Are you tired of others telling you to drink more water, eat more fiber, or exercise more to get rid of your chronic constipation? Then you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at this list of six remedies that amp up commonplace solutions.
Life would be so much simpler if there was just one solution to end everyone’s constipation woes, wouldn’t it? There isn’t one. But for anyone living with chronic constipation, relief can be found. From eating certain foods to finding your inner Zen, remedies are meant to ease your symptoms and allow you to find relief faster.
The next time your constipation symptoms hit, try one of these twofold approaches.
Add flaxseed to your morning yogurt and sip on coffee
The morning can be both a blessing and a curse for those dealing with chronic constipation, mainly because the waking hours are considered the best time for bowel movements. Of course, stimulating your bowel can start with breakfast. Adding soluble fiber, or the kind that helps foods slide through your digestive track, to yogurt can be a double-whammy. Yogurt is naturally rich in probiotics —bacteria that promote a healthy gut.
If you’re a coffee drinker, rejoice! Coffee is a natural stimulant and can make your colon muscles ease and contract. Studies have shown coffee may help loosen stools in some people.
Just make sure the yogurt you’re eating isn’t full of added sugars and you’re not adding extra sweeteners to your cup of morning joe. Sugar is a known cause of constipation and may make your symptoms worse.
Drink cold plain water and warm lemon water
We all need water. It’s the purest form of, well, anything and keeps our bodies running smoothly normally. As anyone with chronic constipation knows, drinking more water is also one of the simplest remedies. This is because constipation is tied to a dehydrated colon. When you’re properly hydrated, your body doesn’t need to take excess water from your colon, which means that your bowels aren’t stressed and can excrete waste naturally, without any hesitation.
On top of drinking plenty of regular water — about eight 8-ounce servings each day — try sipping on lemon water too. The citrus may help stimulate your colon. And some studies show that drinking warm water in the morning can help break down foods.
So go ahead and enjoy a warm cup of lemon water in the morning, and continue to sip on water during the day. Carrying a large water bottle wherever you go is one simple way to remember to keep sipping.
Do yoga moves and walk around the block
In Sanskrit, yoga literally means “union” or “connection.” Being in union with your body is one way that you can ease bowel problems and is another reason why practicing yoga can be good for anyone dealing with chronic constipation. Moving your body encourages normal bowel function.
In addition to yoga, adding a walking regimen to your day is an easy way to find constipation relief. Research has found that being sedentary or inactive can lead to a decrease in bowel movements. Walking is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to exercise and can trigger bowel production.
The combination of a mindful yoga session along with brisk walking is a win-win for anyone suffering with bloating associated with chronic constipation.
Eat fresh kiwis and dried fruit
Not only are kiwis delicious, but they’re full of fiber and high in water content. This helps stimulate bowel movement and production. One study found that people with bowel problems who ate two kiwis every day for four weeks experienced less constipation overall.
You likely already know that prunes are a known constipation remedy, but do you know why? Prunes are considered a laxative because of their high sorbitol content. This promotes stool bulk, making it easier to go. If dried plums just aren’t your thing, try raisins, dried apricots, or dried apples.
Looking for a good afternoon snack? Make your own trail mix with dried fruits, and eat a kiwi for good measure too!
Soak in an Epsom salt bath and play relaxing tunes
Worrying about when you’re going to, well, go isn’t going to help you. In fact, stress can be an onset of constipation. It’s part of the mind-body connection: When your mind is uneasy, your body may become uneasy too. Epsom salt baths can be easier on your stomach than laxatives, and often come with the same relief too. Soaking in Epsom salts helps relax your digestive system and increases the amount of magnesium absorbed through your skin.
Listening to a soft playlist can also be soothing to your gut. Again, it’s all about the mind-body connection. Being at peace with yourself, which comes with listening to calming music, can put your body at ease.
So while you’re already soaking in the bathtub, go ahead and listen to a peaceful soundtrack. You should find yourself in a relaxed state just as the bathwater starts to cool down.
Try an abdominal massage and essential oils
Physical touch can be a way to reset your body, especially over your belly and abdominal area. If your chronic constipation also comes with stomach cramps and bloating, this self-care practice can be very helpful for you. Start by placing your fingertips over your belly and massage in a gentle circular motion. Move upward and downward for a few minutes. For more specific techniques, ask your doctor or a massage therapist for tips.
Along with massage, essential oils aren’t a new phenomenon, but they are gaining appeal as more people discover their many benefits. (In fact, more than $1 billion was spent on essential oils in 2015.) Pure essential oils promote not only physical well-being, but also psychological well-being. Try peppermint oil to feel refreshed and rejuvenated, frankincense oil to feel more relaxed, or chamomile to feel calmed and soothed.
For a real restorative approach, rub a drop of essential oils on your hands before giving yourself an abdominal massage. Your tummy will thank you.