Constipation happens when there is an issue with emptying the bowels. This difficulty may be due to hardened stool, slow digestion or dehydration. When this happens, most people quickly turn to laxatives as a means to ease constipation. But did you know that there are many natural home remedies for constipation that work faster and more effectively?
In this article you’ll find 12 easy ways you can relieve constipation with tried and true natural home remedies.
1. Fish Oil
One of the fastest home remedies for constipation is consuming fish oil. There’s no need to worry if the thought of drinking fish oil sounds a little distasteful because it can be found in capsules in most major grocery stores.
Fish oil contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that improve digestion. It is important to find fish oil supplements that contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Possible side effects for consuming too much fish oil have been diarrhea, gas and intestinal bloating. Do not exceed the 1,000 mg daily limit.
Simply consume 1,000 mg fish oil capsules with plenty of water once per day.
Not having enough fiber in your daily diet is a surefire way to experience digestive issues like constipation. Fiber helps regulate digestions by absorbing water and softening hard stool so that it may pass more easily.
Fiber is not all the same. There are two types of fiber within the foods you consume; soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
When food is consumed, soluble fiber slows down digestion by pulling in water and turning into a gel-like substance. Insoluble fiber insoluble fiber soaks up water and expands the way a sponge does.
For constipation, insoluble fiber will help clean out the intestines faster than soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber can be found in foods like wheat, corn, oat bran, nuts and the skins of fruits and vegetables.
- Insoluble fiber from the list shown above
It is recommended that women under 51 get 25 grams of fiber per day and men younger than 51 should shoot for 38 grams per day. Women older than 51 should aim for 21 grams of fiber per day and men older than 51 should consume 50 grams per day.
Too much fiber can cause flatulence, cramping and dehydration.
Taking probiotics for a short time is one of the best home remedies for constipation. Probiotics are living bacteria and yeast enzymes that primarily aid the digestive system.
Probiotics can be found in foods like yogurt, soft cheeses, Kefir probiotic drink, sauerkraut, miso soup and supplements. The two types of bacteria that aid digestion are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
High probiotic foods and supplements can be found in most major grocery stores. Gas, bloating and diarrhea are common side effects when consuming too much probiotics.
Probiotics containing Bifidobacterium is recommended for treating constipation by softening stools and making it easier to pass.
- 5-10 billion Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium supplement blend.
Take 5-10 billion bacteria supplement once per day with plenty of water to relieve constipation.
The citric acid in lemons helps stimulate the digestive system and makes it more active. The high citric acid content in lemons works as a way to eliminate toxins from your digestive tract.
Using lemons may be one of the easiest home remedies for constipation because most people always have lemons on hand. The trick for using lemons to relieve constipation is when to use it.
- 1 Lemon (Juiced)
- 1 cup of warm water
Simply squeeze the juice of the lemon into the warm water and drink first thing in the morning. This technique works best on an empty stomach.
5. Castor Oil
Castor oil may be one of the oldest home remedies for constipation. It has been used as a natural laxative for thousands of years.
Castor oil has a fatty acid in it called ricinoleic acid that attaches itself to the intestinal walls. Once the ricinoleic acid attaches itself, the muscles start to tighten and push out stool.
Diarrhea, stomach pain and cramping are the most common side effects of using castor oil.
- 15 milliliters of castor oil.
- Glass of juice or water
Simply put 15 milliliters of castor oil in juice and consume. It is a relatively fast working laxative, so consuming it during the day is best.
Castor oil has a profound taste, so it is advised to consume it with fruit juice to mask the flavor. You can find castor oil in major grocery stores, online and in vitamin and nutrition stores.
6. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a very effective, yet seldom used constipation remedy. When the sodium bicarbonate reacts to stomach acids it creates a mixture of salt, carbon dioxide and water.
This reaction also causes some side effects like gas and burping. Using baking soda to help ease constipation also helps with indigestion.
Baking soda can be found in most grocery stores. Using baking soda to treat constipation is easy:
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- ¼ cup of warm water
Simply add the baking soda to the water and stir to dissolve. Drink this mixture on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning to break up hard stool.
Using coffee as a remedy for constipation is a double-edged sword. While it helps to relieve constipation, a major side effect of too much coffee is that it can cause constipation. Caffeinated coffee can help to activate peristalsis in the colon, which is the contraction and relaxation of the intestinal muscles. This activated digestion and helps get hard stool moving. Coffee can be found everywhere. But remember, while 1-2 cups per day is fine, too much can cause dehydration, which is a major cause of constipation.
- Black Columbian Coffee (150 mg)
Simply consume 1-2 8 oz. cups of coffee to get constipation relief.
8. Flaxseed Oil
Consuming flaxseed oil is great for relieving constipation. Flaxseeds are high in fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and magnesium, which are all strong digestive stimulants.
When flaxseed oil is consumed it coats the walls of the intestines as well as the stool itself. This allows for hard stool to move through the digestive tract easier.
Flaxseed oil can be found in oil form or in a capsule. One of the side effects of flaxseed oil is that it is highly volatile and can become rancid quickly.
Other side effects can include diarrhea and loose stools.
- 1 Tablespoon Flaxseed Oil
- 1 Glass Orange Juice (high pulp)
Simple mix the flaxseed oil into the orange juice and stir to incorporate. You can use a different type of juice, but orange juice is great in masking the flavor and providing extra fiber.It typically takes up to 5 hours for it to start working and drinking it on an empty stomach is best.
9. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe is one of the older home remedies for constipation out there. It is a natural laxative that has been used for thousands of years.
Aloe increases intestinal water content and accelerates mucus secretion. This boosts the peristalsis effect and helps break down hard stool.
The aloe plant, gel or capsule can be used for this remedy, but the easiest and most widely available product is aloe vera juice. It can be found in most major grocery and vitamin stores.
- Aloe Vera Juice
Simply drink 1 cup of cold aloe vera juice up to 3 times per day until you feel relief. Side effects for aloe can include cramping, diarrhea and gas.
Prunes or prune juice is an old-time classic for treating constipation. They work well for constipation because they have a high fiber content and sorbitol. Sorbitol is a natural sugar-based alcohol that pulls in water to the colon and softens stool. Gas, bloating and diarrhea are common side effects for consuming prunes. For constipation relief, prunes can either be eaten or drank in a juice or smoothie. Prunes can be found in most major grocery stores.
- 6-12 Prunes
- Prune Juice
If you prefer to eat prunes, you can either eat 6-12 prunes once per day as a snack, or 4-6 of them at a time twice per day. If you would rather drink prune juice 3 8-ounce glasses of prune juice spread out throughout the day is sufficient to relieve constipation.
Not only is exercise good for maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, it is also a great way to relieve constipation. Leading asedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for constipation.
Aerobic exercises will intensify your breathing and heart rate and stimulate the tightening of the intestinal muscles. The tightening of this muscle helps move stools out of the intestines.
A swift 15-minute walk or 10-minute jog 30 minutes after a light meal and 1 hour after a heavy meal is ideal for relieving constipation. If you are already used to exercising increasing the intensity of an aerobic workout 30-60 minutes after a meal works as well.
Dehydration in the colon is one of the most common factors for constipation. Therefore, drinking plenty of water is one of the best home remedies for constipation.
Water is also easily available and is virtually side effects free. Maintaining proper hydration should be an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.
By staying hydrated, the body works at an optimal level and less water is extracted out of the colon. This not only allows for the digestive tract to function properly, but for stools to remain soft and easy to pass as well.
It is recommended for men to drink about 13 cups of water for the day and for women to drink about 9. This increased amount of fluid will help in relieving constipation.
Home remedies for constipation don’t have to be expensive, time consuming or hard to find. Most of the remedies provided are available in most major grocery stores and can provide constipation relief quickly. Don’t settle for laxatives that can end up doing more harm than good when you can easily use natural methods to relieve this common problem. Have you tried a constipation home remedy not on this list? Tell us about your experience below!