Isn’t being constipated just the worst feeling? Even if you don’t look bloated, you just feel off—like you’re carrying a bowling ball inside of your stomach. It can cause cramps and even sharp pains. It can give you severe side aches when you exercise—remember everything, including your intestines, jiggle when you jog and having full intestines can be uncomfortable. I certainly don’t feel sexy when I’m constipated. I’ve even canceled sex with my poor partner because I was feeling so backed up. I’ve even cancelled plans to go out because I was so constipated. Those who never struggle with it, just don’t get it, but those who do know that when you’re constipated, it’s really all you can think about. It’s this problem hovering over your head that you have to fix before you can think about anything else. But, if you don’t want to turn to laxatives because they can be addictive and have other side effects, and you are so backed up that you don’t want to eat any food, even if it has laxative effects, here are food-free and laxative-free ways to relieve constipation.
Take a hot bath
A hot bath has a way of relaxing your entire body. You know it because you feel so at ease after a hot bath. It can also relax the stomach muscles and loosen up stool from the outside in. Since you partially lean back in the bath, it also puts your spine in a more natural position, taking pressure off of your intestines and promoting movement.
Go for a jog
Have you ever noticed that, just the moment you start jogging, you panic and have to turn around to poop? So, do it on purpose—this time, just purposefully stay close to home, knowing the urge to go will hit soon. Jogging shakes things up, including your intestines, and can get things moving.
Drink hot water with cayenne pepper
Hot water can loosen up the stool and cayenne pepper irritates the intestines (in a good way) and can induce a bowel movement. It’s actually one of the reasons pregnant women who are overdue sometimes eat spicy food—the intestines and uterus sit so close together that activating one activates the other and can induce labor.
Apply pressure here
Very gently, stand against your bed with your lower stomach pressing against it. Have the most amount of pressure right around the belly button, where the stomach begins to feed into the intestine. Slowly apply pressure, as this may encourage stool from the upper intestine to move to the lower intestine. Do so very slowly and gently.
Try this stretch
The lowest part of your colon that connects to your rectum, called the sigmoid colon, is located on the left side of your body. When you’re feeling backed up, take your left hand, reach it towards the ceiling, then gently reach over your body, towards the wall on your right. This can activate that portion of the colon.
Watch/listen to something relaxing
Sometimes, all we need is to relax in order to go. Have you ever noticed how you feel the need to go right after a massage? Well, you could get a massage each time you’re constipated, but that could get expensive, or you can try other ways to relax like listening to relaxing music or watching something that makes you laugh and take your mind off of things. Just sit on the toilet, play the relaxing media, and wait.
Don’t eat until you’ve gone
The body can only handle so many processes at once. It typically cannot handle processing new food while eliminating old food. So, if you are, for example, a morning pooper, do not eat breakfast until you’ve gone to the bathroom. Instead, try having that hot water with cayenne pepper and doing the colon stretch to see if you can have a bowel movement before eating.
Sex is relaxing. If you have rather active sex, it shakes things up. And if you’re on your back, you put pressure on the intestines in a way that can get things moving. You don’t need to tell your partner that you’re hoping this round of intercourse helps you go, but you can secretly know that it might.
Use a squatty potty
If you haven’t yet used a squatty potty, it’s time to try one. The way we sit on regular toilets pinches our intestines, making it harder for stool to pass through. A squatty potty elevates the legs, relieving that tension on the intestines and opening the pathways to an easy poop.
Stand/move while having breakfast
Sitting down in general pinches our intestines in a way that hinders bowel movements. If you do generally go in the morning, don’t sit down until you have. Move around your home (with a cup of that hot water with cayenne pepper) until you feel the need to go. Don’t immediately sit at a laptop, first thing.
Take magnesium at night
Magnesium is an important supplement to take at any time of the day but taking it in the evening can help you wake up to an easy bowel movement. It relaxes the nerves, including those in the stomach.
Wear loose clothes
For me, personally, wearing tight clothes when I’m constipated makes matters worse. I can’t have constant pressure on one place on my stomach. If you’re backed up, consider sticking to loose garments.
Be aware of your natural schedule
Getting to know your natural schedule will be one of the best ways to prevent constipation. Keep in mind that when constipation occurs, it can compound quickly. If you tend to go first thing in the morning, then get up a little earlier to give yourself the time. If you rush your mornings, you may be in the car or on the bus the moment you have to go, then you hold it, and the urge to go leaves.
Touch your perineum
This is the skin between the vagina and anus. Stimulating it can promote a bowel movement.
Sleep plenty and regularly
Not getting enough sleep does a lot of bad things to the body, including trigger constipation. When you don’t sleep enough, your stress hormones surge, and nobody can really go to the bathroom when their body is under stress.