water – 1 cup
- Take a kettle and pour water in it.
- Place it on the heat or stove and add either dried or fresh anise leaf in it.
- Boil it for few minutes and turn off the heat.
- Allow it to steep for few minutes.
- Strain it and drink this anise tea to have better digestion and to relieve from constipation.
Method – 2: (Using Anise Seeds)
- Anise seeds – 1 tablespoon
- Boiling water – 2 cups
- Mortar and pestle
- Take anise seeds and crush or grind them with the help of mortar and pestle.
- Place water in a saucepan and boil it for few minutes.
- Then add crushed seeds to it and simmer it for about 5 – 8 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and drink this tea to get rid of constipation.
- Repeat drinking this tea daily to get relief from constipation.
B. Dandelion Tea:
Dandelion tea is another herbal remedy which you can take this in tea form to get rid of constipation. Its leaves have diuretic and mild laxative effects that help for better digestion and to cleanse the colon and thus increase the bile production in the gastrointestinal tract to relieve you from constipation. This also helps to promote healthy bacterial functioning in the gut which helps for regular bowel movement. Here is the process on how to make dandelion tea to get rid of the constipation.
- Dandelion root (dried and chopped) – 1 teaspoon
- Boiling water – 8 oz
- Sieve or strainer
- Take a pot and place them on the heat or stove.
- Then put chopped, dried dandelion root in the pot and pour water in it.
- Stir it well and allow it to boil for about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Now turn off the heat and strain the tea with the help of strainer or sieve.
- Drink this dandelion tea to get rid of constipation.
- Regular intake of 3 cups of dandelion tea daily will help to boost up the stool or bowel movement to get relief from constipation and to have other health benefits.
You can also drink Rhubarb root tea and fennel tea to get relief from constipation.
Lentils has high source of fiber, minerals and vitamins which makes it as a compulsory thing in your daily diet to get rid of constipation. They contain carbohydrates and ranked low on the glycemic index which helps to regulate the blood sugar levels that in turn helps to maintain healthy weight (as overweight is one of the cause for constipation).
Preparing or cooking lentils is an easy process as you have to boil them in water until it becomes soft to get desired tenderness. This is a great side dish which has important minerals like iron and potassium that helps for overall health. You will get about 15.6 grams of fiber from a cup of cooked lentils.
Honey has mild laxative effect which helps to loosen the stools and thus increases the bowel movement. It also acts as soothing agent that helps to moisten the stool or bulk to come out easily. Make sure that it is high in calories so its better to use them occasionally. Here are the recipes that explain you on how to use this honey for treating constipation.
Method – 1: (Honey with Warm Water)
- Honey – 1 tablespoon
- Warm water – 1 glass
- Lemon juice (Optional) – 1 teaspoon
- Take raw, organic honey and add this to warm water.
- Stir it well and drink this to make movement in your bowels
- Or you can add lemon juice in this warm honey water as an additional boost up to the bowel to come out quickly and regularly.
- Or you can simply consume honey for twice a day to get relief from constipation.
- Continue the intake of honey for twice a day i.e. once in the morning and once at night time regularly to prevent constipation.
Method – 2: (Honey with Apple Cider Vinegar and Warm Water)
- Honey – 2 teaspoons
- Apple cider vinegar – 2 teaspoons
- Warm water – 1 glass
- Take organic honey and apple cider vinegar (prefer the one which has mother in it).
- Add these to water and stir it well.
- Finally shake it well and drink this mixture slowly to get rid of constipation.
- This process has to be followed regularly until you get complete cure from constipation.
Method – 3: (Honey with Oatmeal)
In this process, honey healing and moisturizes the tube which the stool has to pass. Oatmeal gives the essential fiber for the stool formation. Chamomile with its anti – inflammatory and soothing properties helps for better digestion and soothes the stomach. So all these things together helps to cure constipation and also prevent its recurrence in future also.
- Honey – 2 tablespoons
- Oatmeal – 3 tablespoons
- Water – 1 cup
- Chamomile tea bag – 1
- Take a saucepan and add oatmeal, honey and water in it.
- Stir it well and place this on the stove or heat.
- Boil it for few minutes until the oatmeal has cooked properly.
- Then add a chamomile tea bag to it.
- Allow it to steep for few minutes and then drink this honey mixture to get relief from constipation.
- This process has to be followed regularly to cure constipation.
Tips to Prevent Constipation:
These are few tips that effectively work to cure constipation and also prevent its recurrence in future.
- Regular intake of high fiber foods in dinner at night time will help a lot in curing constipation.
- Always have at least of 8 – 10 glasses of water per day for easy digestion and to have regular bowel movements and thereby prevents constipation.
- Its advisable to take at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables everyday in the diet. Include fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, pears, grapes, peaches, plums, berries, etc. and vegetables like broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, peas, corns, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potatoes, radishes, etc. in the diet.
- Changing the daily diet like from refined foods to less refined foods, whole grains cereals, heavy cooked food to less cooked food, white flour to brown flour, etc. can help you to prevent the changes of getting constipation.
- Pears also include in this list which has high dietary fiber but make sure to eat this fruit along with its skin to get the maximum fiber of about 5 to 6 gms which is very essential to regulate the digestive system.
- You can take dried fruits like dates, prunes, raisins, figs and apricots which has rich source of dietary fiber and also sorbitol (a natural laxative and a type of carbohydrate that has molecular structure which resembles like sugar) that helps for better digestion and to retain the water to pass the stool through the gut to relieve constipation.
- Switch to high fiber breakfast cereals which have at least of 7 grams of fiber per serving to get the required fiber that relieves constipation. Or if the cereal won’t have the required amount of fiber then you can add this fiber by simply sprinkling few tablespoons of flaxseed or wheat bran on the top of the cereal.
- Add certain spices like turmeric, fennel, carom, cumin seeds in the gravies and curries which you cook regularly for better digestion and bowel movement.
- Regularly have frequent meals for every 3 – 4 hours without junk foods. You can also include fresh fruits, seeds, dry fruits and nuts as snacks in between the 3 main meals to cure constipation.
- Coffee also has natural laxative that stimulate the colonic muscles movement and loosens the stool to prevent constipation. But make sure that not to take more than 2 cups of coffee per day as it causes dehydration due to its diuretic property and causes constipation rather than curing it.
- Instead of taking any oily, spicy, fast foods in the evening as snacks, you can simply have fruits (like apples, pears, grapes or berries), granola (prepared with less sugar), hummus, nuts, trail mix (by adding some nuts, seeds, dried fruits, chocolate), raw vegetables (like carrots, green beans), etc. which are best for perfect health and also stimulates bowel movement that in turn helps for preventing constipation.
- Never ever avoid or skip meals and also have them regularly at same time to get properly digested which in turn helps to relieve constipation by well digesting the food which you eat.
- Few people will get rashes, nausea or sore throat while using these laxatives. Especially women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and the children who are under 6 years of age should not take these laxatives without the proper advice of your doctor or else it might cause some side effects.
- Its always advisable to consult the doctor or healthcare provider if you’re suffering from not having bowel movements in 3 days (or) having bloated or pain in the stomach (or) feeling nausea or vomiting (or) blood in the stool for immediate treatment to get relief from constipation along with this symptoms.
- If you feel the urge to go to bathroom then you should waste time in waiting or holding it in, you have to go to bathroom as early as possible and also its better to train the bowels in such a way to come regular by going to bathroom at the same time in everyday even though it comes or not but it leads to regular outcome in same time.
- Even eating organic dark chocolate which are made of 72% or more of cocoa will help to treat constipation due to its rich source of magnesium. This magnesium helps to relax the muscles in the digestive system and enhances for proper digestion to stimulate bowel movements.
- Licorice has laxative quality that helps to loosen up the stools. You can try many varieties with this licorice or simply chew some licorice root or eat a black licorice sticks regularly to ease constipation.
- In recent studies, it has been proved that sugarless gum contains laxative sorbitol which gives sweet taste to these gums that helps to ease the constipation by loosening the stool to come out easily.
- Remember that all these remedies and tips are natural and effective but it works differently like some works very fast, some fast, some slows down than others. So you have to select the remedy that suits best for you in treating constipation.
The next time, when you feel bloated and uncomfortable with the constipation then you can grab any one of these foods to get complete and natural relief from constipation without causing any harm to the colon and other body parts.
This is all about Foods that help to prevent Constipation. Include them in your daily diet to get sufficient amount of fiber, enough of water and laxative to have daily bowel movement. Hope you’ll try to take these foods in the diet in curing constipation. Or do you know any other food that relieves constipation? Then share your experience with us.
Constipation can be a very disturbing symptom and is said to occur if you pass less than 3 bowel movements in a week, strain a lot while you try to defecate, or pass hard lumpy stools.
Most times, home remedies in the form of dietary modifications are all you will require to correct the symptom, however sometimes, medicines and surgery may be needed based on the root cause.
It is therefore, best to employ home remedies as early as possible and visit the doctors if the symptom does not improve.
Try the remedies, dietary changes and other tips mentioned above to get back to normal life. If you have any concerns, write to us in the comments section. And please share your experience so that other readers can benefit from it.
Hi everyone, this is Rajee!
I live the beautiful city of Baltimore, where my husband works.
I’m from India. I have been visiting India on and off for past few years and my mom was an inspiration for me to start this site. She has a wealth of knowledge on home remedies for a large number of health problems, and we grew up in an environment where frequent visits to the doctor just wasn’t logistically or financially feasible.
Despite this, she managed to raise a family of healthy kids, and my goal here at Home Remedies for Life is to pass on some of her knowledge of natural remedies.