Constipation can wreak havoc on daily plans and quality of life. It’s uncomfortable and inconvenient. Who has time to be constipated?! Read on to learn how to get rid of constipation fast at home naturally.

What is Constipation

First things first, what is constipation? While we’ve all certainly experienced changes in our pooping habits, constipation has some defining features. Technically, constipation is passing less than 3 bowel movements per week. In addition, there are other features that identify constipation:

  • Poop is dry and hard
  • Pooping is painful and stools are hard to pass
  • Feeling like you have not completely emptied

Pooping patterns vary from person to person. Unlike peeing, which should be relatively similar among people, pooping patterns are typically more variable. Some go multiple times per day while others go once or every other day. As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I tend to look more at how a person’s pooping pattern is affecting their life. If someone is pooping just 4 times per week but having no difficulty with it and it’s not affecting their life negatively, this may not be an issue. On the other hand, if someone normally poops every day and then begin to poop every other day along with straining, that could be more concerning.

Constipation

How Common is Constipation?

Constipation is very common. When I worked as a PT at a large hospital system, a large portion of my caseload included those suffering with constipation. According to Cleveland Clinic, at least 2.5 million people seek care from their doctors for constipation each year. Unfortunately, constipation does not discriminate when it comes to age, but there are a few factors that put people at higher risk of experiencing constipation. These include:

  • Older age
  • Pregnancy and after childbirth
  • Not eating enough fiber
  • Certain medications (i.e. opioid pain medications)
  • Certain digestive disorders
  • Certain neurological disorders

What Causes Constipation?

Constipation has a variety of causes from lifestyle factors to medical conditions. Some common causes of constipation include:

  • Eating low fiber foods
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Changes in your routine (i.e. travel)
  • Eating large amounts of dairy
  • Stress
  • Delaying pooping

Symptoms of Constipation

In addition to difficulty passing poop or decreasing frequency of bowel movements, there are other symptoms of constipation that are not as obvious all the time. These include:

  • Having fewer than 3 bowel movements per week
  • Dry, hard, or lumpy stools
  • Hard to pass stool or painful
  • Stomach aches and cramping
  • Feeling bloated
  • Nausea
  • Feeling like you still have to poop when you’re done

How to Get Rid of Constipation Fast at Home Naturally

The treatment for constipation can vary greatly from person to person. Treatment can vary depending on how chronic the constipation is and what the root cause of the constipation is. For example, if constipation started after a acutely stressful life event, treatment may focus on relaxation and breathing. If constipation has been ongoing for years, focusing on pelvic floor coordination may be needed. The following is a list of tips for constipation at home. Though do remember, if these tips do not help, pelvic floor therapy can help get to the root cause of constipation.

Tips to Get Rid of Constipation

  • Drink enough water. Think about drinking at least half of your body-weight in ounces in fluid. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, drink at least 75 ounces of fluid per day. Make at least two-thirds of that water.
  • Add high fiber foods to your diet and limit dairy
  • Exercise. Movement helps stimulate food through our digestive system and can help with constipation.
  • Elevate your feet onto a stool while pooping. A squatty potty is a great solution to help with this.
  • Avoid reading your phone while trying to poop
  • Try deep breathing and relaxation techniques while sitting on the toilet
  • Consider yoga to stimulate bowels and improve relaxation
  • Avoid holding your breath as you bear down
  • Add colonic massage to your routine before you get out of bed. Gently massage your colon starting on the right side and up and over to the left side. See this video for instruction.

While constipation is common, remember it is not something you need to suffer with. If the tips above to get rid of constipation fast at home naturally don’t do the job, consider making an appointment with your doctor or a pelvic floor therapist. Pelvic floor therapists are highly qualified to get to the root cause of your constipation as well as identify the need for a referral to a specialist.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I may receive a small commission for that product at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.

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