5 Natural Remedies for Constipation

May 5, 2024 9 mins to read
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So, you’re constipated and you’d prefer to go the natural route…well look no further! In this article I’m going to cover 5 natural remedies for constipation. This list is set-up as more of a guide (in descending order), starting with the most basic remedy at number 1. That means you can start with the first remedy, and work your way down the list, until you find something that works for you!

Want tailored 1-on-1 help getting your bowels healthy again, naturally? Book a virtual appointment with a nutrition professional!

How many bowel movements are normal?

Generally, you should have a bowel movement at least once per day; ideally once after every meal, but few of us are that functional! There are some exceptions of course, for example if you are on the OMAD (One Meal a Day Diet), then you are obviously going to poop less…less (food) in = less (waste) out. But if it’s been a few days since you had a healthy bowel movement, or if you generally feel plugged up…then this guide is for you!

Why are Bowel Movements Important?

Your poop is your main detox pathway, right along-side your urine. So if it gets backed up, it means a lot of those toxins are sitting in the body and add to the toxic load the body has to deal with.

Time for a check-up?

It goes without saying that if you’ve had a sudden change in bowel movements, frequent constipation or if constipation is accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal discomfort/pain, bleeding in stool, fatigue, etc…then it always best to get a check-up at your local licensed physician, to rule out anything more serious. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, lets continue!

Water & Exercise

Before I even get started on this list…it goes without saying, that getting enough water is important for bowel movements. Your body is roughly 60% water, so you kind of need it. Get reverse osmosis or vapor distilled water, to save your brain and body from toxic fluoride, chlorine and other chemicals, commonly found in tap water.

Exercise, whether that be walking, going to the gym, yoga, or whatever your preferred form…helps move and stimulate those organs, and logically can help with ensuring regular, healthy bowel movements. If you are sitting 8-10 hrs out of every day, then it makes sense that you’d be constipated…the human body is not designed to be sedentary for long periods of time.

So make sure right off the bat that you’re drinking adequate water for your body size and activity level, and daily exercise to keep those bowels healthy!

1. Fiber, Probiotics and Prebiotics | 5 Natural Remedies for Constipation

Fiber essentially ferments in the intestines and helps agitate them (peristalsis) so that bowels move that waste along, it also serves as a prebiotics (food) for the healthy gut bacteria that are part of your gut microbiome – a diverse community of bacteria; believe it or not but 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut! Fiber can be found i things like fruits and veggies, but some easy forms to add to the diet, and my personal favorites, are (organic) flax seed powder and Psyllium husk.

Probiotic foods include things like saurkraut, kimchi and kefir; goats milk kefir is a great option if you’re sensitive to cows dairy. And/or you can opt for a high quality probiotic supplement.

There are a million garbage probiotic supplements out there and most of them won’t make it past your stomach acid to actually be effective…What I like to use with my clients who want to boost their gut health is Youngevities Ultimate Microbiome – a probiotic and gut healing complex; I also like to cycle it in my own diet every few months to boost my own gut (digestive tract/intestinal) health.

Carnivore Diet

If you are coming here because you are constipated on the carnivore diet…let me tell you…The carnivore diet is a whole other ballgame…meat liquefies…so if you’re not also consuming dairy, then once your body adapts to the carnivore diet, you’re more likely to have diarrhea, than to be constipated. If you are constipated on the Carnivore diet, you can either try the route of adding more fat into your diet and removing dairy, or you can add supplements like the ones listed here…it really depends on your unique health history, and why you are trying the carnivore diet. Book a Virtual Appointment to work with a (carnivore diet experienced) nutrition professional!

2. Vitamin C | 5 Natural Remedies for Constipation

Vitamin C can be a helpful ally against constipation. It works by helping with water retention in stool, essentially helping to softening stool and make it easier to pass, while also giving your digestive muscles a gentle nudge to keep things moving smoothly. Excess vitamin c is excreted in urine, making it quite safe to take.

Vitamin C Side Effects: Can cause digestive issues like diarrhea and stomach cramps, increase the risk of kidney stones, interfere with iron absorption, and potentially harm tooth enamel. But you’ve have to take A LOT for that to happen!

My Favorite brand is Youngevity Vitamin C by Dr. Wallach, which you can buy below by clicking the button.

3. Magnesium | 5 Natural Remedies for Constipation

There are as many forms of magnesium as there are fingers on my hands (actually more), but the two best forms for constipation are magnesium citrate, which has a slightly laxative effect, or magnesium oxide, which has a much stronger laxative effect. If you combine magnesium with vitamin C, you have an anti-constipation duo!

Magnesium Side Effects: Excessive magnesium intake can lead to various side effects, including diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, it may cause electrolyte imbalances, muscle weakness, and irregular heartbeat in severe cases.

I don’t actually have a favorite standalone magnesium, but I do often like to put my clients on something foundational to start, which is this Plant Based (100% Natural) Mineral Complex that contains up to 77 different minerals, including magnesium. You’re body needs 91 essential nutrients, and this gives a good amount of those (77/91).

4. Abdominal Self-Massage | 5 Natural Remedies for Constipation

This is a gentle massage technique that can help stimulate bowel movements by promoting relaxation of the abdominal muscles and facilitating movement of stool through the intestines. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Find a Comfortable Position: Lie down on your back in a comfortable position, such as on a bed or yoga mat.
  2. Relax: Take a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind.
  3. Warm Up Your Hands: Rub your hands together to warm them up before beginning the massage.
  4. Start at the Right Lower Abdomen: Place your hands just above your right hip bone. Use gentle, circular motions to massage in a clockwise direction (following the direction of your colon). Continue this motion for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Move Up to the Right Side: Gradually move your hands upward along the right side of your abdomen, continuing the clockwise massage motion. Focus on applying gentle pressure and massaging in a rhythmic manner.
  6. Cross Over to the Left Side: Once you reach the area below your rib cage on the right side, gently move your hands across your abdomen to the left side. Repeat the circular massage motion in a clockwise direction on the left side of your abdomen.
  7. Finish in the Lower Left Abdomen: Continue the massage until you reach the lower left abdomen, just above your left hip bone. Again, use gentle circular motions in a clockwise direction.
  8. Repeat as Needed: You can repeat the massage as needed, but be sure to listen to your body and stop if you experience any discomfort.

5. Cascara Sagrada | 5 Natural Remedies for Constipation

This is a natural Laxative that almost always helps me, when I find myself a bit constipated, or simply want to move things a bit faster! This is a herb commonly used in ayurvedic medicine and it functions by irritating the intestines, stimulating them to move and evacuate (excrete) whatever is in them…in other words it helps you to poop. This should only be used once in a while, as using it too much could lead to a dependency; this is why I don’t usually recommend the more common Senna laxative, because it can be much easier for the body to become dependent on Senna Vs Cascara Sagrada – which is a bit more gentle in it’s laxative effect.

Cascara Sagrada side effects: Excessive or prolonged use of cascara sagrada may lead to side effects such as abdominal discomfort, cramping, diarrhea, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and dependence on laxatives for bowel movements. It’s important to use cascara sagrada cautiously and in moderation to avoid these potential adverse effects.

I don’t actually have a preferred brand of cascara sagrada, so check out your local health food store!

Conclusion

It’s always important to look at the basics first like ensuring adequate hydration and exercise, as well as getting enough fiber in your diet. Once you have the basics covered, it’s time for some specific supplements and herbs that can help with constipation like Vitamin C, Magnesium…and if nothing else is working Cascara Sagrada. If the tips on this article don’t get your bowels moving, you can always fall back on the tried and true “enema”, or go to a professional for “colon hydrotherapy”; not a very enjoyable experience, but maybe necessary, if all else has failed. I wish you all the best in your bathroom escapades! Check out the Bristol stool chart, to learn more about your poop!

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Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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