health

7 Tricks For Overcoming Constipation To Get Things Moving Again

by Rebecca Endicott
Becca is a writer and aspirational dog owner living in NYC.

When it comes to our health, I think we all like to go above and beyond to make sure that everything is in good working order.

There’s nothing worse than realizing you aren’t quite firing on all coils. That’s especially true when you can trace discomfort or illness to a source that no one really likes to talk about: your bowel movements.

Let’s face it, pooping is kind of a gross topic. On the flip side, it’s an incredibly important topic.

After all, excreting waste is one of the body’s most fundamental and necessary functions, and how you poop can say a lot about your health.

By that logic it’s not too surprising that when we aren’t pooping, or not pooping enough, we end up feeling pretty lousy as a result.

Constipation is one of the most common health complaints around, but fortunately, there are lots of easy ways to help your body overcome the obstacle.

Scroll through the gallery below to learn more simple constipation remedies.

Constipation 101

Constipation 101
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Constipation, as we touched on briefly, is a condition where the body is either entirely unable to excrete solid waste, or can only produce a limited amount, for a period longer than three days.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week.”

Everyone experiences occasional constipation, but if you experience chronic constipation, meaning difficulty passing stool for several weeks or more, you should contact your doctor straight away.

Constipation Relief Tip #1: Sit Right On The Toilet

Constipation Relief Tip #1: Sit Right On The Toilet
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Sometimes, getting things moving is as simple as changing the way that you sit on the toilet.

If you hunch over with your feet flat on the ground, your intestines end up slightly kinked, and your body has to work that much harder to expel waste.

If you sit up straight with your feet on a stool, it will naturally straighten out your colon, and help things flow more smoothly.

Constipation Relief Tip #2: Have Your Morning Cuppa

Constipation Relief Tip #2: Have Your Morning Cuppa
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Coffee is by no means the be-all and end-all answer to constipation, but it sure can help!

We’ve all experienced the laxative power of coffee at one time or another. That’s because caffeine is a stimulant, and encourages increased blood flow and muscle activity to your digestive tract.

A cup or two of coffee with a little milk can sometimes be the jumpstart you need, especially in the morning.

Just be careful not to drink too much coffee: It’s also a diuretic, so too much can cause dehydration and lead to worse constipation in the long run.

Constipation Relief Tip #3: Cultivate Good Bacteria

Constipation Relief Tip #3: Cultivate Good Bacteria
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Your gut is full of bacteria, and that’s a good thing!

Having a good balance of healthy gut flora in your digestive system is hugely important for processing food, and getting rid of the stuff we don’t want.

According to Harvard Medical School, an imbalance of gut bacteria may cause diarrhea on one hand, or constipation on the other.

Eat lots of foods rich in probiotics, like yogurt and sauerkraut, to make sure that your internal ecosystem is flourishing and balanced.

Constipation Relief Tip #4: Get Your 8 Glasses A Day

Constipation Relief Tip #4: Get Your 8 Glasses A Day
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Dehydration is a major cause of constipation.

That’s because if we don’t get enough water our stool dries out and gets more compacted over time, leading to blockage and buildup in the system.

Make sure to get your eight full glasses of water a day to keep your body hydrated, and to make sure your stool is loose enough to pass easily.

Constipation Relief Tip #5: Grease The Gears

Constipation Relief Tip #5: Grease The Gears
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

The more constipated you are, the tougher it is to get things moving again, because the oldest and most compact stool is often blocking everything else from exiting the body.

Even if you drink water and get your probiotics in gear, it may still be stuck behind a digestive “traffic jam.”

Adding a little bit of healthy oil, like olive or coconut, to your diet can make all the difference, because it lubricates the digestive system and might make it easier for the blocked-up areas to clear.

Constipation Relief Tip #6: Listen To Nature’s Call

Constipation Relief Tip #6: Listen To Nature’s Call
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If you feel the urge to go, make time for a trip to the bathroom.

Holding in poo because you’re busy or uncomfortable using a public bathroom is generally not a great idea.

Your body will eventually stop sending the signal to poop, and may not send it again for another hour, which can cause dangerous blockages and pain.

In that time, your system could get even more backed up and uncomfortable, so it’s best to simply go as soon as possible.

Constipation Relief Tip #7: Feed On Fiber

Constipation Relief Tip #7: Feed On Fiber
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

When it comes to constipation, fiber is king, and for good reason!

Foods with lots of fiber, like raw fruits and veggies, flaxseed, and a morning bowl of bran all help to keep things moving.

That’s because fiber bulks up stool, which in turn helps to signal to the body that it’s time to excrete it, leading to a much more comfortable digestive tract!

How many of these constipation remedies have you tried? Let us know in the comments, and please don’t forget to SHARE this important information with friends and family!