12 Effective Ways To Prevent And Treat Constipation

A quite common complaint, constipation is a result of poor dietary choices and old age. However, there are certain foods items that can help alleviate the discomfort and increase the frequency of defecation.

There are a number of symptoms of constipation like bloating, inability to fully empty the bowels, a gap of over 4 days between bowel movements, stools that resemble marble or stones and are hard, lumpy and dry, discomfort during the motions and a general sense of fullness all the time.

What is more, the risk of developing constipation increases with age and elderly people comprise a large chunk of patients. However, there are some things that can help in preventing constipation naturally. The following is a list:

1. Polyethylene Glycol

Also known PEG, it is a laxative that helps the stool retains some much-needed water. It does not affect electrolyte concentration or glucose levels in the blood, but if you have kidney disease, consult your doctor.

2. Methylcellulose

It is a well-known medicine used to treat constipation. It works quite like PEG and adds bulk to stools, and helps in decreasing the gut transit time.

3. Magnesium Citrate Supplement

Magnesium plays an important role in over 600 bodily processes. There are a number of ways in which magnesium is consumed, one of which is through supplements. Magnesium citrate not only helps in restoring the depleted magnesium levels but also helps with constipation.

4. Milk of Magnesia

Another magnesium derivative, milk of magnesia is generally used to treat acidity. As with other magnesium products, you must talk to your doctor since there are some medicines with which magnesium is known to interfere.

5. Calcium Polycarbophil

Also known as Fibercon, it is another medicine prescribed by doctors for the treatment of constipation. A laxative, it helps in reducing the transit time in the intestines through water retention.

6. Castor Oil and Olive Oil

While castor oil is a powerful laxative, it is a double-edged sword. It stimulates the bowel muscles and increases the contractions; however, it can cause nausea as well. It should be used sparingly, as it can cause long term damage. You can, however, use olive oil, another laxative that softens the stool.

7. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera plant contains latex which helps a lot with constipation. Even if you have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), aloe can provide relief. However, as it goes with any laxative, be mindful of the quantity you consume.

8. Bran

In a 1982 study involving 10 constipated women, it was found that bran of grains like wheat and corn could increase the fecal bulk by 142%. It can be considered one of the best ways to decrease gut transit time (by 50%) and increase the frequency of bowel movement. Wheat bran, especially, is considered the gold standard for constipation relief.

9. Sauerkraut

The probiotic bacteria in Sauerkraut may help in lactose digestion. It can also boost immune function and reduce constipation.

10. Yogurt And Kefir

Many dairy products are known to contain probiotic bacteria that boost gut health. Eating plain kefir and yogurt can help with constipation symptoms according to a 2014 study.

11. Pulses

Lentils, beans, and chickpeas have high fiber content, along with many essential nutrients like zinc, potassium, etc. Around 100 gm of cooked pulses can fulfill 26% of your daily fiber requirement.

12. Fiber-rich fruits

Fruits like pears, apples, prunes, and kiwi contain a lot of fiber required by the body. They also contain a lot of liquid that helps in maintaining optimum hydration. Thus, adding fruits to your diet can allay constipation symptoms in the long run.


Fiber is an important part of the digestive system. For better bowel movement, it is recommended to have lots of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) in the diet. There are a number of factors that lead to constipation, including consumption of opioids and too much fatty food.

There are some medicines that also cause constipation, along with lack of hydration and exercise. It is important to consult a doctor before making any dietary changes, especially if the cause of constipation is nothing but a prescribed medication.