19 extra tips for fixing constipation

A few weeks ago, I ran a post by Dana from Hypothyroidmom.com on how she reversed her constipation. Boy, a lot of us are blocked up, hey!? (I’m really tempted to drop some poo puns in here…like how the response created a sh*t storm… but will hold it in… I mean refrain.) I’ve since put together a follow-up post for you with the extra tips shared in the comments – far from a comprehensive list, but some great ideas.

Image via Favim
Image via Favim

Some of the common themes that came through in the comments:

1. Cut back on dairy as it has a protein called casein which can sometimes slow things down.

2. Take psyllium husk regularly. Although, if you are going to go down this road, please up your intake of water. If you don’t, it will simply worsen the constipation. I’m personally not so keen on psyllium husks. If you get occasional constipation, it’s OK. But for many, the husks can actually form a hard “plug” that, well, is immovable. Slippery elm powder is a far better solution – see below.

3. Take some colloidal silver consistently for about a week. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the stuff, you can read more about it here. And here’s an opposing view stating reasons against ingesting it. I’ve not tried it myself.

4. Get a colonic. I have a range of thoughts on colonics. For anyone seriously stuck, it’s a neat way to re-boot. I don’t like the idea of using them as a regular “detox” tool – unnecessary, potential risks and not “natural” (Just Eat Real Food instead).

5. Eating clay. You can read more on the topic here.

6. Load up on seasonal greens. In winter, make green soups, put spinach in everything and have some spirulina with warm water and a dash of lemon juice.

7. Take bitter melon capsules. Reader Danni says: “I have a thyroid problem and have suffered many of the problems outlined above. I have been taking two bitter melon capsules (read more about them here) after each meal and have found absolutely no problem with constipation – all working better than ever before…maybe the Asians have known this all along.”

Kate Callaghan, dietician and IQS expert, shared these suggestions recently on her blog:

8. Have one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar 30 minutes before meals to help stimulate digestion. I totally agree with this and do it myself.

9. Avoid drinking liquids with meals.  And about 30 minutes either side of meals, too. This can dilute stomach acid, which inhibits optimal digestion and can contribute to constipation. Ditto – I’ve found this makes quite a difference.

10. A tip from Mary Roach: Get a kitten. Here’s the full article.

These extra tips below come from Michele Wolff’s book, Digestive Solutions:

11. Drink dandelion root tea. To sweeten, add some rice malt syrup and milk.

12. Slippery Elm powder helps. On contact with water, slippery elm powder becomes slimey and gel-like in texture. It has a soothing action on all mucous membranes, including those of the digestive tract, urinary and respiratory tracts. Slippery elm is also rich in nutrients and can be used as a gruel for anyone with intestinal inflammation.

13. Take two tablespoons of olive oil before bed. It lubricates the bowel.

14. “Make time to relax!” Have you ever been so nervous that you feel tight or nervous in your stomach? Stress has an enormous effect on the body, and the bowels are no exception to this. If your body is relaxed, your muscles will be too, which will assist in moving things along.  Listen to music, take a painting class, get out in the garden, or mediate.

15. Chew your food well. The saliva will coat your food in enzymes and make it easier on your digestive system. I’m a big fan of this one.

16. Try an abdominal massage. Sometimes the external pressure helps get things flowing. I do this regularly.

17. Try drinking Epsom salts. I’ve done this when stuck, and it’s been a good “back-up” option to carry with me when travelling. Epsom salts act like any other salt which means they attract water. When they pass through your bowel system, the salts will pull the water from other areas of your body, increasing the amount of lubrication found within your digestive system. The increased lubrication leads to increased excretion.

Here’s what to do:

  • Take three cups of water and mix in four tablespoons of Epsom salt. Put the mixture in your fridge.
  • At 6 pm, have around ¾ of a cup of the Epsom salt mix. Have another serving of the drink at 8 pm. Make a drink containing a half cup each of squeezed grapefruit juice and olive oil, being sure to shake the mixture.
  • Try to go to the bathroom and then have the drink at around 10 pm while standing.
  • When you wake up in the morning, have ¾ cup of the Epsom salt mixture and go back to bed. Two hours later take the last dose. Don’t start eating until two hours later and start with light foods.
  • Eat dinner as normal but be ready for diarrhea.

18. Have a warm bath or place a heat pack on your stomach. Heat relaxes your bowel muscles.

19. And one final thing to try?
Michelle says: “In the morning, place a cold pack (straight from the freezer) on the groin area of you left leg. Keep it there while you drive the kids to school, or while you eat your breakfast. After 15 minutes or so, remove it and you will have the urge to go.” I’d love to hear if this one works…I’ll try it myself when the weather’s warmer.

If you suffer from constipation, I hope you might have found something helpful here that helps relieve the issue. Feel free to share feedback or ask questions…

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