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Almost everyone experiences constipation from time to time. If your bowel movements are less frequent than usual, or the stool is difficult to pass, you may be constipated.
After you’ve gone several days without a bowel movement, your stool becomes harder and doesn’t move as well in your digestive system.
There are several home remedies that have been used to help ease constipation. Some people claim that drinking or soaking in apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help treat digestive issues. Learn more about this remedy and how it’s used.
Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar made from the fermented juice of apples. It’s a popularly touted home remedy for a number of conditions.
However, there’s no scientific research to support claims that ACV can ease constipation.
People who promote ACV as a treatment for constipation often claim that it:
- acts as a natural laxative
- contains pectin, a water-soluble fiber that can help improve your overall digestion
- contains digestion-friendly malic acid and acetic acid
ACV also contains small amounts of magnesium, a mineral that helps promote regular bowel movements.
Interested in trying? Buy apple cider vinegar here.
There are no official recommendations for using ACV as a treatment, however. Some people recommend drinking an ACV, honey, and water mixture twice a day on an empty stomach.
The benefits of ACV for constipation relief haven’t been proven in research. As a result, there are no official recommendations for using it as a treatment.
Although ACV is considered a food, it’s still important to use caution when consuming it for therapeutic purposes. Speak with your doctor before using ACV to treat constipation or other health conditions.
There’s some evidence that ACV may interact with certain drugs. If you take any of the following medications, talk to your doctor before consuming ACV:
- diabetes drugs
- diuretics, or “water pills”
Some parents incorporate ACV into their children’s diets or add it to their bathwater. Speak with your child’s doctor before using ACV to treat your child for constipation or other medical conditions.
Drinking small amounts of ACV is probably safe for most people, but you may experience some side effects.
The following are some of the reported side effects:
ACV may cause more frequent urination. Speak to your doctor before drinking it, especially if you take diuretics, like chlorothiazide or Lasix, or other medications.
Drinking ACV may make you queasy or gassy. Diluting it or consuming it with food may help prevent these side effects.
Regularly drinking ACV may affect your mineral levels and lead to low potassium.
Consider taking a daily multivitamin and eating potassium-rich foods, such as bananas. Get a multivitamin online.
Like any acidic beverage, ACV may erode your tooth enamel or irritate your mouth or throat.
To prevent tooth and mouth issues:
- dilute the ACV
- drink the mixture through a straw
- rinse your mouth afterward
Reduced bone density
Regularly drinking ACV may reduce your bone density. If you have osteoporosis or you’re at high risk of developing it, speak with your doctor before drinking ACV.
Drinking ACV may lead to acne and skin redness in some people.
Some people have also reported headaches after drinking ACV.
If you experience itchiness, a runny nose, or other symptoms after drinking ACV, you may be allergic to it. Stop taking it and report your symptoms to your doctor.
Constipation usually happens when waste moves through your system slowly. The longer it takes for stool to move through your digestive system, the harder it is to pass.
Older adults, particularly women, are at higher risk of developing constipation. Eating a poor diet, not drinking enough fluids, and not getting enough exercise can also lead to constipation.
Other possible causes of constipation include:
- nerve issues or blockages in your colon or rectum
- problems with your pelvic muscles
- hormonal disturbances, which may result from diabetes, pregnancy, hypothyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, or other conditions
- side effects from certain medications
Contact your doctor if you’ve noticed a major change in your stools or bowel habits. It’s important to rule out more serious conditions before treating the issue at home.
You can adopt these lifestyle habits to help prevent and treat constipation:
- Exercise. Get regular exercise. For example, you can go for a walk most days of the week.
- Add dietary fiber. Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other fiber-rich foods.
- Drink more. Drink lots of liquids, such as water, coffee, tea, or fruit juices. Most of your liquids should come from water.
- Don’t wait to go. Don’t resist the urge to have a bowel movement. Waiting to use the bathroom can lead to constipation.
- Try fiber supplements. Incorporate a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran, psyllium husk (Metamucil), or other fiber supplements into your daily routine.
If you still experience constipation after adopting these lifestyle habits, contact your doctor. You may have an underlying health condition that’s causing your constipation.
A doctor can help diagnose the cause of your constipation and prescribe treatment.
There’s no scientific evidence to show that apple cider vinegar is effective in treating constipation. Drinking small amounts is probably safe for most people, but you may experience some side effects.
If you’re looking for remedies to try at home, try these.
The longer your constipation lasts, the more difficult it may be to treat it with lifestyle changes or home remedies.
If your constipation lasts several weeks or months, speak with your doctor. They may recommend lifestyle changes, over-the-counter medications, or other treatment options.