Constipation - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Constipation. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Probiotics

Posted by Gord235 (Vancouver, British Columbia) on 09/24/2020
5 out of 5 stars

I finally cured my constipation when a friend gave me some probiotic capsules to try. They were 80 billion strength and after taking one a day for five days I noticed a marked improvement in my bowel movements. Every movement was smooth and made without effort. Doing some research I discovered that taking anti-biotics can sometimes knock out your natural gut bacteria which aids in the digestive process and that is what happened to me when I was given anti-biotics for a bladder infection. Probiotics help to grow gut bacteria to replace that which was destroyed by the antibiotics. I understand that yogurt contains probiotics but not enough to make a difference. It is only necessary to take the probiotics for seven days in order to get the gut bacteria re-established then put them away. If constipation returns then do another seven days of one capsule per day.


Water

Posted by Prathna (Turlock, California) on 02/15/2017
5 out of 5 stars

I have suffered constipation from the past 40 years, the best and affordable thing I have come across is that lack of water is the main cause of constipation, and another best is we do drink water but it needs to be little bit warmer than luke warm. I start my day with hot water, and whenever I am thirsty I drink hot water, and my constipation has disappeared.


MSM

Posted by Cindy (Illinois, Usa) on 07/13/2016 262 posts
5 out of 5 stars

After years of chronic constipation, I haven't been constipated for...I don't even know how long. But the magic bullet, for me, was MSM in my drinking water.

I work at home and always have a glass of ice water at my side. I use one of those 1 gallon glass jugs like the organic apple juice comes in to catch the water from my Berkey filter with 4 teaspoons of MSM per gallon. It's basically a recipe for really tasty mineral water. Like well water used to taste when I was a kid.

I just use the big, 5 lb jug that is for horses. And the reason I do that - aside form the fact that it's a whole lot cheaper - is because...well...I look at it this way: If contaminated product gets to just one million dollar race horse, heads are going to roll and that supplier is ruined while a pharmaceutical company can poison thousands and thousands of people, every single year, and still make billions of dollars and hit their target stock price. It just seems logical to me. Same with unprocessed sea salt and diatomaceous earth.

When people get sick, people just think people get sick but when one race horse or one of a cattle rancher's animals or even one wild animal or one animal at the zoo gets sick, Sherlock Holmes gets a call, the game's afoot and the culprit, if it's human, runs for its very life - ROFL! That's the way I see it.

Don't load up on MSM because there's no reason for it. If you start getting "cleansing" reactions, back off a little bit, at first, because it's going to open you up and clean you out. It's a bit like a microscopic, internal steam bath that opens the pores of your cells and flushes out the toxins which will include caffeine, nicotine and any drugs you may have taken in your younger, wilder days that the body has stored in your fat cells so try it and see what happens. If things get woolly, then cut the amount in half and wait a bit before you increase it. Don't overload your liver. If you're an active person, your body can eliminate a lot of toxins with your sweat but if you're NOT an active person, then you want to flush more slowly. If you want, you can use a warm cayenne foot bath to draw some of the toxins out that way. The bottom of the feet, the palms, the armpits and the face have the most concentrated numbers of sweat glands.

It will also release any antibiotics you've taken from your fat cells where the body stores toxins when it's overwhelmed. Unnatural antibiotics are toxins. So you might also want to add some Vitamin C and probiotics AND avoid refined sweets for a while to help avoid a candida-type backlash that can be brought on by the release of antibiotics from their fat little jail cells.

And if you've EVER taken antibiotics, make no mistake - they're IN there - they're in JAIL, but any cleanse that actually cleanses is going to let some of them OUT and MSM is the son of the best physiologically cleansing "jailhouse lawyer" on the planet, which is DMSO. But, even so, I'd MUCH rather deal with candida than with chronic constipation. It's like the difference between being annoyed to the point of going nuts and being slowly tortured to death. Candida is far less dangerous than some of the things people do in an effort to eliminate it but chronic constipation has a direct effect on your life expectancy because THOSE toxins are NOT in jail. Your body cannot produce fat fast enough to catch them all.

To help with anal problems brought on by constipation - hemorrhoids, fissure, bleeding - cleansing is good. You can make a little cleansing bidet out of a laboratory "wash bottle". One of those translucent white bottles with the cap with a "spigot" on it. You can get them on Amazon or a regular lab supply place or whatever. Here's what you do:

The bottle is designed to squirt water without having to turn it upside down and has a tube inside that fits into the cap. Remove that tube. That way, you can use it upside down, like a faucet, and squeeze it to squirt the contents.

Put a tiny bit of Bronner's liquid soap in the bottle and fill with cold tap water. Shake it up and you have what is essentially a liquid baby-wipe! When you use the bathroom, you can simply turn it upside down, aim and squeeze to cleanse. Not just for when you have a BM but you can use it to keep clean BETWEEN BMs. Just to keep that area clean.

To dry yourself off, you can cut up old clothes into washcloth size pieces and just throw them away after you use them or you can wash them or you can get one of those twelve-packs of cheap wash cloths (wash them before you use them) and you have a stack of reusable wipes. BUT you don't want to "wipe" - you want to gently pat yourself dry. Then refill your bidet bottle for next time. And, of course, you can add anything you want to your cleansing liquid - ACV, aloe, maybe a little cayenne if you have bleeding or whatever you want. You can use a gallon-size vinegar bottle to mix up large batches from which to refill your wash bottle.

You can get wash bottles in various colors or you can decorate and label them with a Sharpie or whatever you want so that everyone has their own bottle. The bottles come in various sizes so you can get smaller ones for child-size hands and larger one's for grown up-size hands. They're also great for car trips or your beach bag. Just fill and stick them where they can stay upright and use them to wash hands or rinse feet or whatever.

Wash bottles are the neatest thing since sliced bread for all kinds of liquid applications, both right side up with the tube installed, as a water pik or for olive oil in the kitchen or without the tube, upside down for things like squirting a disinfecting solution under the rim of the toilet. You can even use them empty, as a little air duster.

I prefer laboratory-quality bottles as they are non-reactive - you can keep straight ACV or even alcohol in a laboratory-quality bottle, no problem. I'm not sure about the cheap ones. I have a couple but I just use them empty, for air, like for blowing lint and dust out of my sewing machine and the vent on my computer and debris out of my keyboard, stuff like that. Oh, and I have one with some soapy vinegar in it for laundry purposes.


Magnesium

Posted by Yolanda (Los Angeles, Ca) on 04/06/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Never felt so light and constipation free for as long as I can remember. No doubt magnesium helped. I have literally tried everything else for constipation. 2 tablets of magnesium citrate 200 mg before bedtime is all it takes. And I need to mention it also helped me ease my anxiety and I am sleeping like a baby every night. Now I am always excited to wake up in the morning because my trip in the bathroom is eazy breazy. 😊

A warning though.. Make sure you have no problems in your kidney before you take it. And check with your doctor if you have any other ailments. Thanks Earth Clinic for the chance to share this and be able to help others who are in the same boat as I was!!


Chia Seeds

Posted by Deb (Lebanon, Oregon) on 12/04/2014

Having grown up with chronic constipation (a small amount once a month) I have been trying to remedy it for the past 20 years (I'm now 57). I've tried all the recommendations. A number of years ago I discovered powdered magnesium and I kept increasing the amount until I had results. Two tablespoons would keep me regular. Concerned about taking this much I kept searching but always would default back. Then I found chia seeds. I soak a tablespoon over night and put it in a 3 fruit smoothie for my breakfast every morning. It has been working for a year now with daily regularity (sometimes twice a day).


Sea Salt Cleanse

Posted by Misty (Indiana, Usa) on 02/07/2014
5 out of 5 stars

To relieve constipation, I mix ~1 tsp salt water sole with 24 oz water (the solution should taste pretty salty) and drink the full glass (you don't have to drink it all at once, but try drinking the whole solution within an hour). Then, I eat something with plenty of fiber, such as oatmeal or a microwave flax muffin. This usually gets me going within an hour or two.

When this doesn't work, I then try coffee mixed with 1 tbsp coconut oil. If that doesn't work, I take a few magnesium oxide tablets. If all else fails, I do a sea salt cleanse first thing in the morning. If none of these remedies work for you, you are too constipated for home treatment and need to see a doctor.

To make salt water sole, take a glass container with a plastic lid (do not use a metal lid because the salt reacts with the metal! ). I use an empty glass water bottle, but a canning jar or whatever you have will work so long as the lid is not metal. Fill the container about 1/3 full with a good, natural salt. I use Himalayan pink salt, but Celtic sea salt or any other unrefined, non-iodized salt should work. Fill the container the rest of the way with purified water (not tap). Cap the container and shake it up to dissolve the salt. Excess salt should sink to the bottom - this is a good thing because it means the water is saturated with the salt. Let the solution stand for 8-24 hours. When consuming sole, do not stir; Just pour some out from the top.

I drink 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt water sole everyday when I get up in the morning to keep in good health. When you are running low on sole, just add more salt and water, always making sure that there is excess salt at the bottom.


Molasses

Posted by Amira (Portland, Oregon) on 05/12/2013
5 out of 5 stars

If anyone here is like me and read everyone else's posts and thought, "These folks don't have problems like I got problems. I better double the dose," then you will likely experience the same toilet-bound week as I did. This molasses cure works incredibly well (for me, anyways). I initially did 2 Tablespoons in a mug of unsweetened almond milk, added a little honey and heated it to very warm. I did this twice a day for a week and went through a major cleanse. I have had chronic constipation my whole life (I am 26), sometimes going 4 days without a movement, being bloated, unable to think properly (the digestive system being the "2nd brain" and all), and cranky. I did this 2 Tablespoons molasses twice per day treatment for about 2 weeks, and added in a probiotic before bed each night (I have heard probiotics will help with digestion for years, and for some reason just got around to using them-- probably because they cause such bloating and gas if one is not clearing out the digestive system, but in tandem with molasses it was great), as well as drank about 1 Tablespoon chia seeds in water or watermelon juice each day for fiber and cleansing (chia is supposed to absorb and pull toxins from the body). I have not gone more than 1 day without a movement since I began this treatment about a month ago.

Eventually, the 2T of molasses twice per day stopped giving me the runs, I went down to 1 T for a week, and the molasses seemed to be a lot less intense so I just kept up with the probiotic each night, the chia seed drinks in the day, and all was pretty great. After about a week of not drinking it, I thought I would start up again this morning with 1 Tablespoon molasses in warm almond milk, and OH MY, it is now my go-to laxative in the case that I ever just want to 'lighten the load', because within 15 minutes, I was clearing out rapidly. I have researched and I am not quite sure what causes this reaction, though I have heard that it is high in magnesium which will relax the muscles. Beyond that, I don't know what works so well, but I am delighted to have discovered this remedy, and thanks again to EarthClinic for being a wonderful resource!


Magnesium

Posted by Carriec (Southern Utah, Usa) on 03/17/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I am one that has had constipation problems since I was a child. A couple years ago I found Magnesium did wonders, and since the product 'C--m' came out in the powdered form I just purchased the magnesium as Magnesium Citrate POWDER. It's less than $10 bucks and you can easily stir the amount you need in water. I drink it before bedtime. I sleep like a baby thru the nite, and, like clockwork, have a bowel movement in the morning. For someone who has struggled with this condition since age 4 (which means 4 decades now) I feel like I have found the miracle cure and I'm finally "normal". For those that don't like the sour taste of citrate, I mix some Stevia in it. I sure wish my mother would have known of the simplicity of Magnesium Citrate Powder when I was a child. It's so simple and easy for a child to take. You could easily mix it with orange juice or the like. I just hope this information helps you mothers out there. Like many other posts have stated, we seem to be a magnesium deficient people right now.


Coconut Oil

Posted by Tori13 (Kelowna, Bc, Canada) on 12/11/2012
5 out of 5 stars

YES... I finally found a natural remedy for constipation that works amazing for me! It works so well for me that I just had to write a post to help others. I am eager to hear if it works for you too.

My story: I have had CFS/Fibromyalgia for the past 7 years. This condition has left me with a wide range of varying symptoms affecting many systems in my body, including slowed digestion, and very sluggish bowels. Constipation had become a daily struggle and so I have searched endlessly to find a natural remedy that I wouldn't have to worry about taking regularly. Some of the remedies I have tried: molasses, various cereals designed to move bowels, chia seeds, hulled hemp hearts, acidophilus, prunes, herbal remedies, large quantities of vegetables, juicing, various sources of fibre, food-combining diets, vegetarian diets, and also vegan diets. I've had some degree of success but results were either inconsistent, short-lasting, or the remedy was difficult to stick with (as in the case with restricted diets).

I started taking coconut oil for other health issues but what I discovered is that it resolved my constipation! I have been taking coconut oil for approximately 1 1/2 months with terrific results. The reason that I know for sure it is the coconut oil relieving my constipation is that I have accidentally missed a dose on a few occasions and the constipation returns every time. Then, I resume my regular dosing and I'm back to being regular.

Here is the dosage that works for me:

1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil, 2 times per day. I found it easiest to put it in my morning smoothie. In the evening, I would often melt the coconut oil on a piece of toast before adding honey & cinnamon or jam.

*The secret for me has been taking it twice daily. Increasing the dosage and only taking it once per day did not achieve results for me.

TIPS: Coconut oil can have a die-off effect when you first begin taking it. I found researching the die-off symptoms prior to beginning treatment helped me know what to expect and adjust accordingly.

I started with a tiny dose and built up SLOWLY. For some people, slowly may mean taking a tiny dose once every 3 or 4 days until they are able to comfortably consume it on a daily basis. My understanding is that other people experience no die-off effects and can comfortably consume several tablespoons in a day. Again, the dosage above is what worked for me, by listening to my body, adjusting accordingly, and monitoring the results.

I wish you the best of success and hope this post offers you some hope and relief.


Magnesium

Posted by Maria (Gippsland, Australia) on 09/22/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Magnesium is great for constipation, it can also be cheap. Start at a lower dose and gradually increase it till you have loose bowel movements then back the dose down until they are not loose. You will probably need to go back and forth to find the dose that is right for you. For some reason some of us have greater needs for magnesium and I have found most people I know who deal with long term constipation issues (often from childhood) have a much greater need for it. Magnesium chloride made into magnesium oil is great, but I and many others have used with success epsom salts. Used because of its availability and price. We started with 1/4 teaspoon first thing in the morning and also in the evening and generally taking it up to 1 teaspoon then lowering it. Have a chaser of water with lemon juice to follow for the taste. Currently I'm using magnesium citrate as I was able to get it for a good price at the time.

If your feces contains undigested food you need digestive enzymes. As these can be expensive you could first try ginger, taken as tablets or powdered ginger in hot water (ginger tea) with each meal. For some people the ginger works, after 3 - 6 months use, better than the enzymes. Also make sure you drink enough water and eat plenty of veg for fibre.


Lemon Juice and Olive Oil

Posted by Elaine (Chicago, Il) on 10/20/2010
5 out of 5 stars

I have suffered with constipation for years... I mean two digit number of years. I have tried every remedy around. I did not want to try the olive oil and lemon; it just sounded awful (to drink oil). I finally was fed up and gave it a try. I mixed 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin olive oil with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and added a sprinkle of salt (some recommended that for taste) and drank it down. Well, 15 minutes later I had relief, like I have never had before!! I give this remedy 10 thumbs up! When constipation is relieved, so are so many other issues in your body! Someone said they take it at night and wake with an easy BM. I am so glad I found this remedy. BTW, people tend to like to suggest fiber to those who are constipated and fiber may cause people who suffer from constipation to feel much worse. I was one of them, it made me so bloated and gassy. I looked it up on the Internet and it IS NOT for everyone.


Sea Salt Cleanse

Posted by Michelle (Roseville, CA) on 07/02/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I have tried so many remedies over the years for my constipation. Many have been rather costly. My nutritionist told me about a simple, cheap, and effective way to give yourself a good cleanse and help you to stay regular. First of all, the #1 cause of constipation is not drinking enough water. The #2 cause is not enough good salt in your diet. He told me to do this first thing in the morning before anything else: get a big glass of water, about 32 ounces. Add 1 tsp of good sea salt (Hawaiian pink salt is the best-- I use Premier) to the water. Drink it all down, probably within 15 minutes. (I think it is easier to drink a lot of water in the morning because your stomach is empty and it won't make you feel bloated) I tried this 2 days in a row and within a few hours I had a great cleanse. Not a hard one, but very easy and cleansing! I will continue to do this each and every day. Sometimes it's hard to drink water constantly throughout the day, although it is good for you, this is easy! And it doesn't taste gross! And the salt is good for you too for so many other things! I can't wait to see how this is going to effect my mood, my skin, my energy, etc! And to add, this may be harder, but it works better too if you try not to eat past 8pm. I have a horrible habit but I am working on that too. Think this will all make me sleep better and overall feel better!