How to Get Rid of Constipation: The Best Home Remedies That Really Work

How to get rid of constipation

When you rarely have a bowel movement, or it takes you a lot of effort to pass stool, you have constipation. Constipation makes it difficult to get rid of stools because the stool is dry and hard. You might have constipation for only a short time before regular bowel movements resume. However, some people suffer from chronic constipation that can cause daily pain and discomfort.

There are many reasons why you might have constipation. For most people passing hard feces is connected with not eating enough fiber in their diet or not drinking enough fluids. However, certain medications, health conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or a bowel obstruction, or an inactive lifestyle can all cause constipation.

In many cases, home remedies can really help to get rid of the symptoms of constipation without having to resort to laxatives. For example, natural ingredients like prunes, aloe vera, flaxseeds, and kiwifruit all help to soften stools making them easier to pass.

If you find that your bowel movements are very infrequent or you have discomfort and difficulty passing hard stool, you will find excellent home remedies for constipation in this article.

Before looking at the best home treatments to improve the health of your digestive system, let’s look at the main causes of constipation. This can help you make appropriate lifestyle changes to prevent a buildup of hard stool in your colon and intestines.

What is Constipation?

When food enters the digestive system, it is broken down so that the body can absorb nutrients, protein, fats, and vitamins. Digestive juices, bile, and bacteria assist in the digestive process and then any waste products that aren’t digested are removed when we have a bowel movement or urinate.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that constipation is when bowel movements are infrequent and less than three times a week. Also, a person may be constipated if they have difficulty passing stools that are hard and this condition persists for several weeks.1

Types of Constipation

Although constipation is a general term that applies to difficulty passing faces regularly, Dr. Namirah Jamshed from the Washington Hospital Center says that there are two types of constipation – functional constipation and secondary constipation.2

Functional constipation is the most common type of constipation and is when food moves through the digestive tract too slowly. This results in lumpy or hard stools and bowel movements are less than 3 times a week. This kind of constipation can be caused by problems in the digestive system or by not eating a healthy diet.

Secondary constipation occurs when another underlying condition causes disruption in the digestive tract. The causes of secondary constipation could be side effects of medications, stress, irritable bowel syndrome, or another health issue.

Causes of Constipation

There are many reasons why you can suffer problems when trying to pass stools, or when you can pass them, the stools are solid and painful. Dr. Jerry Balentine on eMedicineHealth says that a poor diet rich in animal fats or sugar and low in fiber is one of the main causes of constipation. However, constipation is also one of the consequences of being dehydrated.3

You may develop chronic constipation if you ignore the need to have a bowel movement. Over time, the muscles in your colon become weak and you stop feeling the need to use the toilet. Or, medications containing aluminum or calcium may cause infrequent bowel movements.

Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that other causes of constipation are:

Symptoms of Constipation

Apart from finding it difficult to pass stools easily, what are the other symptoms of constipation? Dr. DerSarkissian says that many people who are chronically constipated also feel that everything didn’t come out completely. If you suffer from constipation you may have swelling around your abdomen or vomit frequently.4

You may have pain while passing stools or you might be unable to have a bowel movement after straining or pushing for more than 10 minutes. In some cases you may also suffer from anal leakage (fecal incontinence), hard stomach or stringy stool.

In addition to the discomfort in the constipation itself, it is often accompanied with gas, and the straining can also cause hemorrhoids.

However, the most common signs that you are constipated are straining to pass small or hard stools and having few bowel movements.

The Best Home Remedies to Get Rid of Constipation

Now that we’ve looked at the many reasons for constipation, what can you do to get things moving in your digestive tract and make it easier to use the toilet?

There is a lot that your stools can tell about your health and if you are chronically constipated, you should do something about it. Here are the best home remedies to get rid of constipation naturally.

Eat more fiber

The most common advice that doctors give for treating constipation is to eat more fiber in your diet. According to Dr. Laura Martin on WebMD, fiber helps to bulk up stool to make it easier to pass through your intestines. Adding more fiber to your diet can help to relieve even chronic constipation.5

The best kind of fiber for constipation relief and to help you get more regular bowl movements is fiber from plant foods like whole grains, wheat bran, oats, citrus fruits, seeds, and the skins of fruits and vegetables. So instead of peeling your produce, let your mouth work a little harder, and allow yourself two fruits a day with their skin. They are also an excellent source of unprocessed sugar, and can serve as a natural snack that will soothe and settle the gut.

If you can’t increase the amount of fiber in your diet, Dr. Jerry Balentine recommends adding natural fiber supplements to your diet. These should be taken regularly to ease constipation and prevent a buildup of hard stool in your digestive tract.

Use fiber wisely: if you are not used to regularly consuming high amount of fiber, you should increase your fiber consumption gradually to prevent excess gas. Also, those who have undergone gastrointestinal surgery or have diseases related to it, should not consume foods rich in fiber without consulting a doctor.

Increasing your fiber intake is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.

Drink plenty of water

A very easy and cheap method to both ease constipation and help prevent hard stool building up in your insides is to drink plenty of water. There are many health benefits to drinking more fluids, and softening stools to make them easier to pass is just one of them.

Doctors from WebMD recommend drinking two to four extra glasses of water a day. This should be in addition to the amount of fluid you already consume to keep yourself hydrated properly.4

If you don’t like the taste of plain water, you can make your own flavored water, drink honey lemon water or herbal teas, such as these teas to improve digestion.

Eat prunes and figs

Prunes and figs are useful in getting your digestive tract to be more active and pass stools easier. Prunes and figs act as natural laxatives because they are high in fiber. What’s more, they also contain vitamins and minerals that help to boost your general health.

Eating more prunes for constipation problems isn’t just an old wives’ tale. Research into the ability of prunes to move feces through the intestines has found them to be an effective natural remedy. The journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics reported that prunes help to improve stool consistency and frequency.6

In the study, taking 100 g of prunes a day helped improve the symptoms of constipation and make going to the toilet easier.

You can find more uses for figs in my article on 9 ways to use figs as a natural remedy.

Take castor oil

Castor oil also stimulates the intestines to help make bowel movements easier and get rid of hard stool with less pain. Doctors on WebMD say that often castor oil is used to clear out the intestines because it is a stimulant laxative.7

Studies have also confirmed the use of castor oil as a medicine to improve the distressing symptoms of constipation. For example, elderly people were given castor oil to improve constipation and ease discomfort. Some had been constipated for 10 years or more! After administering castor oil researchers found that the stool was softer, the patients had to strain less in their bowel movements, and they had a feeling of emptying their bowels.8

To use castor oil to stimulate movement in your intestines and treat constipation, take one to two teaspoons castor oil on an empty stomach. You can make it taste better if you drink a little fruit juice as well.

You shouldn’t exceed the recommended dosage and don’t take it for more than 7 days. It may also take 6 to 12 hours before castor oil causes a bowel movement.

Take probiotics

Probiotics provide your gut with “good” bacteria and help to keep your digestive system healthy and working properly. Probiotics can also help relieve secondary constipation by helping to soften stool that has become hardened due to medications or underlying health conditions. Taking probiotics regularly helps you poop more often and also helps to ease straining when having a bowel movement.

Research has found that probiotics may play a role in alleviating constipation. For example, researchers from Harvard Medical School reported that probiotics helped make stool softer and thus, easier to pass. It seemed that probiotics containing the Bifidobacterium strain were the most effective.9

Also, research published in 2011 found that regularly taking probiotics helped improve the bowel habits in people with Parkinson’s disease.10

Another way to help keep your digestive system healthy with probiotics is to consume more live, plain yogurt or kefir. These dairy products also contain probiotics and you can take them along with prunes, figs, or flaxseeds – all known to help relieve constipation.

You can also consume these fermented foods as well to give a boost to the “good” bacteria in your digestive system.

Aloe vera as a natural laxative

Consuming aloe vera juice is very beneficial to help to pass stool more frequently and ease the symptoms of constipation. Many people who have constipation from irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive problems take aloe vera juice to ease their symptoms.

The book Herbal Medicine reports that aloe vera is commonly used to treat constipation and many natural constipation remedies contain extracts from aloe vera. Research has found that using aloe vera as a laxative can increase the frequency of bowel movement and make feces softer.11

People who have constipation from taking too many laxatives can also use aloe vera to regulate the bowel movements naturally and reduce dependence on laxatives.

To help get rid of constipation, you can try consuming 100 to 200 milliliters of aloe vera juice daily. Continue doing this until you can pass stool easily. After that, you should reduce the dose to 50 milliliters a day for constipation prevention, otherwise, you may end up with the opposite problem – diarrhea!

If you cannot get aloe vera juice, you can consider taking aloe vera as a supplement in a tablet or capsule form. This can be a quick and easy way to get your dose of daily goodness, but you need to check the quality of the supplements and make sure it doesn’t contain any harmful additives.

Ground flaxseeds to ease constipation

Flaxseeds are an excellent natural ingredient to improve conditions in the digestive tract and treat chronic constipation. If you have indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, or stomach bloating, flaxseeds can help to improve your digestive health.

A study from 2015 in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology reported that flaxseeds have both a laxative and anti-diarrhea effect. The researchers concluded that flaxseeds can help to treat constipation and diarrhea.12

You can add ground flaxseeds to plain yogurt, cereals, or other foods to help improve the symptoms of constipation. To find out more about the benefits of consuming more flaxseeds, please read my article on the many reasons to eat flaxseeds daily.


Kiwifruit can help treat constipation because it has properties that can stimulate the digestive system helping you to poop easier and more frequently. The fiber and water content of kiwifruit help stool move through the intestines more efficiently.

The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that increasing your intake of kiwifruit has a positive effect on constipation. The study found that eating 2 kiwifruits a day for 4 weeks helped to improve the frequency of bowel movements and also has an overall positive effect on bowel function.13

Apple cider vinegar

Drinking apple cider vinegar daily has a number of health benefits. Surprising as it may seem, but raw, unprocessed apple cider vinegar contains fiber which may help in assisting to keep bowel movements frequent.

According to WebMD, apple cider vinegar contains amounts of pectin, various vitamins and minerals, and acetic and citric acid.14 A study from 2014 on the effect of the soluble dietary fiber pectin on the digestive system found that it helps to speed up the time food passes through the gut. The researchers found that pectin helped the symptoms of slow-transit constipation and improve the microflora in the intestines.15

To find out how to take apple cider vinegar to boost your digestion and your health in general, please read my article on how apple cider vinegar can revolutionize your health.


Another way to help prevent constipation and stimulate bowel movement is to exercise regularly. Taking time every week to exercise will help improve, not just your digestive health, but also keep your heart healthy, lower blood pressure, and maintain a healthy weight.

One study in the U.S. found that people who have a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to suffer from constipation than those who were physically active. People who were more active tended to have bowel movements more frequently, found it easier to pass stool, and didn’t need to take as many laxatives.16

Even just walking regularly is a great way to exercise, lose weight, and keep your heart healthy.

Other Foods that Act as Natural Laxatives

There are many other foods that can help to keep your bowel movements frequent and reduce the pressure and discomfort that you need to poop.

In an article entitled “Diets for Constipation,” researchers found that foods like beans, legumes, and many vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber. Also, some of the best fruits for softening stools are pears, grapes, apples with their skins, and bananas.17

Coconut oil

Virgin unrefined coconut oil helps to speed up metabolism and cleanse your body of excess waste. To get rid of constipation, mix 1 tsp. of unrefined virgin coconut oil with 8-oz. glass of natural juice or herbal tea and drink. Repeat 3-4 times per day at least 30 minutes before each meal. Read here about the amazing health benefits of coconut oil.

Fresh tomato puree, beetroot and olive oil

Eating fresh tomato puree along with a tablespoon of olive oil will help the intestines to function properly and this can prevent constipation. So does eating a nice dose of fresh beetroot.

Other Natural Ways to Get Rid of Constipation

Abdominal massage

Abdominal massage has many health benefits including constipation relief. Abdominal massage is very simple to do, and you can find the full instructions in my article about the amazing benefits of abdominal massage.


Stress affects our body in many ways, including the digestive system, and often causes diarrhea or alternatively constipation.

Try to use relaxation techniques to calm yourself. You can read my article about 14 effective natural remedies for stress and anxiety or try these simple meditation techniques for relaxation.

Colon cleanse using only 2 ingredients

If you are interested in how to get rid of constipation then you should seriously consider using this powerful colon cleanse.

This colon cleanse uses only 2 ingredients: milk kefir and ground flaxseeds. It relieves constipation and promotes regular bowel movements.

Kefir is a fermented drink made usually with milk and kefir grains which are friendly living organisms. Kefir is a probiotic drink that can help you balance the intestinal flora and restore your digestive system.

Ground flaxseeds absorb water and expand in the colon, aid in the stool passage through your intestinal tract and remove toxins as they pass through.

Start with one tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with about a quarter or third glass of kefir before breakfast and then again before bed. Some people find that it helps to first try kefir with meals, such as a little amount with breakfast.

You can find more detailed information about this colon cleanser in my article on how to effectively cleanse your colon with only 2 ingredients.

When to See a Doctor about Constipation

Chronic constipation can become a serious health issue as hard, dry stool builds up in your intestines. This can lead to fecal impaction which causes stool to become stuck in the colon and is difficult to remove. Constipation can also cause hemorrhoids or rectal prolapse.

Doctors from WebMD recommend visiting your health care provider if you have constipation with the following symptoms:18

  • You have stomach pain and can’t pass any stool
  • You pass blood along with your stools
  • You experience unexpected weight loss

Also, if you are severely constipated for the first time, you should visit your doctor.

Read my other related articles:
1. The Best Natural Laxatives For Constipation
2. Eating Tips for a Healthier Digestive System
3. Top 10 Herbal Teas That Will Work Wonders On Your Digestion
4. How to Effectively Cleanse Your Colon With Only 2 Ingredients

Article Sources
  1. MayoClinic. Constipation.
  2. AAFP. Constipation in adults.
  3. eMedicineHealth. Constipation in adults.
  4. WebMD. What is constipation?
  5. WebMD. Dietary fiber for constipation.
  6. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Oct;40(7):750-8.
  7. WebMD. Castor oil.
  8. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62.
  9. HealthHarvard. Probiotics may ease constipation.
  10. Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2011 Jun;57(2):117-21.
  11. Herbal Medicine. Metabolic effects of aloe vera.
  12. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Jul 1;169:60-8.
  13. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19(4):451-7.
  14. WebMD. Apple cider vinegar.
  15. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2014 Dec 30;94(48):3813-6.
  16. Dig Dis Sci. 1989 Aug;34(8):1153-62.
  17. Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2014 Dec; 17(4): 203–208.
  18. WebMD. When to get help for constipation.

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