- Constipation is usually defined as having fewer than 3 bowel movements a week
- Causes of constipation can vary depending on the age of the person
- Various home remedies can speed up the digestive process, including high-fiber foods and fruit
- Before reaching for over-the-counter and prescription medications, try to solve the problem with home remedies
According to this 2016 study, chronic constipation affects 20% of the population. Constipation is a common bowel health problem that causes bloating and difficulty passing stool.
Fiber deficiency, dehydration, and stress are only some of the causes, though they can differ among demographics.
Numerous home remedies can help manage constipation, but it is crucial to see what will work best for you. Here are 15 tried-and-true home remedies for constipation that may provide relief.
- List of Top 15 Home Remedies for Constipation
- Constipation for Kids
- Constipation for Adults
- Constipation for Elders
- Wrapping Up
- 1) How much fiber should one consume on a daily basis to prevent constipation?
- 2) What are some herbs or herbal teas that can be taken to relieve constipation?
- 3) Are there any yoga poses or exercises that can be done to ease constipation?
- 4) Can taking probiotics or prebiotics help to alleviate constipation?
- 5) How effective is drinking warm lemon water for treating constipation?
List of Top 15 Home Remedies for Constipation
Below are some tried and tested constipation remedies, some of which act quicker than others:
- Aloe Vera juice
- Drinking plenty of water
- Mint tea
- Ginger tea
- Foods rich in fiber, especially soluble fiber
- Caffeinated coffee
- Probiotic foods
- Healthy fats like nut butter or olive oil
- Lemon water
- Castor oil
- Sesame seeds.
In this article, we will look at the home remedies for treating constipation and relieving constipation symptoms in-depth. We will also discuss tips to improve digestive health and lifestyle habits that can help prevent constipation.
Constipation for Kids
Constipation is common among kids, especially when they are two to three years old and starting to use the toilet. Constipation for kids is deemed as fewer than three bowel movements per week. Luckily, constipation in childhood is mostly a temporary issue and can be easily treated. However, to treat it, you must first learn what causes it and how to identify the symptoms in your kid:
Constipation occurs in children when the colons’ muscle movements are too slow, making the stool move very slowly through their colons. The colon absorbing the excess water while producing stool further complicates the issue. As a result, their stool becomes extremely dry and hard.
When kids become constipated, the situation can rapidly worsen since dry stools hurt when pushing out. As a result, the kids might stop going to the toilet, leading to a vicious cycle in which the more they withhold, the more constipated they become. The colon will eventually lose its ability to detect stool.
Understanding childhood constipation causes helps prevent future constipation cycles. Kids can become constipated for a variety of reasons. Among the most common causes are:
- Not eating fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables
- Not hydrating enough
- Being constantly interrupted or feeling pressured when toilet training
- Being worried or nervous about something
- Routine changes
- Not going to the toilet when they have the urge, especially when they need to use a public restroom
- Intolerance or allergies to dairy
- Constipation runs in the family.
Keep in mind that there are times when there is no obvious cause.
Constipation in kids may manifest as diarrhea at times, which can be perplexing. A large stool can become stuck in the rectum, so liquid stool is being passed around it.
If your kid exhibits the following symptoms, they may be constipated:
- Haven’t had bowel movements for a couple of days
- Cramps, stomach pain and bloating
- Soiling accidents
- Stool is dry, large, and hard
- Stool resembles tiny pellets
- They are in pain or straining while having a bowel movement
- They bleed during or after the bowel movement
- Feeling full
- Poor appetite improves after they succeed to go in the toilet
- Soft or liquid stool on their underwear.
Constipation symptoms can mimic those of other medical conditions. So, make an appointment for your kid to see a doctor for a diagnosis so that you can have peace of mind.
Tips to Treat Constipation in Kids
There are some lifestyle and diet changes you should implement to treat constipation in children:
More Fluids and a High-Fiber Diet
A high-fiber diet includes plenty of fresh veggies and fruits, whole-grain bread, cereals, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. You can even treat them with popcorn made with butter and a pinch of salt. In addition, probiotic-rich foods, such as yoghurt, can help with keeping the digestive system healthy. It is crucial to limit fast food since it is high in fat. Instead, provide more balanced snacks.
Focus on high-fiber meals, but do not forget about the importance of hydration. You may make the issue worse if children consume a lot of high-fiber meals but do not drink enough water to help flush it out of their system. Children should drink plenty of fluids a day, especially water. Sugary drinks should be limited to 4 ounces per day for young children and 6-8 ounces for school-aged children. Also, caffeine-containing beverages, like tea, should be avoided.
Regular Physical Activity
Increased physical activity can relieve constipation in children. Regular exercises aid the normal movements of the intestines in pushing food forward as the child digests it.
Constipation is common in children who have too much screen time. Allow your kid to play outside rather than watch videos on your tablet.
Good Bowel Habits
Setting a routine for children is wise. Get them to sit on the toilet or potty after eating or before going to bed. Boys may even forget to sit on the toilet after peeing standing up, so pay special attention to them.
It is also crucial for children to eat meals consistently. Eating usually results in a bowel movement within half an hour to an hour. So, breakfast should be served as soon as possible to give children time to have a bowel movement before going to kindergarten or school.
If constipation becomes a long-term issue and the home remedies for constipation do not help your child, you should visit a doctor.
However, laxatives, along with dietary and lifestyle changes, are almost always recommended for kids. The constipation treatment may take a few months to function, but you need to be persistent. And once the issue has been resolved, you must do everything to prevent it from returning. So, the doctor may even recommend that your child continue taking laxatives for some time to ensure that their stool remains soft.
Constipation for Adults
Constipation affects approximately 16 out of 100 adults in the US, so you are not alone. The number of bowel movements adults have on a given day is affected by their health status, eating habits, sex, and age.
You should know by now that going to the toilet fewer than three times a week can be dangerous. Here are some causes of this:
Constipation can strike adults at any age. It has a variety of causes, and it is rarely regarded as a condition. Instead, it is mostly a symptom of an underlying problem. Foods with insufficient fiber and dehydration can cause constipation. Fiber-rich foods help food move through the digestive system.
Certain situations are also more likely to lead to chronic constipation. For instance, pregnant women are more prone to constipation since babies in the uterus squish the intestines, which slows down stool passage. Even after giving birth, hormonal changes can provoke constipation.
Other common causes include:
- Insufficient physical activity
- Changes in routine, like eating and sleeping at different times or traveling
- Consuming excessive amounts of cheese and milk
- Trying to resist the urge to have bowel movements.
Some medications can cause constipation:
- Strong analgesics
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Aluminum or calcium-containing antacids
- Iron supplements
- Anti-allergy medications
- Calcium channel blockers and other blood pressure medications
- Medication for mental illness.
Constipation can also be caused by muscle problems, spinal injuries, and structural issues with the digestive tract in more serious cases. Constipation can also be caused by the following medical and health conditions:
- Colorectal cancer
- Endocrine disorders
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Diverticular disease
- Constipation due to outlet dysfunction
- Multiple sclerosis, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders
- Syndrome of the sluggish bowel – the colon does not contract well and retains stool
- Obstruction of the intestine
- Problems with the digestive system
- Multiple organ diseases.
Constipation symptoms are similar in kids and adults. They include:
- Lumpy, hard, or dry stool
- Less than three bowel movements in a week
- Feeling bloated
- Unable to empty the bowels or as if there is a bowel blockage
- Painful stools
- Excessive straining during a bowel movement
- Cramps, stomach pain, and needing assistance to empty the rectum.
Tips to Treat Constipation in Adults
There are some effective remedies for natural constipation relief you can try before going to the doctor:
Eat foods for natural constipation relief
Fiber helps stool pass through the colon. So, one of the best natural home remedies is eating foods that are high in fiber, like oats, cereal, whole wheat pasta, fibrous vegetables and fruits, nuts, brown rice, beans, lentils, peas, and so on.
When it comes to fruits, keep in mind that the skins of fruits contain the majority of fiber. Also, strawberries and other fruits with edible seeds have the most fiber. Bran cereal contains a lot of fiber, so try to consume it or add it to yogurt or soup. Constipation sufferers should consume between 18 and 30 grams of fiber per day.
Foods that may cause constipation, like chips, deli meat, frozen meals, fast food, and processed foods, should be avoided. Simply put, adults should try to have a healthy diet.
Stay hydrated with the right fluids
Adults should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily to help them push the stool out. Also, you should consider drinking caffeinated coffee. While alcohol and caffeinated beverages can dehydrate you, a cup of coffee in the morning helps many adults to have a bowel movement. However, we should note that milk can cause constipation in some adults, so we advise you to skip the macchiato in the morning.
We agree that it is not the most delicious way to start the day, but try to consume a teaspoon of olive oil on an empty stomach. The olive oil will act as a stool softener and lubricant in the digestive tract, making it easier to empty your bowels.
If you are not a fan of olive oil, squeeze fresh lemon juice in the morning. Having a glass of lemon juice in the morning and before you go to bed is an effective way to encourage bowel movements. We recommend drinking the juice with a straw because your teeth can become sensitive if you drink it regularly.
Prune juice and dried prunes
Prunes are one of the most used natural home remedies for constipation. Although prune juice lacks the fiber of dried fruit, both of them are high in sorbitol. Sorbitol enters the gut undigested and draws water in, bulking up the stool and stimulating a bowel movement.
Exercise and massage
Adults should try to exercise regularly. As their metabolism slows down, physical activity keeps their bowels moving. Also, massages are helpful. You should massage your abdomen in a specific pattern to encourage bowel movements.
Correct your toilet posture
Leaning back, squatting, or raising your legs can make it easier to have a bowel movement. Just be careful not to clench your muscles when on the toilet because that can cause constipation.
Probiotics and prebiotics
The bacteria imbalance in your intestines may cause digestive issues, including constipation. Prebiotic foods, such as oatmeal and bananas, and probiotics like fermented foods and yogurt, can be beneficial.
If you know that a low-fiber diet is your constipation cause, taking a fiber supplement can help you induce bowel movements. They are efficient supplements and work by increasing the volume of your stool. By doing this, they help in the passage of stool through your intestines.
Take a stimulant laxative
Laxative stimulants work by squeezing the intestines to force a bowel movement. You can find these stimulants at your local pharmacy. They can have an effect in six to 12 hours. However, laxative stimulants are recommended only for severe constipation that has not responded to other treatment options.
We should note that many adults suffer from chronic constipation, and the mentioned home remedies may not provide constipation relief. In such cases, you should go to the doctor. Your doctor can order all varieties of tests and medical procedures depending on your overall health, symptoms, and medical history.
Besides a digital rectal exam and a general physical exam, doctors use blood tests, an x-ray, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and other medical procedures if needed to diagnose chronic constipation and find the cause.
Constipation for Elders
Many elderly people suffer from constipation regularly. One-third of adults aged 60 and up experience at least occasional constipation, and the prevalence is 50% or higher among nursing home residents. In the community, the prevalence is 26% for women and 16% for men over the age of 65.
Chronic digestive discomfort can have a significant impact on older adults’ life and may happen for various reasons:
Constipation, like many other issues that affect the elderly, is frequently caused by several risk factors. Such issues can be caused or exacerbated by:
- Side effects of medication (the above-mentioned ones)
- Not enough dietary fiber
- Not being hydrated enough
- Electrolyte imbalance, such as abnormal magnesium, blood calcium, or potassium levels
- Endocrine problems
- Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Dysfunction of the pelvic floor
- Depression or anxiety
- Very little physical activity due to reduced mobility
- “Mechanical obstruction” (when the function of the rectum or colon is hampered by a lump, mass, or narrowing)
- Multiple chronic diseases.
Although it may be best to have a bowel movement once a day, having them every two to three days, especially for elderly people, is considered normal. However, in no case should they be painful.
Here are some symptoms of constipation in elders:
- Having difficulty passing a bowel movement (straining)
- Stools that are too small or too hard
- The feeling of incomplete evacuation
- Abdominal pain or swollen abdominal
- Feeling that you need to help your stools to come out
- Less than two bowel movements a week.
Tips To Treat Constipation in Elders
Elderly people can also achieve constipation relief with natural remedies. The first thing older adults should do is increase their dietary fiber intake from 25 to 30 g daily. In addition, they should increase their physical activity to improve their bowel regularity.
Other things they should incorporate in their life to improve the function of the digestive tract are the following:
Healthy fats found in nuts and olive oil can help lubricate your intestines and relieve constipation. And it is easy to incorporate them into your diet – a salad with leafy greens and a few nuts with olive oil dressing is an excellent choice.
Raisins are a natural remedy for relieving constipation since they are high in fiber and contain tartaric acid, which has a laxative effect. Also, the health benefits of cherries and apricots include high fiber levels and improved digestive health.
Osmotic laxatives function a little bit differently than stimulant ones. They are intended to aid in the movement of fluids through your colon. Magnesium citrate is the most popular osmotic laxative for constipation prevention. Osmotic laxatives work as stool softeners by drawing water into the stool, which results in easier-to-pass bowel movements. We should mention osmotic laxatives work a little slower than stimulant ones – they start working within two to three days.
Change the bathroom habits
It is a good idea to use a toilet stool so you can reposition your body in the best possible way possible to aid in defecation. Toilet stools are designed so people can raise their knees above their hips, allowing them to relax their digestive muscles and have a bowel movement more easily.
However, if you need to treat chronic constipation and the situation does not improve quickly, you should consult your doctor to rule out whether the constipation is a symptom of some severe health condition.
Constipation is something that everyone can experience from time to time. And naturally, being constipated is frustrating and extremely uncomfortable. But if you are willing to make changes in lifestyle and diet, you may be able to provide immediate constipation relief and maintain regular bowel movements.
Regular exercising, walking, staying hydrated, and eating some high-fiber foods can help. Also, it is crucial to go to the toilet whenever you feel the urge to because not going can result in constipation.
Home remedies can also help relieve constipation, but fiber supplements will work, too.
Keep in mind that it may be necessary to experiment with various remedies to determine which ones work best for you. But if none of them work for you, you will need to consult your healthcare provider for long-term constipation relief.
1) How much fiber should one consume on a daily basis to prevent constipation?
There is no dietary reference consumption for soluble or insoluble fiber. However, most experts suggest a fiber intake of 25 to 30 grams a day, with soluble fiber accounting for about one-fourth or six to eight grams daily.
2) What are some herbs or herbal teas that can be taken to relieve constipation?
Herbal teas that have natural laxative ingredients and can help with constipation are ginger, chamomile, senna, peppermint, dandelion, licorice root, green, and black tea.
3) Are there any yoga poses or exercises that can be done to ease constipation?
Running, swimming, and jogging can all help keep the digestive system in good shape. Yoga and stretching can also relieve constipation. Some yoga poses for constipation relief are Cobra, Bow, Half Spinal, Legs up the Wall, and many others.
4) Can taking probiotics or prebiotics help to alleviate constipation?
Yes! Probiotics and prebiotics are efficient treatments for chronic constipation. They can improve bloating, stool consistency, and frequency of bowel movements in idiopathic constipation.
5) How effective is drinking warm lemon water for treating constipation?
One of the most effective and simple remedies is warm lemon water. Lemons contain citric acid – a natural laxative that fights toxins in the digestive system – and will act as stimulants and flush toxins from your body, providing immediate relief.