16 Home Remedies to Relieve Constipation

constipation“Potty problems” are something we avoid in our everyday conversations. While you may be more than willing to share how much your sore throat is torturing you, rarely do you go into the office and announce that you haven’t pooped in five days. However, constipation is not something to be embarrassed about, and if you’ve had it (and we all have) than you understand that it is no laughing matter-in fact it can be downright debilitating. Before running to the drugstore for a quick-fix laxative (which often worsen the problem) try some simple home remedies to relieve your discomfort, and keep it from coming back.

1. Oil…it gets more than cars running

Pure olive oil is more than just a healthy and tasty fat, it can also help relieve constipation. It’s not surprising really when you consider what olive oil’s texture and consistency is like- it’s practically the poster child for constipation home remedies. It stimulates your digestive system, which helps get things moving through your colon, and taken regularly it can prevent constipation as well.

You will need…
-1 tablespoon of olive oil
-1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)

Directions
In the morning consume one tablespoon of olive oil. It works best on an empty stomach, so have it before you eat anything else. If you forget, wait until later when you haven’t eaten for a while. You can mix it with a little bit of lemon juice if you like to lighten the flavor (lemon juice also acts as a natural aid for constipation.)

oil and lemon constipation remedy

2. Freshen up from the inside out

Ah the scent of a fresh lemon…did you ever think your stomach might appreciate it as much as your nose? The citric acid in lemon juice acts as a stimulant for your digestive system, and can also help flush out toxins and undigested material that may have built up along the walls of the colon. Mixing the juice with water not only lessens the intensity of the lemon flavor, but helps get you the fluids you need to get everything moving normally again.

You will need…
-1 fresh lemon
-1 cup of warm water

Directions
Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into 1 cup of warm water. Drink or sip until finished completely.

lemon juice

3. Molasses makes the world go ‘round

Blackstrap molasses has been a sweet savior for more than a few sufferers of constipation, be it chronic or occasional. The reason blackstrap molasses works so well is because of how it is made. Regular molasses is essentially pure cane sugar juice boiled to concentrate and crystallize the sugar. The third boiling results in blackstrap molasses, which is crystallized but contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals, specifically magnesium, which is what helps the constipation. It’s natural, tasty, and while you thank goodness someone decided to repeatedly boil a bunch of sugar, your body will thank you for the natural remedy.

You will need…
-1 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses
-warm water or tea (optional)

Directions
Consume one teaspoon of blackstrap molasses. Start slow and small here-if you don’t like the flavor of molasses, you can add it to a cup of warm water or tea to dilute the taste. If you find that a teaspoon has not been effective, you can go as high as 1-2 tablespoons, but try less at first.

4. Coffee is our friend (sometimes)

A lot of people love their morning coffee, but it does more than just give off heavenly aromas and help you perk up. Caffeine is a natural stimulant for the digestive system, so indulging in a cup of joe will help get you up and running in more ways than one. 1-2 cups is fine, but make sure you don’t overdo it-too much can actually have the opposite effect. Coffee is a diuretic and makes you urinate more frequently, and if you drink it an excess, it can cause constipation by dehydrating your body and drawing out water that would normally soften your stool.

5. Get moving

If you want stuff to move through your body, you need to move too! Our lifestyle these days not only involves dietary changes that increase constipation, but we’re often sitting much more than we’re active. While there isn’t an exact scientific reason as to why lack of exercise is linked with getting clogged up, we can assume that moving the body helps get the smooth muscle in the colon moving as well. Keep in mind, however, that you should wait an hour after big meals before exercising. There are also specific stretches and workouts that are supposed to help with getting good old number 2 out the door.


6. Go natural (aka fiber, fiber, and more fiber)

You’ll hear people talk a lot about how a natural diet helps relieve and prevent constipation. An overall healthy diet just improves everything, and our bodies know how to process fruits, veggies, grains and roughage more than the refined or artificial foods that don’t pass as easily. To get more specific, natural foods tend to contain boatloads of fiber-that magical word that signifies the end of toilet suffrage. In short, fiber is material that cannot be digested, and it acts like a sponge. It draws water from its surroundings, making it swell, which softens stool and adds bulk to it, which in turn helps it pass. Like coffee, some kinds of fiber (like beans) can contribute to constipation, so always drink plenty of water. Some good fiber-filled foods include-

-Beans
-Apricots
-Whole grain bread
-Berries
-Broccoli
-Plums, pears, and apples
-nuts
-Potatoes (skip the fries though)

black beans

7. Get some FLAXitive

Flaxseed oil is a pretty simple home remedy for constipation. It sort of coats the walls of the intestine, as well as stool, and increases the number of bowel movements you are having. Enjoying your oil with orange juice is a double whammy when it comes to constipation, since oranges have a good amount of fiber in them (make sure to get orange juice with pulp, which is what has most of the fiber.)

You will need…
-1 glass of orange juice with pulp (8 oz.)
-1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil

Directions
Mix 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil with 1 glass of orange juice. Drink as needed, but give it time (up to 5 hourse) to start working so you don’t overdo it.

8. Aloe-it’s benefits aren’t just skin deep

Aloe is known to soothe minor cuts and burns, but it can also soothe your tummy. It’s best to use pure aloe vera gel from the plant. The gel straight from the plant is more concentrated than commercial aloe juice so don’t use more than 2 tablespoons. If you don’t have an aloe plant, than drinking aloe juice can accomplish similar results.

You will need…
-2 tablespoons of pure aloe gel or 1 cup of aloe vera juice

Directions
Mix two tablespoons of pure gel with fruit juice and drink in the morning, OR drink one cup of aloe vera juice as needed.

9. Establish a routine

Potty schedules aren’t just for puppies, they’re a great way to relieve and prevent constipation in humans too. Regulating the timing of when you go to the bathroom will regulate your bowel movements as well. Set aside about 15 minutes anywhere from 1-3 times a day, and take your time, even if nothing happens. Make sure you stay relaxed, and eventually your body will catch on.

10. Baking soda does it all

Baking soda lies at the heart of home remedies. It’s is so incredibly versatile, and it pretty much does its job 95% of the time. It works incredibly well for constipation (and tummy aches in general) because it is a bicarbonate, which will encourage air to come out of you one way or another, and relieve pain from pressure. It also re-alkalizes the stomach, neutralizing the acid a little bit and helping things pass through your gut.

You will need…
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 cup warm water

Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with ¼ cup of warm water. Drink all of the mixture-the quicker you finish it, the better it seems to work.

baking soda water

11. Empty out with Epsom salt

Epsom salt is an effective home remedy for constipation for two main reasons. First, the salt draws water from its surroundings, softening up stool and making it easier to pass. Second, the magnesium that is present in the salt promotes contraction of the bowel muscles, which also makes passing easier. Table salt can be useful in terms of drawing water out, but it lacks the magnesium that Epsom has, so try and use Epsom salt if possible.

You will need…
-2 teaspoons of Epsom salt (for adults) OR ½ teaspoon (for children)*
-1 cup of water or fruit juice

Directions
Dissolve 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in one cup of water or fruit juice and drink all of it. If within 4 more hours there is no sign of bowel movement, you may take one more dose. Only use ½ teaspoon for children.
*Consult the box for dosing

homemade juice laxative

12. Don’t forget the prunes…

Perhaps one of the most classic cures for constipation is prunes or prune juice. The fruit works as a natural laxative because it has high amounts of fiber, and contains sorbitol. Sorbitol softens stools because it is a natural carbohydrate that is not easily ingested, causing it to draw a lot of water as it passes through the intestines and adding bulk to stool. Be careful though-too much and sorbitol can cause gas and make stool too soft.

You will need…
-2 glasses of prune juice (8oz)

Directions
Drink one glass of prune juice in the morning and one at night to relieve constipation. It should start working within a few hours, so it’s important to let one glass pass through your intestines before attempting to drink another-or else you risk diarrhea. You can also eat several prunes instead of drinking the juice if you prefer.

prune juice for constipation

13. Heed natures call

This is a preventative measure to help ward off those uncomfortable bouts of constipation in the future, and it’s pretty straightforward. When you need to go to the bathroom-go! Your body is giving you the signal for a reason, and it’s a good idea to listen. The longer you hold it in, the more water is absorbed from the stool, and the harder it becomes. You’re body also only sends the signal to have a bowel movement for a certain amount of time, after a certain amount of time. That’s why if you have to go really badly and don’t, you stop feeling like you have to go. Delay the duty and you may not get the heads up to go until you’re even more clogged.

14. Dandy Dandelions

Dandelions are a terribly annoying weed, but you might view them differently after they help relieve your constipation. The constituents of dandelions make it a gentle laxative as well as an effective detoxifier, and a cup of dandelion tea will be enormously beneficial to those who are suffering from constipation due to inactiveness or the consumption of a lot of processed foods (although drinking it does not mean you don’t need to exercise or eat healthy!)

You will need…
-1-2 teaspoons of dried dandelion leaves
-1 cup of hot water

Directions
Put 1-2 teaspoons of dried dandelion leaves into a mug, and pour hot water over them. Cover and let steep for 6-10 minutes. Drink up to 3 times a day.

15. Bacteria is necessary

Healthy gut flora is vital to keep our digestive system working properly, especially in these times, when our stomach is getting pounded with all sorts of processed sugars and foods. Working to keep the good bacteria in our bodies strong and plentiful will help prevent constipation, and lessen its severity should it still occur. There are a number of ways to go about helping your bacteria flourish, but one simple method is to enjoy a cup of yogurt, which is filled with probiotics, with breakfast and during the day.

You will need…
-1-3 cups of plain yogurt

Directions
Eat a cup of yogurt with breakfast, and then on its own or with snacks throughout the day.

greek yogurt

16. Rock the squat

It sounds a tad awkward, but literally squatting over the toilet can help relieve constipation and kick start your colon. It’s a natural position that our bodies understand means “it’s time to go!”


American’s spend a little less than $1 billion dollars a year on laxatives that will ultimately only contribute to the problem, and wreak havoc on the body. Know that you do not have to have a bowel movement every single day to be regular-that is a myth that contributes to the dependency on laxatives. Some people only poop every few days and that’s normal for them, while others go multiple times a day. We’re all different, and there are too many factors to decide how often every single person should be going-just know your body and use common sense.

16 Remedies for Constipation- to get things moving.

Constipation may be something that people like to keep to themselves, but whether you don’t tell a soul, or announce it on graduation day via the loudspeaker, it all comes down to the fact that it can seriously impede day to day life. It is also, thankfully, something that can often be effectively treated naturally and at home. As a bonus, many of the lifestyle changes that help constipation (diet, exercise, etc.) simply make you an overall happier, healthier human being.

You may also like our list of 8 Ways to Get Rid of Athlete’s Foot

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By Claire Goodall

Claire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, romping with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse.

Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything :) Meet Claire→

         

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We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:

44 Comments

  1. Kelly B. says:

    I already take Culturelle, but wanted to try the Apple Cider Vinegar routine on the back of the Bragg’s bottle. I am on day 2, and will keep everyone updated.

  2. Effie says:

    I use blackstap molasses with 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and some minced garlic and that really cleans you out.
    I am going to try the olive oil with the lemon juice.

    Eating broccoli works well for me as well. And so does the plain yogurt when I make a home made smoothie with walnuts some berries and a little stevia for a little sweetener.

    • Elsa Marie says:

      @Effie-I’ve used the blackstrap as well, it works wonders!

      I’ve also found that a cup of cold water with 2-3 teaspoons of Braggs apple cider vinegar with breakfast gets things moving along (if u do this after you eat, make sure there’s a loo close by)

      -Elsa M

    • Munk says:

      How long did the combination of molasses, cayenne pepper and garlic take?

  3. Kirstin says:

    I use Bragg’s ACV and raw honey. Tablespoon of each, 8oz of warm water. Works great!

  4. Duane M says:

    Ugh that baking soda is a rough rout to take. But I guess when you get desperate and its the only thing around, it will do. Great write up Claire, I just love your site!

    • Ann says:

      Not good if you have ulcers it will make tummy hurt

      • jackie says:

        gotta be careful with the baking soda if you have hypertension. too much sodium

      • Peta says:

        @ Ann.. My husband has just got over a terrible bout of ulcers caused by Stress. He took Honey and Cinnamon for the pain. A 1/4 small cup of honey and about a level tea spoon of Cinnamon a bit more is ok too. Mix half with cold water and Hot water. Do not use boiling water first as it will destroy the goodness in the Honey. He also takes Aloe Vera Gel, a desert spoon full in a small cup. Mix with half cold water and half hot water. This gel coats the stomach or where the ulcers are and helps to heal them, as does the Honey and Cinnamon. He used to writhe from the pain and I was at my wits end. Today I am smiling. He still has the stress and is trying to keep it in check. Your diet must be controlled as well. Keep away from anything which is acidic as well as Coffee. One cup now and then more then is ok. You won’t look back. If during the day he felt bad he would drink the Aloe Juice. I have noticed that he has stopped drinking that now. Good luck…

  5. bert small says:

    Awesome post ….thank you from Canada..

  6. Marie Husnick says:

    I have used canned mushrooms(or fresh ones boiled) are an excellent laxative, all-natural fiber and no calories

  7. Anisa B says:

    I got this recipe from a website a few months ago and it really works. All you need is half a cup of apple sauce and 2 table spoons of dark karo syrup. Hope this helps!

    • melissa says:

      Karo syrup was used by my mother and grandmother and greatgrandmother. Grandmother said during ww II store owners would keep syrup under counter for people who had babies, constipation and colic.

  8. David S says:

    The best one is saurkraut juice use the brine thats what works

  9. Ann says:

    Baking soda is dangerous if you have ulcers it will make your Tummy hurt bad

  10. Karyn Davidson says:

    Thank you for all the research you do. Your suggestions are widely varied, and I have found the ones on bowel elimination, extremely helpful. I always look forward to more healthy news and hints.

  11. Julie says:

    A few drops of essential oil of lavendar on the bottoms of the feet helps the bowels move….it has worked with my baby daughter with Down syndrome and even post op after complications during an intraabdominal pacemaker needed to be replaced and had ‘stunned’ her bowels and there were no bowel sounds after surgery. Putting essential oil of lavendar on her feet for 12 hours had her making ‘regular bower sounds’ and all of the ‘output’ that goes with it….and out of the hospital!

  12. kathy says:

    Great, helpful, easy information, thanks for sharing.

  13. connie says:

    I have chronic constipation and was desperate to try anything so I tried the baking soda with warm water. I almost died from the nasty taste! I do not recommend it to anyone! I gave it a couple of hours but it didn’t help :(

    So I tried the lemon with warm water and waited a couple of hours and it worked for me!

    Thank you Claire!

  14. Leslie says:

    I’ve tried so many things but nothing ever works neither will any kind of laxatives. Really need to find something that works. I hurt almost everyday due to not using the bathroom regularly. On a good week I might use one twice a week.

    • Ras says:

      Try slippery elm powder 1 teaspoon with a glass of water 2 times per day without skipping days. After trying different methods for years slippery elm has proven to be the best for me.

  15. Desperate says:

    I have been consipated for the past four year and i am so desperate to find a solution.I tried almost eveything,I strarted with lemon and ginger on epty stomach and before i go to bed.I trried the prunes and prunes juice.I used a tablespoon of Virgin Olive oil and i have also used the cayenne pepper.After i use all this things my stomach seems as if i will be relieved soon but nothing is happening.I mean even the laxatives are not working.Please assist becasue this condition affects my health so bad.i didnt have eyes problem in the past but now i depend on eye drops,my skin is so bad,oily with black heads and i was not like that before.Please help me.

    • slowlybysurely says:

      Look up different types of laxatives and their uses. There are some suppositories which are stimulant laxatives that can be used that are supposed to be very effective, as well as saline enemas. Using a suppository that has cocoa butter in it every day can help too which is something i do. Pineapple juice will also help to regulate how your digestive system works if drank everyday.

    • Noon says:

      Thanks Ms Clair for this wonderful information. I would like to comment for the one who posted on Dec. 5,2013 at 11;39 am. I recommend you to consult a doctor as soon as possible and do some investigations. Thanks

    • Miey says:

      Hi, may be you need to change your eating habits if you haven’t done it yet. Drink honey with warm water before you go to bed and in the morning cereal with warm milk. Try to go and sit in the bathroom even though you are not feeling like going . Your body will get use to it and without paying attention, you will be better. I also eat OKRA, my favourite vegetables, it helps me to go the next morning. It worked for me. Don’t lose faith :)

    • Sheila says:

      I was having the same problem and was told to eliminate milk products from my diet. It worked for me. As long as I stay away from them I have no problems. It is worth a try and does’t cost anything. I now use soy milk in place of regular milk.

    • Same Situation says:

      yes, this is me exactly! I’ve tried everything to the extent and nothing at all has ever worked to help me go .What to do , anyone ?

    • Irene says:

      You may benefit from colonic irrigation by a licensed colon hydrotherapist. The procedure gently introduces warm water into the colon and dissolves built up layers of stool, which then are expelled from the body by natural peristaltic action. It will likely take a number of sessions to clear out the hardened material and tone up the muscles of the colon. By the time we reach midlife, there can literally be pounds of old, hardened waste that can’t be removed without some help. This worked for me.

    • juicing says:

      Enema are quick relief and would help you constipation. Your skin would look better and your total health also will improve. You can buy enema bag from Walmart lest than $5. In the mean time, your diet matters, so try to avoid/minimize fast foods and processed foods, eat or juice green vegetables in your diet. Good luck

  16. Amanda Alexander says:

    The prune juice is not for me. Honestly, it just gives me gas.

  17. Rose says:

    Will Real Lemon juice concentrate work as well as the juice of a fresh lemon

  18. alyssa says:

    Thanks so much for the info, I try everything to get my regularity back. Its been a little over a year I’ve had constipation problems. I hate to take laxatives because I dont want to become dependent. Sometimes I’m regular and going everyday for a month and then I’ll stop going again, I just dont know what causes it. I’ll try to incorporate every one of these ideas into my daily routine in addition to avoiding gluten and dairy, and hopefully I’ll see some lasting changes!

  19. Martha says:

    Thank you for the help. I have been constipated for 9 days.I went to the hospital. They gave me magnesium citrate. And mirlfax. That helped for a day then everything backed up again for 4 days then I tried baking soda. It helped a little, but my stomach still hurts and is blotted. Any ideas for flushing my whole colon. Desperately seeking any advice. How many times can you drink baking soda. ???:-o:-o:-oΘ_Θ

  20. Marianne says:

    The best thing for me is unflavored gelatin. I bought a one pound bag from Azure Standard, so much cheaper than individual Knox packages and it’s good for you, too. Anyway, just 1/2 tsp or so sprinkled on applesauce or whatever and you’ll be right as rain by the next day. It does not dissolve in cold drinks!

  21. shawde' says:

    thanx for the help. I LOVE YOUR SITE!!!!!!!!

  22. Maggie says:

    Thank you thank you Claire! This may sound dramatic but you are a lifesaver! I have been miserably bloated and crampy for days, and the baking soda took care of me! You have a wonderful site :)

  23. Kudirat Adeniyi says:

    Can I make use of grenadine molasses .

  24. Rafi says:

    it happens to me last week, i really get suffer from it, Damn it. all the stuff you post is awesome, but my personal suggestion everyone is to eat papaya as much as you can, because it works. for me its a best medicine, papaya is an fruits angle

  25. Zachary says:

    I was constipated for almost 4 weeks nothing worked until I tried the lemon and water on the morning worked a little for 2 days and by the third day bingo cured

  26. Lindsey says:

    I tried the baking soda with warm water. Although the taste was awful within 30 minutes it helped me. Thank you for this site!

  27. Barbara says:

    Surprised there is no mention of soaked flax seeds.

  28. Casey says:

    Thank you! I was having some pain, and these suggestions helped a bunch. I appreciate it

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