What to Take for Constipation Relief
Consider These Great 10

When dealing with, “what to take for constipation”, there are a lot of options out there. Let's discuss each one, examine the pros and cons, and then you can decide which you would like to choose.

The ultimate goal is to eliminate constipation issues long term, leading to more energy and overall better health.

Before discussing what to take, let’s review the basics.

How to Stop

Where to start

Here are the underlying causes of constipation.

  • An overabundance of sweets
  • Fast foods and processed foods with little fiber
  • lack of natural fiber from fruits, vegetables and grains
  • Dehydration – not drinking 8 glasses of water a day
  • lack of beneficial bacteria in the colon

In many cases, addressing the above concerns may often be the most effective treatment of all.

Once we have considered how to establish a healthier lifestyle, let’s move on to our topic at hand, what to take to treat constipationAfter all, you’re probably experiencing some very uncomfortable feelings and need something now.

Click here to read about constipation medications.

What To Take For Constipation

Ten Options For Relief

1. Stimulant laxatives

The most common stimulant laxatives are:

  • Carters Little Pills
  • ExLax
  • Dulcolax

These can all be found in your neighborhood drug. However, there are MAJOR drawbacks to using them. Often times stimulant laxatives contain toxic chemicals and harsh herbs in their formula that work by causing spasms and contractions in the intestinal muscles.

These types of laxatives are well known to weaken the body's natural ability to defecate. The body becomes dependent on them for the contractions of the colon that moves stool along. This causes laxative dependency. They may also cause cramping and diarrhea.

When a person stops using them, the constipation problem is worse than ever. Sure, they take effect in a few hours as opposed to days. But at what cost? When considering what to take for constipation, stimulant laxatives are only recommended for very limited use when all else has failed.

Key Consideration: There are natural alternatives that are highly effective and safe.

2. Stimulant/hydrating laxatives

These types of laxative work in two ways:

  • They stimulate the intestine muscle to contract, causing an acceleration of stool through the large intestine.

  • They increase the amount of moisture in stool, thereby helping it to slide along the walls of your colon.

Common brand names are: Feen-a-mint, Dulcolax, Correctol and Senokot.

Important to Note: As mentioned in point 1, it isn't wise to take a stimulant laxative every day for any length of time. In fact, it is best not to use them except in times of extreme need.

3. Bulking agents (fiber)

This form of fiber is what most doctors recommend for constipation. The typical brands recommended are:







How does fiber work to relieve constipation?

  • Fiber holds moisture in the stool
  • Fiber increases the bulk of the stool

This helps to move the stool more quickly through the colon. 

However, be careful about increasing fiber intake too abruptly, as it may lead to abdominal cramping, bloating, or gas. When increasing fiber, it is wise to insure that you have good flora in your gut.

You can do this by:

  • Taking a probiotic
  • Consuming cultured foods like sour kraut
  • Drinking cultured or fermented items, like Kefir Kombucha

An alternative to fiber

When considering what to take for constipation, know that we can increase fiber intake simply by increasing our consumption of organic:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Quality grains.

We need fiber for constipation relief, but fiber brings numerous other health benefits, such as:

  • More energy
  • A stronger body
  • Increased alertness

Key considerations

When increasing the amount of fiber in one’s diet, it's essential to drink plenty of water (1 glass per hour) in order to minimize the possibility of flatulence. 

The 2nd key is to gradually increase fiber intake.

4. Lubricant laxatives

Just as the name implies, lubricant laxatives help remedy constipation by making stools slippery, allowing it to move more easily through the colon. The oil found within these products creates a slick layer on intestine walls.

It also seals off colon receptors, preventing the colon from extracting moisture from the stool. This helps keep stool moist, soft and slick.

Drawbacks of lubricant laxatives

These can be highly effective, but are not recommended to be taken long term. Mineral oil does the following:

  • Mineral oil absorbs fat-soluble vitamins from the intestine, leading to nutritional deficiencies and eventually sickness and disease.

  • Mineral oil blocks colon receptacles, preventing nutrients from being absorbed into the body.

  • Mineral oil can cause embarrassing oily stool seepage.

5. Emollient laxatives (stool softeners)

These are frequently used by:

  • Those who are recovering from surgery

  • Women who have just given birth

  • Individuals with hemorrhoids.

Examples are Colace or generic Colace. These contain docusate, a surfactant that helps to "wet" and soften the stool.

The downside of using stool softeners:

  • Might take a week or longer to be effective
  • May cause gas-related pain and dehydration

6. Saline laxatives and osmotic laxatives

The active ingredients in saline and osmotic laxatives are mostly magnesium sulfate, magnesium citrate, magnesium phosphate or sodium citrate. Philips Milk of Magnesia and Epson Salt are popular brand names.

A magnesium deficiency might lead to an imbalance of fluid, reducing water in the digestive tract and making it hard to have regular bowel movements.

Both magnesium and sodium draw water into the intestines, which may help with following:

  • Hydrate the stool
  • Soften the stool
  • Moist stool is slick, helping it to glide through the colon
  • Moist stool has more bulk, which can trigger the urge to go

Because of its high sodium content, sodium citrate is not recommended. On the other hand, magnesium may be quite beneficial. Using magnesium for constipation cooperates with the body by naturally pulling water into the digestive tract.

This helps to prevent the stool from drying out and becoming hard. The key word is "naturally". Magnesium generally causes no harmful side effects. If a person takes too much magnesium, their kidneys simply get rid of it.

Note: A person with kidney disease must be
very careful not to take too much magnesium.

When diseased kidneys fail to process out any excess,
their level of magnesium can become dangerously high.

Benefits of using magnesium for constipation relief

Magnesium is essential for over 300 different chemical reactions in the body, including:

     • Maintaining energy levels. Could you use more energy?

     • Helping a person to relax – for a good night’s sleep.

     • Sustaining heart health - who doesn't need this?

7. A daily magnesium supplement

Instead of taking magnesium occasionally for constipation, why not take a daily magnesium supplement to help keep stools soft for the rest of your life? That is exactly what my wife and I are doing.

I used to really struggle with constipation, but no more. Since we started taking a low sodium sea mineral supplement, which contains 106% of the US RDA of Magnesium, constipation is gone.

My wife is an RN. I will let her tell you her experience.

8. Herbal remedies

These types of remedies rely on naturally balancing electrolytes. It helps to heal issues like abdominal pain and constipation.

  • Rhubarb is commonly found in many colon cleansing products and supplements. 
    Rhubarb root was a traditional Chinese laxative.

    This natural herb is also known to reduce inflammation, thereby creating an effective yet soothing cleansing effect.
  • Regular and herbal teas may bring some constipation relief.

  • Cayenne Pepper is another herb that is commonly found in herbal colon cleansing.
    It is known for helping to relieve abdominal gas.

  • Aloe Vera is an all natural, powerful stimulant laxative. Unfortunately, it has the very same negative effects as commercial stimulant laxatives mention in point 1 above.

    When looking into natural laxatives, try to find out how they function.
    Are they a stimulant, a lubricant, a fiber product, or other.
    This will help you to decide if they are your choice of what to take for constipation.
    (See constipation solutions)

9. Home remedies: foods for constipation

In the Huffington Post article entitled "Constipation Foods: 10 Foods That Will Make You Go", their recommendations for handling constipation includes consuming a fair amount of the following:

  • Prunes - rich in fiber, vitamin A and potassium.

  • Pears - considered to be a natural laxative that helps to ease the movement of stool through the intestines.

  • Broccoli - a super source of fiber, which is excellent for relieving constipation. 

  • Flaxseed - full of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids (make sure to take the seeds, not the oil).

  • Beans - most varieties contain a good amount of fiber

10. Enemas

What to take for constipation? This is certainly an option. Enemas treat constipation by introducing fluid into the intestines through the rectum. This softens the impacted stool, and helps to stimulate a large bowel movement. 

Taking an enema when you are constipated can:

  • Be very relieving
  • Give quick results
  • Be used in the comfort and privacy of your own home

Conclusion, what to take for constipation

So there you have it, a well rounded look at what to take for constipation, with the best recommendations being:

  • Enemas
  • Natural foods
  • Herbs
  • Take magnesium every day

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