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Ease Constipation with Natural Remedies

Picture of American Specialty Health
By American Specialty Health on January 1, 2024
Ease Constipation with Natural Remedies

If you’re feeling backed up due to constipation, consider these natural methods to help get back to normal.


If you’ve ever been constipated, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Sometimes it’s even painful.

Nearly everyone will encounter trouble with bowel movements at some point. Unfortunately, constipation also tends to become more common with age. For some, feeling “irregular” may seem like it’s become a way of life. But it doesn’t have to be. If constipation is an issue, you will want to find natural ways to resolve it.


The cause of the problem

Like many health conditions, constipation can crop up for any number of reasons. One cause is not getting enough physical activity. But most often it’s due to what you’re eating (or not eating) and drinking, such as:

  • A diet heavy in meat and dairy products
  • A diet heavy in ultra-processed foods
  • Not eating enough high-fiber foods
  • Not drinking enough water or other fluids
  • Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine 

blog_102_images_0003_GettyImages-1192724227Fiber and digestion  

If you’ve ever felt backed up, there’s no doubt you’ve tried to remedy the situation. The most common remedy is to increase fiber intake.  

How much fiber you need depends on your age and gender. In general, adults should aim for 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day. On average, most American adults don’t meet that threshold. Adding more fiber to your diet may help keep you regular, as well as resolving constipation.

There are 2 primary types of fiber:

Insoluble fiber: This type of fiber is from the parts of plant foods that your body can’t fully absorb or digest. Insoluble fiber holds on to water and helps make stools softer. In turn, this makes it easier for food to move through the digestive system. Eating some insoluble fiber every day helps regulate bowel movements. Some good sources of insoluble fiber include brown rice, whole grains, green beans, and broccoli.

Soluble fiber: This type of fiber mixes with liquids to form a gel-like substance. This adds bulk to your stool and helps soften it. The fiber binds with nutrients and other substances in the intestinal tract. Some good sources of soluble fiber include apples, bananas, berries, and beans.

Fermented foods: Eating foods rich in fiber is also important for your gut health. Fermented foods can be good for your gut as well as high in fiber. Some examples of fermented food include yogurt and Kimchi. Learn more about fermented foods here.



Can too much fiber be an issue? 

Eating fiber is the most effective way to stay regular. But sometimes people overdo it. In a desperate attempt to get back to normal, many think that taking more will work better. But eating too much fiber when your system is already sluggish may end up having the opposite effect. You may feel even more bloated and backed up—not the result you hoped for.  


Options instead of fiber  

Along with eating a steady diet of fiber, other natural ways to help ease constipation include:

Hydration. For many, the cause of constipation may be as simple as not drinking enough water. Hydration is crucial for your overall health (for lots of reasons). But it’s also vital for healthy digestion. Drinking water and other liquids, as well as eating foods high in water content (like melon, strawberries, broccoli, or oranges), helps fiber work better. This, in turn, helps soften stools and make them easier to pass.

Coffee. Studies show that drinking coffee (caffeinated or not) stimulates the need to go to the bathroom. Coffee contains acids that are thought to trigger a hormone that stimulates the muscles in your colon. This gets your bowels moving shortly after drinking coffee.

Prunes. Eating prunes and prune juice has long been shown to be a safe, natural, and effective way to help relieve constipation. Studies have shown prunes to be more effective and safer than laxatives. Not only are prunes a good source of fiber, but they’re also rich in sorbitol. Sorbitol does not break down during digestion, which helps promote bowel movements.

Kiwifruit. Eating green or gold kiwifruit is thought to help soften stool and ease constipation. Several studies show that eating kiwifruit appears to be a safe and effective alternative to laxatives.

Light physical activity. Staying active on a regular basis may help stimulate bowel activity. Studies show that the more active you are, the less likely you are to be constipated. Read this article if you’re looking to find motivation to get more active. 


Understanding laxatives   

Laxatives contain chemicals that help soften stools. You can buy these medicines over the counter or with a prescription. They are thought to be a quick and easy way to get your digestive system back on track.

However, laxatives should be taken with caution. They may not be safe for long-term use. They may become addictive. They may interact with other meds you take. Overuse may also cause diarrhea or other digestive problems.

Your best and safest option will almost always be to stick with high-fiber foods. The other natural remedies mentioned in this article are also good options. Consider laxatives only if your doctor directs you to do so. blog_102_images_0004_GettyImages-1473559425

Constipation and health conditions 

Constipation isn’t always related to lifestyle or diet. It may be due to certain medications. And it’s possible the cause is an underlying health condition such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Bowel cancer
If you have reason to believe there may be something more serious going on, don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor. Your doctor will run a series of tests to help rule out other issues. 



Not a Silver&Fit member? Learn more about everything the program has to offer, including more helpful healthy living tips like this, here on our website.


This information is not intended to take the place of regular medical care or advice. Please check with your doctor before using this information or beginning any self-care program. Images used for this article do not depict any members of the Silver&Fit Program.

This information is not intended to take the place of regular medical care or advice. Please check with your doctor before using this information or beginning any self-care program. 


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This article was written by Jason Nielsen, edited by Sharon Odegaard, and clinically reviewed by Elizabeth Thompson, MPH, RD


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