A lot of circumstances affect your bowel movements, such as your age, health status, eating habits, and gender. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you are having three or fewer bowel movements per week, it’s a problem. Constipation happens when bowel movements are too infrequent, hard, and difficult to pass.
There are a variety of things that can cause constipation, like not eating enough fiber or dehydration, but causes can also be due to cancer, stress, hormonal changes, and problems with the muscles involved in having a bowel movement. This is why you should keep track of your bowel movements and consult a doctor if you are eating right and exercising, but are still constipated.
Fast and easy ways to have a good bowel movement are:
- Drink More Water
It is very important for your body to be well hydrated at all times, to help it function properly. The standard recommendation is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, so if you’re parched, it might be why you’re not pooping.
Try some jogging or walking to increase the blood flow to your digestive system. It is recommended by doctors to get at least some light exercise every single day to encourage your body to work properly.
It helps to put a small stool in front of your toilet to place your feet on while you go to the bathroom. This will help you go without straining so much.
- Try a Stool Softener
Stool softeners with docusate sodium or docusate calcium pull water from your intestines to allow your stool to pass more easily. It helps to take these with a decent amount of water.
- Use an Enema
Enemas can be composed of tap water, soapsuds, or they can have sodium phosphate in them, which will soften the stool to make it easier to pass.
- Add Fiber to Your Diet
It is recommended that you eat at least 14 grams of fiber out of every 1,000 calories that you consume. You can get more fiber by eating fresh veggies and fruit, beans, legumes, and whole grains. Alternatively, there are fiber supplements, but these can cause bloating, and it is always best to get the bulk of your fiber naturally.
- Take a Stimulant, Lubricant, or Osmotic Laxative
Laxatives that use stimulants squeeze the intestines to force a bowel movement. Lubricant laxatives like mineral oil coat the walls of the intestines, which allows stool to move more easily through the colon. Mineral oil should be taken soon after your evening meal, and should work within eight hours. Osmotic laxatives include milk of magnesia and some prescriptions like Miralax, and they also work with the fluids in the body to move stool through the colon.
- Use a Suppository
Glycerin or bisacodyl suppositories soften stool and can be found over the counter at any pharmacy. These suppositories are inserted rectally, and work fairly quickly after insertion.
- Try Colonic Massage
You can massage your colon from the outside, which will help your stool move more easily through your colon to your rectum, where it can be expelled with less effort.
To wrap it up, you can try these methods at home to produce good bowel movements every day, but also keep in mind that you should never “hold in” your stool, and that managing your stress can go a long way toward a more healthy digestive system. And remember, if these methods don’t work, it is time to see your doctor.