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May 16, 2023
Can't Poop? Try These 10 At-Home Remedies
No one likes to talk about it, but everyone does it (though some may have a harder time than others).
Constipation is defined as pooping less than three times per week, or having bowel movements that are hard and dry.
If you struggle with constipation, you're not alone. Around 16 out of every 100 adults have constipation symptoms, and in the over-60 crowd, the rate skyrockets to 33 out of every 100 adults (1).
In this article we’ll give you 10 at-home remedies to help relieve your constipation.
10 At-Home Constipation Remedies
Find relief by trying these home remedies for constipation.
1. Drink More Water
Dehydration is linked to constipation, and increasing how much water you drink may help ease your symptoms (2). This is especially true if you drink mineral water infused with magnesium and sodium (3).
Many health professionals suggest drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water every day (4). For example, if you weigh 170 pounds, you should try to drink 85 ounces of water throughout the day. If you have trouble drinking plain water, try adding in flavored collagen powder for some added flavor and health benefits.
2. Exercise and Move More Throughout the Day
3. Take a Quality Probiotic
Supplementing with probiotics, a type of good bacteria that lives in your gut, could help treat and prevent constipation (8). In addition to helping kick your constipation, probiotics can help boost your immune health and skin health, and may even slightly lower your blood pressure (9).
Our NativePath Probiotic offers a custom blend of 10 different strains of probiotics, which work together to improve your gut health.
4. Eat Prebiotic Foods
Prebiotics aren’t the same thing as probiotics. Probiotics are the bacteria that live in your gut, while prebiotics are a type of fiber that probiotics feed on. It’s important to make sure your gut has a healthy blend of both, especially if you’re taking a probiotic supplement (10). Prebiotic foods can help relieve constipation symptoms. Some examples include garlic, bananas, apples, onions, flaxseed, and asparagus.
5. Eat More Fiber
Some people experience constipation because they’re not eating enough fiber. On average, American adults eat 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day. To put this number in perspective, the USDA recommends a daily intake of 21-25 grams of fiber for women and 30-38 grams for men (11).
Getting more fiber could help solve the problem by adding more volume to your stool (12). If you plan to take a fiber supplement, look for fiber that is soluble and non-fermentable, because this can help speed up waste passage in the digestive system. You can also eat more fiber-rich foods like beans, berries, apples, and flaxseed.
6. Take Quality Magnesium Citrate
A high-quality magnesium citrate supplement can serve as a natural laxative, and may be easier on your stomach than other, harsher forms of magnesium. It’s considered an osmotic laxative, which means it can help fluids move more easily through your digestive tract. Magnesium citrate is also one of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium, which means that your body can easily absorb it (13).
7. NativeBody Reset
Our customized, doctor-designed diet and exercise plan, NativeBody Reset, can help you remove inflammatory and gut-irritating foods from your diet. The NativeBody Reset eating plan is inspired by the rich, nutritious whole foods that our ancestors ate. It also features 30 days of at-home exercise—and as we now know, getting moving can help ease constipation too!
8. Drink Tea
Some (but not all) types of tea can help you get your digestive system moving. The key is to know which types of tea to look for. Peppermint tea, green tea, and senna tea can all have a laxative effect to varying degrees. One powerful laxative tea is cascara. It can be really strong, so make sure you only drink the amount that’s recommended.
9. Do a Colonic Massage
Some people find constipation relief by manually massaging their colons. This can speed up the movement of waste through the digestive tract (14). You can do this by laying down on your back and applying gentle pressure to your stomach in the horseshoe shape of your colon. Depending on your specific needs and symptoms, you can find tutorials online tailored to your situation.
10. Sit in a More Natural Position
Next time you need to go to the bathroom, place a small footstool on the floor in front of the toilet. Put your feet on the stool so you’re in more of a natural squatting position over the toilet rather than a sitting position. That can help reduce strain.
What If These Remedies Don’t Work?
If your constipation symptoms are frequent or are accompanied by other changes in your digestive habits, be sure to talk to your primary care doctor so they can help you find the root cause of the problem.
What do allergies, autoimmune disease, and brain fog all have in common? They can all be caused by leaky gut syndrome.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Can't I Poop on my Period?
Constipation is a typical (and super annoying) symptom of periods. Experts believe this probably happens due to changes in your hormone levels while you’re menstruating. Fortunately, if you have period-related constipation, it should pass once your time of the month is over.
Why Can't I Poop After Surgery?
Constipation happens to a lot of patients post-surgery. This can have a lot of causes, including side effects of pain medication, anesthesia, fluid imbalances, diet changes, possible infection, and more. While it can be unpleasant, doctors and nurses know what to expect and will help you manage it as you recover.
When is Constipation an Emergency?
If you’re experiencing constipation at the same time as severe or constant stomach pain, vomiting, blood in your stool, or bloating, you should see a doctor immediately.
As a writer, editor, and wellness seeker, Claire has written for Self, Health, Prevention, CNN, Mic, Livestrong, and Greatist, just to name a few. When she's not writing, she specializes in traveling, getting lost in health-related research rabbit holes, and finding new ways to spoil her cat.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.