Need a natural remedy for constipation? Use these 10 remedies to end the pain and embarrassment of constipation symptoms. You’ll also learn strategies to prevent this uncomfortable condition in the future.
Before we get to the top ten natural remedies for constipation, here's what medical research has discovered about laxatives...
Laxatives can have distressing side effects including cramping, nausea, and – if overused – diarrhea.
A review of children’s constipation treatments found that “Insufficient evidence exists supporting that laxative treatment is better than placebo in children with constipation.”
So, if laxatives are no better than placebo for children, what about adults?
A review of the effectiveness of laxatives in adults concluded that what you really need is dietary and lifestyle change along with increased fluid intake. Perhaps this is why “there’s no good evidence that laxatives prevent constipation in older adults.”
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet is against laxatives. She says they are meant for people with healthy digestive systems and, as she points out, when you’re chronically constipated, your digestion needs a lot more help than a laxative can offer.
So leave off the laxatives and try a natural remedy for constipation from the ten below. Or try several. Read them all and pick your favorites. They work!
Taking magnesium has a natural laxative effect, so it’s a great natural remedy for constipation. Magnesium is a mineral that relaxes tense muscles and acts as a stool softener, drawing water into the stools, making it safe and effective.
In fact, constipation is one of the signs of magnesium deficiency!
A Japanese study of almost 4,000 women found that the two things that are guaranteed to make you go are…
Dr. Carolyn Dean says that 80 percent of us are low in magnesium, so it’s no wonder constipation is one of the biggest health problems.
Magnesium oxide is the usual choice for a constipation home remedy, but Dr. Dean says almost any form of magnesium will do.
Only about 4 percent of magnesium oxide is retained by the body – the rest is excreted – so it’s not the best for increasing your body’s magnesium levels even though it's good for constipation.
To prevent future constipation, you might also want to take a second form of magnesium as a daily nutrient; one that’s more bioavailable. For example, liquid mineral drops or magnesium citrate powder mixed into a glass of water or magnesium orotate.
Read more about magnesium as a natural remedy, the most bioavailable forms and how it helps you sleep, which is important for ending constipation (see #8 below.)
Chocolate is high in magnesium, which is probably why it can have a laxative effect. But what you need instead of chocolate is to…
One reason millions of people in North America and other parts of the world are constipated is because our toilets are too high. It’s also one of the reasons a lot of people have hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
When you sit on the throne, you have to strain to get your poop out, putting pressure on blood vessels in the anus and legs. The angle is all wrong.
The natural pooping position for humans is a squat. When you squat, your intestines are lined up in the right position for you to poop with no effort. No pain, no strain.
So here’s the natural remedy for constipation that will change your life…
Get a footstool and put it right against the front of your toilet. It should be around 7 to 9 inches high. When Nature calls and you sit down, put your feet on the stool and lean forward a little so you are basically in a squat position.
Now let gravity work its magic. You shouldn’t need to do any straining or pushing, especially if you are using some of the other natural remedies for constipation in this article.
And here’s a simple but important tip: try to go to the bathroom when your body signals you that it needs to go. Holding on for hours is going to make constipation symptoms worse.
Why's water such an important constipation home remedy?
Dr. James LaValle says it's because the large intestine actually takes water out of the stools to help with digestion. So if you don't drink enough water, your stools will be hard as rocks and you'll be constipated.
If you are dehydrated – and many of us are, even if we don’t realize it – water and water-rich vegetables and fruit will help relieve constipation. Think watermelon, grapefruit, cucumbers, celery, spinach – in fact, almost any vegetable is a good choice.
Herbal tea is also a natural remedy for constipation. Try these…
How much should you drink?
Divide your body weight in two. For example, if you weigh 120 lbs, half of that is 60. That’s how many ounces of water and/or herbal tea you need to drink every day.
Preferably, your water will be free of chemicals. Dr. Lawrence Wilson recommends spring water or carbon-filtered tap water for constipation symptoms. A good water filter to remove chemicals will make life easier for your bowel.
Add magnesium-rich mineral drops to your water or tea to make it an even more effective natural remedy for constipation.
If you tend to get sleepy in the afternoon, a side benefit to drinking water is that you’ll have more and better energy – because being dehydrated makes you tired.
In her ground-breaking book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride says, “Constipation is always a sign of deficient gut flora in children and in adults.”
To restore your intestinal flora, probiotics are the crucial natural remedy for constipation.
According to Dr. Louis Liu, a gastroenterologist at the University of Toronto, probiotics help improve stool consistency and frequency. Need I say more?
If you’ve been eating a standard diet of processed foods, taking medications, or living with too much stress, your gut flora will need help from a good probiotic, whether you take it as a supplement in capsule or powder form or get your probiotics by eating sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables.
Commercial yogurt is not the best source of probiotics since it usually isn’t fermented long enough to contain the amount of bacteria you need. If you make your own yogurt, that may work, as long as you tolerate dairy. But…
Be careful with dairy because…
The best source of fiber is in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. This is why prunes are the classic natural remedy for constipation.
You need both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fibre forms a gel-like substance in your intestines and helps to soften the stool. Insoluble fiber acts like a broom, to help whisk it out.
Good choices of fiber for constipation are…
For soluble fiber: squash, pumpkin, carrots, parsnips, beets, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, peeled apples.
For insoluble fibre: leafy green vegetables, crucifers such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, apples with the skin.
Eat your soluble fiber at the beginning of your meal, so it can pre-condition your bowel before the rest of the food comes along.
Are grains a good source of fiber? Despite all the claims about cereals and fiber, the answer is… No!
In fact, if you are chronically constipated, grains are your worst source of fibre. As Loren Cordain, PhD, points out, fruits have almost twice as much fibre as grains, and non-starchy vegetables have eight times as much!
But it gets worse. Here’s why…
Whether you’ve been eating top quality organically-grown whole grains or ordinary white bread, grains can cause a huge problem for you.
Wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt and triticale contain gluten, and gluten does a weird and terrible thing to your intestines.
It can stop them from going into contractions. And if your bowel can’t do its squeezy thing… your poop isn’t going anywhere. You’re stuck with it.
To put this a little more scientifically, gluten inhibits the gastrointestinal polypeptide cholesystokinin which stimulates intestinal contractions.
Dr. James Braly says that one out of three people is gluten-intolerant (if you’re not sure whether you could be one of them, check this list of gluten allergy symptoms.)
Gluten causes leaky gut syndrome which underlies many chronic health problems. Copper in grains and legumes may also cause constipation.
The point is that, if you need a natural remedy for constipation, you might want to seriously consider a gluten-free, grain-free Paleo diet. It will liberate you from those constipating grains and load you up with fibre-rich vegetables and fruit.
And while you’re tossing the foods that cause constipation…
Moving your body is a great constipation home remedy – especially if you combine it with some of the other natural remedies for constipation on this page.
You’ve probably heard that “sitting is the new smoking.” We do a lot of sitting in chairs in North America – and it does NOT help us poop.
It would be a lot better if we squatted on the floor instead of sitting in chairs, but I realize that’s not going to happen any time soon in your office or school if you live in the industrialized world.
If you want to move your bowels, you need to move your body, whether you jump on a mini trampoline or rebounder, dance, walk, swim, ski, do yoga or any other type of movement.
Jumping on a rebounder is especially helpful for loosening up the bowel. And if you’ve ever done yoga and turned yourself into a pretzel, you probably know that the bending and twisting of many of the positions (asanas) stimulates elimination.
Exercise also gives you better...
I was surprised to learn that sleep is a natural remedy for constipation. But it makes sense.
Sleep is when your nervous system calms down and relaxes.
Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) governs your digestive process, so if you don’t get enough sleep and your ANS can’t relax and let go, guess what? Neither can your bowel. Uh-oh…
If you suffer from chronic constipation, try going to bed earlier for a good night’s sleep and give your body the time it needs to process your poop!
But what if you just can’t relax?
By the way, some people find that one cup of plain coffee helps constipation. But if you drink coffee and other forms of caffeine all day long, you are going to feel anxious, stressed and have trouble sleeping. Also, choose organic coffee, since the chemicals in conventional coffee will not do your bowel any favours.
Here’s a natural remedy for constipation that’s also a good intestinal gas reliever.
What you’re going to do is some gentle thumping on your abdomen following the direction of the colon.
1) Lie on your back. You can have your legs straight or bent, whichever is more comfortable for you.
2) Start at your lower abdomen, near the top of your right leg and start to thump gently with a cupped hand or loose fist. No heavy pounding – you’re just loosening things up, you’re not trying to injure yourself. If it feels too uncomfortable, you can also massage gently with a flat hand.
3) Thump straight up the right side of your abdomen to the level of your navel, then across your abdomen in a straight line to the left side, then down until you’re just above your left leg but still on the abdomen, then across to the starting point.
You’re basically thumping a square or rectangle on your abdomen over the ascending colon, the transverse colon and the descending colon (then you return to the ascending colon.)
4) Continue for several rounds (or rectangles…) Abdominal thumping is a constipation home remedy to help get things moving in there.
Before you say “Oh yuck!” about enemas, the reality is that a properly-done enema is comfortable and very healthy. The process gives fast, effective relief of constipation symptoms and, because the enema softens up hard stools and removes what’s stuck inside your bowel, you don’t have toxic waste rotting in your body and poisoning you.
Enemas have been around for centuries and are the best and gentlest constipation home remedy when nothing else works.
What is an enema?
Basically, you allow warm water to flow into the bowel through the anus, to loosen impacted fecal matter. You need a kit to do this, or you can have a professional colon therapist perform the enema. Kits come with a narrow tube-like hose and a container for the water. A stainless steel bucket will last longer than a bag.
One of the advantages of an enema is… you can put probiotics right into the water so the good bacteria go directly into your bowel to help restore it to normal functioning.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride highly recommends enemas for constipation. She says that they are completely safe – even for children – when performed correctly. Full instructions for the procedure are in her book.
Afterwards, she suggests a nice warm bath with Epsom salts, baking soda, sea salt or apple cider vinegar, followed by gently rubbing a good-quality cold-pressed oil into the skin of the abdomen where it will be absorbed, to help with constipation.
Constipation Home Remedy - When you're too tense to "go," use this world-renowned remedy to relieve the emotional stress that keeps you stuck.
Leaky Gut Syndrome - Is your gut causing your chronic health problems? Find out what leaky gut is doing to you and how to fix it.
Natural Sleep Remedies - these 10 remedies will calm your nervous system to relax your digestion and give you a good night's sleep.
Magnesium - the miracle mineral that relieves constipation and helps you sleep. Discover the best forms for your body.
Gluten Allergy Symptoms - Gluten is linked to an astonishing list of health problems. Is it causing your constipation?
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