Facebook Pixel

5 Ways To Help Constipation

By Expert HERWriter
Rate This
five methods to relieve constipation Hemera/Thinkstock

Everyone has experienced constipation at some point in their life. Sometimes it is due to travel, other times because of stress and for some people it is their normal way of life.

Constipation is typically defined as three or less bowel movements per week along with other symptoms such as hard stools, straining during bowel movement, and the feeling of incomplete evacuation or a block not allowing stool to come out.

While this definition is commonly accepted, many feel ‘blocked up’ if they do not have a bowel movement daily as they will begin to feel more bloated and full with each meal increasing the situation.

There are a variety of reasons for constipation such as poor diet, lack of fiber, lack of water and medications. Certain diseases can slow the bowel, back injury can affect nerve innervations to the intestines and colon, and food allergies/intolerances can also cause constipation.

However if you have addressed these issues and still find yourself feeling a little clogged, try these suggestions that are generally considered safe.

1) Magnesium

This mineral is often used in conjunction with calcium for bones, however it is also useful for constipation. Take 250-500mg at night before bed to help bowel movements in the morning.

The most common side effect for magnesium is loose stools ergo if you take too much magnesium you may experience a constipation relief.

2) Calcium

This mineral is commonly mixed with magnesium for bone health however it too can help with constipation. Consider taking 500-1000mg of calcium citrate with your magnesium at night.

3) Probiotics

The good gut bugs commonly associated with yogurt are much more potent in supplemental form and may be the healthy boost your intestines need to prevent constipation. Look for a probiotic that is free of dairy, sugar, and artificial dyes and is somewhere in the "billions" for count.

The two main probiotics to look for are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium.

4) Fermented foods

Eating your probiotics may not guarantee you numbers in the billions, however foods such as plain yogurt (no fruit or added sugar), kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir and kim chi eaten on a regular basis may help improve constipation.

5) Abdominal massage

Work your belly in a clockwise fashion. Start at the right lower side of your belly, massage up and under your rib cage, down the left side of your belly and continue in a circular motion.

This can help stimulate your intestines and colon to move stool through more naturally if things are moving slowly and causing some bloating. Use some massage oil or body lotion to make the motions easier.

These suggestions are only for mild and occasional constipation. If you have a long history of a slow bowel or find yourself going more days without a bowel movement than days with a bowel movement, talk to your health care provider about appropriate work up and relief.


1) Chronic Constipation: Diagnostic and Treatment Approaches: Current Treatment Options. Web. 20 August, 2012.

2) Use of Probiotics in Gastrointestinal Disorders. Web. 20 August, 2012.

3) Abdominal Massage May Facilitate Gastric Emptying in Patients With Impaired Motility. Web. 20 August, 2012

Reviewed August 20, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Much of the food we eat in the United States is made from ground up seeds such as bread, cereals, cake, and other foods made from flours. Eating grains is fine, but it is much healthier to eat them in whole form – the way most people eat rice. The difference is that eating grains that have been ground makes for stool that is hard and compacted.

Imagine dirt or soil. If there is a high proportion of organic material called humus or fiber in the soil, it is light and airy; if there is no organic material, we call it clay. Your bowel movements are the same; they can either be light and bulky or clay-like, depending on what you are eating.

Read The Full Article >>>

August 21, 2012 - 7:11am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Constipation Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!