Constipation: Quick Relief & Home Remedies

Janis

By Janis | Updated December 4, 2023

Constipation can be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition that affects many people. The difficulty or infrequency of bowel movements can leave you feeling bloated, sluggish, and in search of quick relief. 

Fortunately, there are numerous tips and home remedies available to help you combat constipation and regain normal bowel function. 

From simple lifestyle changes to natural remedies, these methods can help you find relief and support better digestive health in the long run.

Keep in mind that while these suggestions can prove helpful for many cases of constipation, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional if your symptoms persist, worsen, or are accompanied by severe pain.

Why Do I Get Constipated?

Constipation is a common issue that affects your bowel movements. Several factors can contribute to constipation, such as diet, dehydration, and lifestyle choices.

Low Fiber

A low-fiber diet often leads to constipation. Fiber promotes bowel movements by adding bulk and softness to your stool, making it easier to pass. Lack of fiber-retaining foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet can cause hard and infrequent stools.

When fiber intake is insufficient, it results in slower transit times in the digestive tract, leading to constipation.

Dehydration

Dehydration is a significant factor leading to constipation. Sufficient fluid intake helps soften the stool, facilitating its passage through the intestines. Lack of enough water in the body can cause hard and dry stools that are difficult to pass.

Refraining from enough liquids, particularly water, makes the body extract water from the stool to maintain hydration. This consequently leads to constipation. Therefore, staying properly hydrated is crucial in preventing and treating constipation.

Lack of Exercise

A lifestyle lacking in physical activity can induce constipation. Exercise helps improve muscle movement in your intestines, making it easier for stools to pass through. 

A sedentary lifestyle can result in sluggish bowel movements and constipation.

Straining and Holding it In

Straining during bowel movements is a common symptom and contributing factor to constipation. It often arises when stools are hard and dry, requiring extra effort to pass. 

Continued straining can worsen constipation and lead to complications like hemorrhoids.

Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement or holding it in can also cause constipation. Regular and timely bowel movements help maintain a healthy digestive system and prevent constipation.

Stress

Stress is often overlooked as a possible cause of constipation. Chronic stress can interrupt normal digestive function, leading to hard or infrequent stools. 

It’s essential to manage stress levels for overall health, including digestive well-being.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a common digestive disorder that can cause constipation. This condition disrupts normal bowel movements, leading to symptoms such as infrequent or hard stools. IBS with constipation (IBS-C) is one of its well-known types.

IBS-related constipation can be more severe than regular constipation. If you suspect IBS may be causing your constipation, consult a healthcare provider. They can provide a formal diagnosis and suggest ways to manage the condition effectively.

Underlying Health Condition

Sometimes, an underlying health condition can cause constipation. Celiac disease, for example, affects your body’s ability to process gluten, leading to digestive issues like constipation. 

If you suspect an underlying health condition, consult with a medical professional for evaluation.

How Can I Relieve Constipation Quickly?

Immediate relief from constipation is often a priority for those experiencing discomfort or pain. A variety of home remedies, from dietary adjustments to physical activities, can provide quick results.

Increase Fiber Intake

Constipation can be uncomfortable, but there are plenty of home and natural remedies to help you find relief. One of the most effective methods is to increase your fiber intake.

Add more high-fiber foods to your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Increase Fluid Intake

In addition to fiber, increasing your fluid intake can help alleviate constipation. Make sure you are drinking enough water and staying properly hydrated throughout the day.

Consider adding tea to your routine, as certain teas, like herbal tea, can support healthy digestion.

Take Supplements

Magnesium supplements or magnesium citrate can be effective in promoting bowel movements. 

However, it’s essential to follow the recommended dosage to avoid side effects.

Exercise

Don’t forget the importance of exercise in maintaining regular bowel movements. 

Incorporating regular physical activity into your daily routine can help prevent constipation.

Modifying Toilet Position

Elevating the legs while using a stool during toilet use can be an effective strategy for treating chronic constipation. This position mimics a squatting posture, which may facilitate easier passage of stool.

While this method is simple and non-intrusive, it’s often most effective when combined with other treatment strategies for chronic constipation. 

Prune Juice

Natural remedies, like prune juice, can be helpful due to its high content of natural sugar alcohol, sorbitol, which has a natural laxative effect. 

Its high fiber content helps to soften stools and stimulate bowel movements. While generally effective, it’s important to moderate intake to avoid causing diarrhea. 

Castor Oil

Castor oil has long been used as a home remedy for quick relief from constipation. The oil stimulates the intestines, encouraging bowel movements and helping to soften stools for easier passage.

However, castor oil is potent and should be used cautiously. Overuse can lead to diarrhea or cramping, so consulting a healthcare provider for proper dosage is advised, especially for children or pregnant women.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is often touted as a natural laxative that can offer quick relief from constipation. The oil’s fatty acids are thought to help lubricate the intestinal walls, facilitating smoother bowel movements.

Though some find coconut oil effective, its impact can vary among individuals. 

Stress Reduction

Deep breathing, meditation, or yoga could be effective in reducing stress levels.

Maintaining a stress-free lifestyle not only improves mental health but also aids in proper digestion and reduces the risk of constipation.

Abdominal Massage

Abdominal massage can be a simple yet effective way to stimulate bowel movements and provide quick relief from constipation. Gentle circular motions on the lower abdomen can help relax the muscles and encourage the passage of stool.

While generally safe, abdominal massage is not suitable for everyone, such as those with certain gastrointestinal conditions. 

Warm Bath

A warm bath can offer immediate relief from constipation by relaxing the abdominal muscles and potentially promoting bowel movement. Immersing in warm water may aid in decreasing muscle tension, thereby facilitating easier passage of stool.

Follow these tips and home remedies for fast constipation relief, and always consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your symptoms.

Treatment for Chronic Constipation 

For chronic constipation, it’s essential to consult a doctor. They may perform tests like blood tests or an X-ray to diagnose the cause. Besides the lifestyle changes mentioned earlier, your doctor may recommend a fiber supplement to regulate bowel movements.

If lifestyle changes don’t help, over-the-counter laxatives can assist in relieving constipation. 

However, use them with caution as long-term dependency might decrease bowel function.

When to Get Help

If you’re experiencing constipation, it’s crucial to recognize when professional help is necessary. Persistent and severe constipation can be a sign of more significant health issues.

Consider consulting with your doctor if your constipation lasts longer than two weeks, there’s blood in your stool, you’re experiencing unexplained weight loss, or if abdominal pain and bloating accompany your constipation.

A doctor can accurately diagnose your condition and recommend appropriate treatment options tailored to your unique needs. Don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re concerned about your health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some effective old-fashioned remedies for constipation?

Warm liquids, like hot water or tea, can stimulate bowel movements. Prune juice is a classic remedy rich in fiber and sorbitol.

Castor oil, known for its laxative effect, can be taken in small doses but should not be overused.

Which treatments are best for adult constipation?

For adults, consider increasing fiber intake with supplements or fiber-rich foods, along with plenty of water. Gentle exercise can help stimulate bowel movements.

If needed, over-the-counter stool softeners or laxatives can be used, but always follow directions and consult a healthcare professional if symptoms persist.

What are the top foods that can help relieve constipation?

Some ideal options include whole grains, leafy greens, fruits containing fiber (like apples and pears), and berries.

Beans, peas, and lentils are also excellent sources of fiber. Drinking plenty of water is essential to ensure fiber-rich foods are effective.

How can one alleviate constipation pain at home?

Abdominal massages can provide relief by applying gentle pressure in a clockwise motion. Warm baths can help relax muscles, while over-the-counter pain relievers may provide temporary relief.

Regular exercise and proper posture can also contribute to alleviating constipation pain.

Is baking soda an effective solution for constipation?

Baking soda can help neutralize stomach acid and encourage bowel movements. Dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water and drink it quickly.

Baking soda should not be used as a frequent solution, as it may disrupt the body’s natural electrolyte balance.

What is a quick homemade laxative to relieve constipation?

Mixing one tablespoon of coconut oil with a warm glass of water or herbal tea can create a simple homemade laxative.

Only use this remedy occasionally, as overuse may lead to dependency.