15 Ways to Relieve Constipation (Fast!)
18 Mar, 2021
You know the feeling. It’s a little no-go in your gut. Your poops are harder than the Sunday crossword. And much like our lazy asses on an average Netflix-heavy weekend, your BMs simply don’t want to move.
Constipation is normal and it sucks. You can be bloated and uncomfortable, full and crampy, and you can even feel your hard poops that don’t want to pass. Overall? It’s a bum-mer.
Fear not, our constipated friend. There are many ways to undo your doo doo block. Here are 15 TUSHY-tested methods to alleviate your backed up back end:
1. Ingest More Fiber
Fiber is to pooping like gas is to making a car go vroom. It really helps speed up the whole thing! Fiber can be taken as a supplement -- think water-soluable options like psyllium husk. Or you can opt to add it to your diet in the traditional way: via raw fruit and veggies on your plate. Prunes and wheat bran in, poop out!
2. Enjoy A Tall Glass of Water
Chug! Chug! Chug! Or sip! Either way, make it your goal to down 12 glasses (yes 12!) a day. That amounts to 1.5 liters.
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation. Your intestines aren’t able to add enough H2O to your BM to get it across the finish line. This results in dry, lumpy doos that get stuck in the pooping process.
12 glasses gives your body the water it needs to refresh your system and help break down food in the gut. Think of it like a shower for your colon! It’s absolutely crucial for constipation prevention and relief.
3. Sit Down With A Cuppa
A cuppa joe in the morning isn’t a cr*pshoot. Coffee is a natural stimulant and an A+ diuretic; studies show that 29% of people will have to do #2 within 20 minutes of their morning brown brew. The caffeine helps activate the muscles around your colon, which is a reliable way to get your poo cooking. Careful, coffee is also pretty dehydrating so be sure to keep water in your system alongside your Starbucks.
4. Get That A** Moving
Getting your bod moving helps get that BM grooving. Exercise (especially cardio) helps boost your blood flow. When the blood pumps harder around your intestinal muscles, it causes stronger contractions around your digestive tract. The stronger the contractions, the quicker your food moves through the GI system. So don’t be shy about movin’ your body!
5. Feel Real Lax(ative)
TUSHY says re-lax! Laxative stimulants are a time-tested constipation ender. Generally, laxatives have chemicals that help bulk up your poos, make them more mobile and increase frequency for temporary constipation relief. Stimulant laxatives kick your intestinal lining into action, which speeds up the stool’s journey through the large intestine. Go-to laxatives of this nature include Bisacodyl medications like Durolax, Ducodyl, Correctol, or senna-sennosides like Senokot.
6. How About A (C)Osmotics Cocktail?
In the straight-up X-rated words of WebMD, “The wetter the better is the osmotic laxative’s mission.” Ok, girlie! This type of laxative draws fluids into the intestine, which hydrates the stools to make them easier to pass. Drink lots of water with osmotic laxatives, which include MiraLAX and magnesium hydroxide medications like Phillips Milk of Magnesia.
7. Massage Your Colon
You don’t simply deserve a little massage — you may need one! Colonic massage helps to relieve constipation by releasing gas and waste products. And it downgrades stress, which is a real bowel clencher (and cause of constipation). Be sure to drink lots of water before and after the rub down.
8. Squat to Poop
Good pooping position reduces strain and allows for more complete bowel emptying than standard toilet position. As an added bonus, squatting may prevent hemorrhoids (also associated with straining). If you don’t have a TUSHY Ottoman, treat yourself (and your constipation) to proper pooping posture.
9. Get Slippery With A Suppository
What goes up must come down. In this case, suppositories are going up (the butt). There, they lubricate and soften the stool, and mildly irritate the bowels to prompt a poop. Then they come right back down, with poo bringing up the rear, so to speak.
10. Keep Your Friends Close, But Your Enemas Closer
Enemas are rectal water infusions intended to clean out or stimulate the bowels. They’ve been used for centuries to treat chronic constipation. The most common types of enemas include water or saline (the least irritating option), Epsom salt (which is said to be more effective at relaxing bowel muscles), and sodium phosphate (irritates your rectum to prompt it to expand and release waste). They can be risky when self administered, so be sure to read up before you seek relief with this method.
11. Take A Peace Offer With A Stool Softener
A stool softener is a type of laxative, and they are gentle enough to use regularly. They aren’t the most potent laxative on the market, but if you have mild or temporary constipation this may be a great option.
12. Try A Low-FODMAP Diet
A low-FODMAP diet limits certain types of carbs that tend to exacerbate digestive issues. The diet is especially helpful for folks with irritable bowel syndrome, because FODMAPs draw water into the gut, which can cause bloating and fermentation. I
f you want to give it a try, you’ll want to skip fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols. The diet doesn’t help everyone, but a 6-8 week trial period will give you a good idea if this restrictive meal plan is good for your gut.
13. Become A Pro with Probiotics
Probiotics are healthy, beneficial bacteria that naturally occur in fermented foods. When you eat foods like kombucha and sauerkraut, the probiotics hang around the digestive tract and help regulate inflammation, immune function, heart health and digestion. Studies find that probiotics can also help reduce IBS symptoms and increase stool frequency. So, it’s definitely worth a try!
14. Olive Oil for Breakfast?
Olive oil is a natural laxative that is said to help soften stools. Since it isn’t a medicine, there isn’t a standard recommended dose or anything. You can consider mixing a spoonful of EVOO in with orange juice in the morning, and taking it on an empty stomach. The effect should be mild, but this is an easy tactic to try to tackle constipation.
15. Sip Some Tea
Hot tea can help warm your gut and encourage a BM. And some herbs are especially helpful for constipation (think senna and ginger). If your gut is in knots, you deserve an easing warm drink.
When to See A Doctor
Constipation affects roughly 16% of adults, so it’s very normal. When paired with other symptoms, you may have a bigger health problem. If you’re experiencing fainting, black or bloody stool, rectal bleeding, breathing problems, a rigid bloated or painful abdomen, fever (101 degrees or higher), rapid heart rate, yellowing of the skin or eyes or vomiting -- seek medical attention ASAP. Otherwise, you may as well rinse, wash and repeat with some of the above. Good luck!