Are you someone who regularly uses laxatives or stool softeners to treat their constipation? A 2023 study found that regular use of over-the-counter laxatives, especially osmotic laxatives, increased the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by more than 50%. Additionally, there is a positive correlation between laxative treatment and bloating. Although this research is still early, we should take caution about artificial laxatives and add more natural alternatives to treat constipation. But where to start? On top of foods that serve as natural laxatives, there is growing evidence that indicates addressing a disrupted gut microbiome with prebiotics and probiotics may help treat constipation. Health Fitness Revolution is here to provide healthier and more natural foods & supplements to treat your constipation!
According to a 2021 health study, Acacia gum is a soluble fiber that helps regulate bowel movements and reduces cardiovascular risk factors. Acacia gum is derived from the Acacia tree, native to Africa and Australia. When consumed, it swells up to 20 times its size, adding bulk to the stool and making it softer and easier to pass. This helps prevent constipation and promote regularity.
Acacia gum acts as a laxative, naturally softening stools to relieve constipation without irritating the intestines. Its high viscous and gel-forming properties provide stool bulk, which helps stimulate bowel movements. When stools contain more bulk, the urge to have a bowel movement is greater. This helps prevent straining, pain, and difficulty having a bowel movement – common symptoms of constipation.
Acacia gum also works by increasing water retention in the stool, making feces softer and easier to pass. It may improve gut motility and digestion, speeding the movement of stools through the colon. Several clinical studies have found Acacia gum supplements reduced constipation and increased stool frequency, softness and ease of passage compared to a placebo.
For constipation relief, Acacia gum is best taken with plenty of water or other fluids to ensure proper hydration. The typical dosage recommendation is 250 to 500 milligrams of Acacia gum dietary fiber supplements, one to three times per day. Acacia gum chewing gum or candies can also provide benefits for constipation in between fiber supplement doses when staying well hydrated.
In summary, Acacia gum helps relieve constipation through its ability to add bulk to stools, improve water retention, increase gut motility and enhance digestion. By promoting more frequent, softer and easier bowel movements, Acacia gum helps maintain a healthy digestive tract and regularity.
Aloe juice serves as a stimulant laxative for those needing immediate constipation relief. A tried and true natural remedy, aloe contains anthraquinone glycosides that act as a natural laxative. These compounds work by irritating the colon, increasing peristalsis or contractions of the intestines. This helps loosen stools and promotes a bowel movement.
The anthraquinone glycosides in aloe, such as aloe-emodin, are very effective stimulants for the bowel. They work within 6-12 hours of consumption by directly irritating the colon. This irritation stimulates contractions that help move stools through the intestines, relieving constipation and producing a bowel movement.
Aloe juice is high in moisture, which also helps add bulk and softness to stools. Softer, more bulky stools are easier to pass, reducing straining and discomfort. Aloe juice provides an immediate laxative effect for acute constipation, but should only be used occasionally or intermittently due to the irritation it can cause, especially in high amounts or with long-term use.
Some key benefits of aloe juice for constipation include:
•It contains anthraquinone glycosides that irritate the colon to stimulate bowel movements.
•It adds moisture and softness to stools, making them easier to pass.
•It provides quick relief from constipation symptoms within 6-12 hours.
•It can be effective for constipation from a variety of underlying causes including diet, medication use, medical conditions, etc.
•The laxative effect avoids excess water loss unlike other stimulant laxatives.
•It is a natural remedy with no harsh chemicals, though still causes some irritation especially with frequent use.
•It may help improve bowel regularity and digestion with regular use, though is best used occasionally for acute constipation.
In summary, aloe juice works as a stimulant laxative to quickly relieve constipation through irritated and softened stools. Though irritating in high amounts or with long-term use, aloe juice can provide safe and effective relief as an occasional remedy for acute constipation or when needed as a supplement to diet and fiber changes. Used judiciously, aloe juice helps improve bowel movements and digestive health.
Digestive bitters are alcohol-free herbal extracts that help stimulate digestion and relieve constipation. These herbs boost your digestive function by increasing the release of saliva, gastric juice, stomach acid, bile, pancreatic enzymes, and intestinal juices. And, bitters are a great remedy for bloating, gas, indigestion, flatulence and constipation.
Herbs commonly found in digestive bitters include bitter melon, dandelion, gentian root, licorice root, wormwood and peppermint. These herbs have natural laxative, diuretic and toning properties that can help relieve constipation in several ways:
•Increasing stomach acid and digestive juices. Herbs like gentian, dandelion and wormwood boost hydrochloric acid and pepsin in the stomach, helping to digest food more thoroughly. This improves absorption of nutrients and prevents hard, compacted stools.
• Stimulating bile production. Bile helps emulsify fats and absorb essential nutrients like fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Herbs like turmeric, dandelion and milk thistle stimulate bile flow, improving fat digestion and dropping cholesterol levels which can contribute to constipation.
•Adding bulk and moisture. Fiber from psyllium husk or peppermint leaves helps add bulk and softness to stools, making them easier to pass. The increased moisture prevents hard, dry stools. This provides gentle relief from constipation without irritating the intestines.
•Improving gut motility. Ginger, peppermint and turmeric have compounds that can help relax intestinal muscles, increase peristalsis and promote bowel movements. Gentle stimulation of gut motility helps stools progress through the colon for an easier bowel movement.
•Reducing inflammation. Some digestive bitters contain anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric, boswellia and licorice root which help relieve inflammation in the intestines that can contribute to constipation. Reducing inflammation improves digestion and motility.
•Acting as a mild laxative. Herbs like aloe vera, cascara sagrada and frangula have natural laxative properties. Though mild, they help soften stools and stimulate bowel movements to relieve constipation. But these should only be used occasionally to avoid irritation or dependency.
In summary, digestive bitters work through several mechanisms to help relieve constipation in a gentle, supportive manner. They boost digestion, add bulk and moisture, improve gut motility, reduce inflammation and provide mild laxative effects. Used as directed, digestive bitters help promote regularity, soft stools and an easier time using the bathroom when suffering from constipation.
Considered one of the healthiest spices on Earth, ginger is an effective natural remedy for constipation. Ginger has the digestive benefits of decreased constipation and bloating and increased microflora variation. If you don’t like the taste of ginger, consider applying some ginger oil to your stomach! A 2020 health study saw 60% of patients suffering from constipation benefit from the application of ginger oil on their abdomen twice a day. Ginger oil contains concentrated gingerol and other compounds that can help relax the intestines, reduce inflammation, stimulate digestion and improve gut bacteria when absorbed transdermally or through the skin. While ingesting ginger in food and supplements also helps, applying ginger oil may provide some additional relief for stubborn constipation.
Some key ways ginger helps relieve constipation include:
•Increasing gut motility. Ginger contains gingerol, a bioactive compound that helps relax intestinal smooth muscles and increase peristalsis or bowel contractions. This helps stools pass more easily through the colon, preventing hard, compacted stool buildup.
•Reducing inflammation. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve inflammation in the intestines contributing to constipation. By reducing swelling, ginger improves digestion and bowel movements.
•Soothing digestive upset. Ginger helps settle an upset stomach and relieves nausea, gas and bloating which can make constipation symptoms worse. Ginger’s soothing effects improve digestion and comfort for easier bowel movements.
•Improving digestion. Ginger stimulates the release of saliva, stomach acid and digestive enzymes which help break down food more thoroughly. Better digestion means stools remain softer and more formed, easing their passage.
•Boosting gut bacteria. Ginger contains prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut microbiome. A healthy gut flora aids digestion, absorbs nutrients, and produces some B vitamins and short-chain fatty acids needed for bowel health and regularity.
•Acting as a mild laxative. Ginger root has natural laxative properties that can help soften stools and promote bowel movements when needed. However, ginger laxatives should only be used occasionally to avoid dependence or irritation. Ginger is best used primarily to improve digestion and motility over the long-term.
In summary, ginger offers both ingestible and topical remedies for constipation. Consumed orally, ginger helps increase gut motility, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, soothe the stomach and boost beneficial gut bacteria. Applied topically as an oil, ginger provides direct absorption of compounds to help relax the intestines, relieve swelling and support digestive health for easier bowel movements and relief from constipation. Ginger is a very versatile natural remedy with significant benefits for digestive and gut health.
Fiber is essential for digestive and gut health, as well as relieving constipation. There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both help add bulk to the stool, soften stools, promote regularity and provide other benefits, so eating a variety of both is ideal.
Soluble fiber, like acacia gum, helps soften stools and is prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in the gut. This improves digestion, increases production of short-chain fatty acids, and boosts gastrointestinal motility naturally helping to prevent constipation. Sources of soluble fiber include acacia gum, oats, beans, lentils, prunes, and psyllium.
Insoluble fiber, such as wheat bran, helps promote stool bulking and bowel movements. It absorbs water to form a gel-like substance that adds bulk and softness to stools, making them easier to pass. Insoluble fiber also stimulates peristalsis, the movements of the intestines that push stools through the colon. Good sources include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
For those who can’t eat enough fiber through diet alone, fiber supplements are a great option to reach the daily goal. Popular supplements for constipation include psyllium husk, methylcellulose, calcium polycarbophil and polyethylene glycol. These provide bulk, softness and gentle stimulation for bowel movements without irritation.
Prebiotic and probiotic fibers work synergistically to promote gastrointestinal health and motility. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut microbiome, supporting digestion and nutrient absorption. Probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria directly, helping maintain the natural balance of bacteria and overall gut health.
Benefits of fiber for constipation relief include:
•It adds bulk and softness to stools, making them easier to pass.
•It promotes regular bowel movements and helps establish a consistent rhythm.
•It improves stool form, preventing hard, lumpy stools.
•It increases stool frequency, treating infrequent bowel movements.
•It reduces straining and discomfort associated with difficult bowel movements.
•It feeds good gut bacteria, improving digestion and gut microbiome health.
•It increases intestinal movements and peristalsis, speeding stools through the colon.
•It helps absorb excess cholesterol and control blood sugar levels when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
•It relieves symptoms of bloating, gas, abdominal pain and irritability in addition to constipation.
•It provides relief from constipation due to pregnancy, medication use, ignored urge to go or poor fiber/fluid intake.
In summary, fiber is essential for digestive health, gut motility, constipation relief and overall well-being. By consuming a variety of soluble and insoluble fibers, using supplements when needed, and choosing prebiotic and probiotic options, fiber helps relieve constipation through added stool bulk, improved digestion, increased bowel movements and a healthy gut microbiome. Eating more high-fiber, whole foods is ideal but fiber supplements also provide benefits for constipation and digestive health. Fiber is a natural, safe and effective remedy for most cases of constipation when consumed as directed.
Mineral water contains electrolytes and minerals that can help improve hydration, digestion and gut motility to relieve constipation. Specifically, mineral waters high in magnesium and sodium sulfate have been shown to stimulate bowel movements and provide constipation relief.
In a 2017 study, participants who drank 500 mL of natural mineral water rich in magnesium sulfate and sodium sulfate daily experienced triple the number of complete spontaneous bowel movements than usual. Mineral water is the perfect complement to the fibrous options on this list.
Some key benefits of mineral water for constipation include:
•Increased hydration. Proper hydration is essential for stool softness, digestion and bowel movements. Mineral water provides hydration from electrolytes and minerals to keep stools moist and promote easier passage.
•Added electrolytes. Minerals like magnesium and sodium in the water help activate digestive enzymes, improve nerve and muscle function, and maintain electrolyte balance in the body. This supports digestion, gut motility and relief of constipation.
• stimulation of bowel movements. A 2017 study found mineral water high in magnesium sulfate and sodium sulfate led to triple the number of spontaneous bowel movements compared to regular water. These minerals help draw water into the intestines to soften stools, stimulating the urge and ease of bowel movements.
•Reduced straining. Softer, moister stools require less straining to pass, reducing discomfort and health issues that can result from chronic straining like hemorrhoids or anal fissures. Easier passage of stools leads to a more satisfying bowel movement experience.
•Relief of abdominal symptoms. Mineral water helps relieve bloating, gas, cramps and discomfort that often accompany constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. By improving digestion and bowel movements, mineral water provides a settling effect on the abdomen.
•May improve stool frequency and form. Drinking mineral water daily as directed can help establish a more regular bowel pattern, prevent infrequent bowel movements, and improve stool size, softness and form for easier passage and less difficulty or pain.
•All natural solution. Mineral water contains naturally occurring electrolytes and minerals, without additives. It provides therapeutic benefits for constipation and digestion in a gentle, non-medicated way. Safe for long-term or frequent use, though excessively high mineral content can lead to other issues in some individuals.
•Can be combined with fiber and probiotics for added effect. While mineral water provides hydration and motility benefits, fiber and probiotics support digestion and gut health. Using them together helps relieve constipation through multiple mechanisms for comprehensive relief of symptoms and improving gastrointestinal function.
In summary, mineral water can be an effective natural treatment for constipation, especially when combined with fiber, probiotics and other digestive remedies. Mineral waters high in magnesium and sodium sulfate help draw water into the intestines, soften stools, stimulate bowel movements and provide relief from discomfort. By promoting regularity, improving stool form and reducing straining, mineral water helps establish a healthy digestive rhythm and bowel habits for easier, more frequent and satisfying bowel movements. For constipation, mineral water provides an all-natural solution to improving hydration, digestion and gut motility without medication. Used continuously and as directed, mineral water helps prevent and manage chronic constipation or acute digestive upset.
Prunes, also known as dried plums, are high in fiber, sorbitol and other compounds that help relieve constipation. Several studies have found that eating prunes daily improves stool frequency, softness and ease of passage, especially for those with chronic constipation.
Some key ways prunes help relieve constipation include:
•They are high in fiber. A one cup serving of prunes contains 4 grams of fiber, which is 16% of the daily requirement. Fiber provides bulk to stools, softening them and making bowel movements easier and more regular.
•They contain sorbitol, a natural laxative. Sorbitol works as an osmotic laxative by drawing water into the intestines to soften stools. This helps stimulate bowel movements and provide relief from constipation.
•They promote bowel regularity. Eating a portion of prunes daily helps establish a regular bowel habit and prevent infrequent bowel movements or alternating between diarrhea and constipation. This provides more predictable and comfortable relief using the bathroom.
•They relieve abdominal discomfort. The fiber and hydrating effects of prunes help reduce bloating, gas, cramping and abdominal pain often associated with constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. Softer, bulkier stools mean less straining and discomfort during bowel movements.
•They improve stool form. By softening stools and making them more moist and formed, prunes prevent small, hard or pellet-like stools that are difficult and painful to pass. Easier passage of stools leads to a more satisfying bowel movement.
•They may increase stool volume. Some research shows eating prunes is associated with a slight increase in average stool volume. Bigger stools mean bowel movements provide a more complete feeling of relief.
Benefits of eating prunes/dried plums for constipation include:
•High in fiber, sorbitol and other compounds to soften stools and promote bowel movements.
•Establishes regularity, bowel habits and prevents infrequent bowel movements.
•Relieves abdominal discomfort from bloating, gas, cramps and constipation.
•Improves stool form, softness and size for an easier, more satisfying bowel movement.
•May increase stool volume and frequency of bowel movements.
•Can be used as a daily supplement or occasional laxative solution for constipation. When used regularly, helps treat chronic constipation.
•All natural remedy with no fillers, binders or artificial laxatives. Safe for most people to consume in moderation, though may cause loose stools in high amounts.
•Complements mineral water for added hydration and bowel motility benefits. Staying well hydrated helps stool remain softer and bowel movements more frequent and comfortable.
In summary, prunes are a highly effective natural treatment for constipation, especially for chronic or long-term difficulties with bowel movements. High in fiber, sorbitol and other compounds, prunes help soften stools, promote bowel regularity, reduce discomfort and improve digestive health for easier and more satisfying bowel movements. Eaten daily, prunes can provide relief from constipation and establish a regular digestive rhythm when consumed as directed. For some, combining prunes with mineral water provides additional hydration and laxative benefits. Prunes are a nutritious, natural solution for constipation and digestive upset.
This soluble fiber serves as a gentle bulk-forming laxative (not one of the laxatives linked to dementia). In a 2017 study, psyllium
Psyllium also softens stools by increasing stool water content. These easy-to-take gel capsules or powder that can be incorporated into bread, pizza, or desserts. Psyllium is effective for both acute constipation relief and managing chronic constipation.
Some key benefits of psyllium for constipation include:
•It adds bulk to stools. Psyllium absorbs water as it passes through the intestines, forming a gel-like substance. This adds bulk and softness to stools, preventing hard stools that are difficult to pass. Bulkier, softer stools stimulate bowel movements and relieve constipation.
•It increases stool water content. Psyllium helps stools retain more moisture, preventing them from becoming dry and hard. Keeping stools hydrated makes them easier to pass and less likely to cause pain, straining or difficulty having a bowel movement.
•It promotes regular bowel movements. By adding bulk and softness to stools, psyllium helps establish a more regular pattern of bowel movements. This prevents both constipation (infrequent hard stools) and diarrhea (frequent loose stools). A regular schedule leads to easier, more comfortable relief using the bathroom.
•It reduces straining. Softer, bulkier stools don’t require as much straining to pass. This decreases discomfort, pain, and health issues that can result from excessive straining like hemorrhoids, anal fissures or pelvic floor dysfunction. Psyllium leads to an easier, more satisfying bowel movement experience with less strain.
•It relieves abdominal symptoms. By improving bowel movements and reducing constipation, psyllium helps relieve bloating, gas, cramping and abdominal discomfort. Psyllium’s soothing effects provide relief from other digestive issues that often accompany constipation.
•It is safe and natural. Psyllium is made from the husks of psyllium seeds. It is non-medicated, contains no additives or fillers, and is safe for long-term or frequent use. Psyllium helps relieve constipation without harming the intestines or microbiome when used as directed.
•Dosage flexibility. Psyllium comes in capsule, powder and granule forms with various dosage amounts to suit different needs. You can find options suitable for both acute constipation relief and daily management of chronic issues. The typical dosage range is 100-2000 mg per day split into multiple doses.
In summary, psyllium is an effective natural treatment for constipation. It works as a gentle bulk-forming laxative by adding softness, bulk and hydration to stools. This helps stimulate bowel movements, relieve straining, reduce discomfort and establish a healthy bowel pattern for prevention of constipation and promote an easy, satisfying experience using the bathroom. Psyllium is safe, non-medicated and provides flexible dosage options for acute relief or management of chronic constipation. When consumed as directed, psyllium can quickly relieve constipation symptoms and support digestive health over the long-term.
Triphala is an Ayurvedic herbal supplement that provides relief from constipation. It contains three fruits: haritaki, bibhitaki, and amalaki that help regulate bowel movements, cleanse the colon, and promote digestive health. Triphala is considered a gentle cleanser that can be used long-term without harm. According to a 2018 study, Triphala helps regulate bowel motility and can be used long-term, compared to pharmaceutical laxatives. Triphala works to cleanse the colon of toxins and parasites.
Some key benefits of Triphala for constipation include:
•It regulates bowel motility. According to Ayurveda, Triphala helps coordinate bowel movements and intestinal contractions to prevent constipation or diarrhea. By regulating motility, it promotes regularity and makes bowel movements easier and more frequent.
•It cleanses the colon. The herbs in Triphala are naturally mild laxatives that help remove toxins, waste buildup, mucus and parasites from the colon. Colon cleansing helps improve digestion, reduces inflammation and promotes a healthy gut environment.
•It soothes the digestive tract. Triphala has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can relieve discomfort from constipation including bloating, cramps, gas and irritability. By calming the digestive tract, it provides relief from associated symptoms.
•It increases stool bulk and moisture. The herbs in Triphala contain natural compounds like mucilage and pectin that add bulk and water content to stools. Bulkier, softer stools require less straining to pass and help establish a healthy bowel habit.
•It is safe for long-term use. Triphala is an Ayurvedic herbal formula, made of fruits that are considered naturally gentle and beneficial. It is non-medicated, contains no harsh chemicals or fillers and can be used chronically without harm. Triphala provides relief of constipation in a balanced, holistic way.
•It improves digestion over time. By regulating motility, soothing the tract, cleansing the colon and hydrating stools, Triphala helps promote better digestion and more efficient absorption of nutrients over time. Improved digestion leads to prevention of constipation, even after the initial relief of symptoms.
•Dosage flexibility. Triphala comes in capsule, powder and liquid extract forms with various Ayurvedic dosage guidelines. The typical dosage is around 2-5 grams taken 3 times daily, but can be adjusted based on individual needs. Lower doses around 1 gram provide gentle stool softening while higher doses of 3-5 grams work better for severe chronic constipation.
In summary, Triphala is an Ayurvedic herbal supplement that provides natural relief of constipation. It works by regulating bowel movements, cleansing the colon, hydrating and softening stools, soothing the digestive tract, and promoting improved digestion over time. Triphala is gently effective, safe for long-term use, and provides dosage flexibility to suit different levels of constipation relief. When taken as directed, Triphala can effectively relieve acute constipation symptoms as well as prevent chronic difficulties using the bathroom through balance, cleansing and digestive support. As an Ayurvedic herbal formula, Triphala provides holistic constipation relief in a natural and balanced manner.
Not exactly the kind of supplement you take orally, but physical activity is a great supplement to combat constipation! A large-scale digital health study conducted in 2021 found that fewer daily steps, physical activity, and sleep resulted in increased constipation. Those who live more active lifestyles reduced their risk of constipation. This is your calling to start eating healthier and moving healthier!
Constipation is affected not only by diet and supplements, but also by activity level and overall health. Leading a physically active lifestyle with regular exercise has benefits for preventing and relieving constipation. Some key ways fitness helps combat constipation include:
•Increased peristalsis. Exercise, especially cardio, helps stimulate bowel movements by increasing intestinal contractions and peristalsis. Stronger contractions push stools through the colon more easily for regular bowel movements.
•Improved digestion. Exercise releases hormones and increases blood flow that aid digestion. Better digestion means stools remain softer and more formed, reducing difficulty passing them. Digestion is also impaired by inactivity, contributing to constipation.
•Staying hydrated. Exercise promotes sweating and thirst, keeping you hydrated. Hydration is essential for stool softness and bowel movements. Dehydration is a leading cause of constipation, especially with less activity.
•Stress relief. Exercise releases feel-good hormones that can help relieve stress and anxiety. Stress contributes to digestive issues and constipation, as it diverts blood flow away from the intestines. Managing stress through fitness is vital for gut health and bowels.
•Healthier weight. Exercise and diet work together to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight puts more strain on organs like the intestines, impairing movement and digestion. Losing excess pounds improves bowel function and prevents constipation often seen with obesity.
•Prevention of medical issues. Regular exercise lowers the risk of diseases and health conditions that contribute to constipation like irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, spinal injuries or multiple sclerosis. An active lifestyle keeps systems working efficiently together, including the digestive system.
•Increased abdominal strength. Exercises like planks and bridges help strengthen core muscles including those of the abdomen and pelvis. Stronger abdominal muscles improve bowel control, prevent prolapse and make it easier to have bowel movements by pushing stools out more efficiently.
Physical fitness provides comprehensive benefits for both preventing and relieving constipation. By exercising regularly, staying active, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight and strong core muscles, you support digestive health and bowel function naturally. Even moderate lifestyle activities like walking, yoga or strength training 30-60 minutes a day 5 times a week can have significant impact. For chronic constipation, higher intensity exercise may be needed to stimulate bowel movements and release digesting hormones and nutrients. An active body leads to an efficient, regular digestive system and easier experience using the bathroom. Exercise is truly the natural supplement needed for constipation relief and prevention. By moving more and sitting less, you give your digestive health and bowels the support they need.
Exercise boosts digestion, increases peristalsis, keeps you hydrated, reduces stress, achieves a healthy weight and strengthens core muscles – all of which help prevent and relieve constipation. Leading an active lifestyle provides comprehensive benefits for digestive health, regular bowel movements and an easier time using the bathroom for better bathroom experiences and overall wellness.