Best Constipation Treatments: What Makes You Poop Instantly?

A woman holding the toilet cover

If you find bowel movements increasingly stressful, you might be among the 63 million people in North America experiencing chronic constipation.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can prevent and relieve constipation.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different treatments, remedies, and strategies you can implement to ensure easier bowel movements.

How Do I Know I Have Constipation?

Constipation is a very common condition of the gastrointestinal tract. It can affect anyone from newborn babies to the elderly.

Untreated constipation can significantly impair your quality of life and daily activities, making it a health issue of notable concern.

The typical frequency of bowel movements varies widely among individuals, ranging from three times a day to three times a week, depending on personal digestive rhythms and habits.

You can consider yourself constipated if you are having unusual or infrequent bowel movements — less than thrice per week — and if your bowel movements are difficult or strained.

What are the Best Constipation Relief Strategies?

Constipation is an uncomfortable condition that can often catch us off guard.

In this section, we’ll discuss the best constipation relief strategies, how they work, and any potential side effects.


Medication can offer quick relief for constipation, but its use should be occasional rather than habitual.


Laxatives, a category of medications designed to facilitate bowel motility and aid digestion, play a crucial role in promoting excretion.

They are used in the management of various gastrointestinal disorders but are most commonly used to treat constipation.

Available in oral pill or syrup form, laxatives are recommended after lifestyle modifications have not successfully treated your constipation.

Typically, osmotic and stimulant laxatives are the initial choices due to their high effectiveness for most individuals. Prokinetic laxatives are generally reserved for cases where conventional options fail to provide relief.

Osmotic laxatives

Osmotic laxatives, such as osmotic salts, are substances that the body barely absorbs or breaks down. They function by drawing water into the colon, softening its contents, and facilitating easier, more frequent, and less strained bowel movements.

Examples include lactulose (syrup), sorbitol, milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide), and polyethylene glycol (PEG).


Stimulant laxatives target the colon's myenteric plexus, enhancing motility through alternating contraction and relaxation, effectively stimulating the bowel to expel stool.

Though highly effective, stimulant laxatives may induce abdominal discomfort and pain. Prolonged use can alter the colon's structure and impair its natural function.

Examples include bisacodyl (Dulcolax®) and senna glycoside (Senokot®).


Prokinetic agents enhance bowel mucus production by stimulating the gut's intrinsic neurons, aiding in smoother bowel movements.

Examples include metoclopramide (Reglan®), cisapride (Prepulsid®, Propulsid®), and domperidone (Motilium®).

Bulk-forming agents

Bulk-forming agents work by drawing water into stools, giving them more weight, improved shape, and firmer consistency for easier passage.

Adequate water intake is crucial with these medications to prevent bloating, hard stools, or, in extreme cases, bowel obstruction.

Examples include psyllium (Metamucil®) and methylcellulose (Citrucel®).

Stool softeners and surfactants

Stool softeners and surfactants make stools easier to pass by using fats and oils to soften them. They work by mixing fats and water in the stool, reducing its hardness and making bowel movements more comfortable.

Prolonged use of stool softeners and surfactants as a laxative can cause incontinence and poor absorption of fat-soluble nutrients required by the body.

Docusate sodium (Soflax®) is a good example of a stool softener.


An enema involves introducing a liquid, typically a salt and water solution, directly into the rectum to prompt a bowel movement. This process works by mildly irritating the rectal lining and causing the rectum to expand.

However, frequent or excessive use, especially of tap water enemas, can lead to water intoxication and electrolyte imbalances.

An example is the Fleet® enema.

Dietary adjustments

Before resorting to medication for occasional constipation, your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle and dietary adjustments, emphasizing improved eating habits and hydration as long-term solutions.

Increase fiber intake

Fiber plays a crucial role in a healthy diet and lifestyle by supporting a robust gut microbiome and facilitating digestion. Additionally, dietary fiber is linked to improved metabolic health and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Soluble fiber, found in foods such as whole grains, cooked vegetables, apples, and oatmeal, dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance, softening and bulking up the stool.

On the other hand, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It aids in moving stool through the colon by providing physical bulk.

Sources of insoluble fiber include green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, and seeds.


Although recommended by health experts, fewer than 5% of American adults meet their daily fiber needs, leading many to consider fiber supplements.

But it’s important to choose wisely as not all supplements offer equal benefits.

The best fiber supplements are those backed by clinical studies citing their health advantages.

Unfortunately, many supplements on the market do not contain enough beneficial fiber to make a significant health impact.

Drink more water

Proper hydration is crucial for healthy bowel movements and ease of stool passage, as it enables fiber to effectively soften stools by drawing water into the bowel.

Adequate hydration ensures that stools remain soft and passable. Without sufficient water intake, stools can harden, making them difficult or painful to pass.

Additionally, staying hydrated prevents water getting diverted to the bowel to make it function properly, doesn’t leave the body dehydrated and impairs overall body function.

Grab an extra cup of Joe

A January 2024 study revealed a significant connection between caffeine consumption and improved bowel regularity, including an increase in colon microbiota and enhanced colon motility.

Current evidence does not suggest any safety concerns with caffeine's effect on bowel movements.

However, keep in mind that constipation shouldn’t be the norm and it is not advisable to solely rely on caffeine to potentially stimulate a bowel movement.

Fresh juices

If you don’t drink coffee, fruit juice can also help alleviate your constipation. A recent study showed that 100% prune juice helped ease constipation.

Drinking just one cup of prune juice per day for three weeks resulted in stools that were softer and easier to pass. This can be attributed to the dietary fiber and sugar alcohols (sorbitol) in the juice.

Other juices that are also high in sorbitol and may be effective for treating constipation include apple and pear.

Home remedies

Sometimes the best constipation treatments are simple therapies that can be done in the comfort of your home. You may also find useful remedies in your kitchen cupboard or pantry.

Herbal teas

Herbal teas, which are blends crafted from specific herbs and spices, have demonstrated efficacy in alleviating constipation.

A notable 2019 study highlighted herbal blend capsules comprising the following ingredients as an effective home remedy for chronic constipation:

  • Terminalia chebula

  • Senna

  • Clover plants

  • Green fennel

  • Roman anis or Anisone

  • Green raisins

  • Violets

  • Alhagi maurorum

These ingredients can also be brewed into teas.

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) tea is recognized for its role in easing constipation by boosting digestive enzymes and enhancing intestinal motility.

Similarly, raisin green (Vitis vinifera) tea is linked to constipation relief, attributed to its antioxidant content and a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber.


Emollients and lubricants like mineral oil, olive oil, or hemp oil can be taken orally to provide constipation relief.

These oils aid in bowel movements by lubricating the rectal passage. They incorporate fat into the stools and soften them, making passage easier.

Bowel training

Bowel training involves conditioning your bowel to have regular movements at the same time each day.

For example, aim to use the toilet 15-45 minutes after breakfast. Ensure that you’re not rushed and that you have enough time.

Using a special stool to get into a squatting posture can help. Avoid straining to have a bowel movement.

If you are unsuccessful, simply try again later. You may have the urgency to poop after your next meal.

Lifestyle changes

A holistic approach to regular bowel movements can help you prevent constipation in the first place.

These strategies may also work if you’re already constipated. Your doctor may recommend additional treatments or home remedies for best results.

Exercise more

Our colon reacts to movement and activity. Staying physically active has been linked to regular and healthy bowel movements.

The more exercise you get, the less likely you are to be constipated.

Improve your sleep

When you’re doing bowel training, getting sufficient sleep is crucial to maintain a consistent routine of eating breakfast and using the toilet at the same time each day.

Sleep plays a significant role in bowel health. Research shows that for every hour of sleep less than 7.6 hours per night, the risk of bowel inflammation increases by 8%. This highlights the link between sleep patterns and digestive health.

Reduce stress

Research indicates a connection between psychological stress in adults and abnormal gastrointestinal tract (GIT) activity.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found that excessive stress can lead to bowel dysfunction, highlighting the impact of mental health on digestive well-being.

When Should I See a Doctor for Constipation Relief?

It’s normal to struggle to have a bowel movement from time to time, but you should seek medical advice if you’ve tried the methods, remedies, and medications mentioned in this article and still find no relief.

You should also seek emergency medical assistance if you:

  • Are nauseous or vomiting

  • Are unable to pass wind

  • Have severe abdominal pain

  • Have not pooped for a week or more

Where Can You Learn More About Bowel and Digestive Health?

Do you struggle with chronic constipation or are you concerned about your bowel health? LifeMD can help.

Our team of healthcare professionals can provide you with information and tips on how to prevent and relieve constipation.

Book your appointment today to get started.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency.

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