Constipation is incredibly common, and you shouldn’t feel alone or helpless when dealing with this issue! Learn some simple, natural remedies for constipation and when to see a doctor about it.
Constipation is estimated to impact up to a quarter of the population, and while it’s an ailment that we like to poke fun at, it can also be uncomfortable and even painful. There are a lot of factors that can cause constipation, so you may need to try more than one of the natural remedies below to get some relief.
When Constipation is a Warning Sign
There are some instances where constipation is more than just a nuisance. It can be a symptom of serious medical conditions, so you should contact your doctor if:
- it comes on suddenly along with severe pain and stomach cramps or severe pain while using the bathroom.
- there is blood in the toilet after you poop.
- it’s accompanied by unexplained weight loss.
- it lasts more than two weeks.
- your poop is “pencil thin.”
Constipation can be a warning sign, and it can also lead to other health issues, like hemorrhoids and urological disorders, so it’s important to address it as soon as possible.
Natural Remedies for Constipation
1. Drink more water. Your gut needs water to move things along, and not drinking enough can stop you up. Eight glasses a day is a general guideline, but individuals actually need more or less than those 64 daily ounces to stay healthy.
2. Eat more fiber. Water and dietary fiber work together to keep things moving through your body. Try adding more fiber-rich foods to your diet or taking a natural fiber supplement, especially if you’re not eating a lot of plant-based foods.
3. Look at your medications and supplements. Iron supplements, for example, can be really hard on your gut, but there are alternatives that are not as constipating. Google the side effects of anything you’re taking regularly to see if it could be making you irregular. If a medication is to blame, talk to your doctor about alternatives.
4. Eat more probiotics. There is a growing body of research suggesting that probiotics can help ease constipation. When you think probiotics, you probably think of yogurt, but there are plenty of other probiotic-rich foods that you can add to your diet.
5. Do some yoga. Certain yoga poses can help stimulate the digestive tract and give you some relief from constipation. Yoga Journal has an eight-pose series aimed at supporting digestive health that’s worth trying!
6. Try a Squatty Potty. A Squatty Potty is just a little stool that you put your feet on while you’re using the toilet. It helps your body simulate a squatting position, which is ideal for pooping. You don’t have to buy the Squatty Potty brand, that’s just the one I’m familiar with. We bought ours years ago, and there are lots of similar step stools on the market now.
7. Don’t hold it. I know, there are situations where you’d rather not stop to use the bathroom. Maybe you’re at an outdoor festival, and the Port-o-Let isn’t your ideal pooping place. Maybe you don’t like to poop at work or at school. Holding it in now can make it a lot harder to go later, so if you can, try not to put off the call of nature!