A transparent bottle full of lemon water sits on the table, suggesting immediate constipation relief for adults.

Many things affect the number of bowel movements. These could be age, lack of exercise, poor diet, dehydration, and stress.

To have immediate constipation relief for adults, we should focus on the causes and the symptoms.

Powerful laxatives such as osmotic, stimulant, or colonoscopy laxatives have immediate effect.

Homemade laxatives like senna tea, lemon water, prunes, and coffee work well in the short term.

Follow the guidelines and learn which are the best combinations for adults.


Stool softeners are effective laxatives that facilitate immediate constipation relief for adults.

This immediate action on constipation is just a part of an entire process when dealing with this symptom.

Here are some examples of stool softeners:

  • Docusate Calcium
  • Docusate Sodium
  • Magnesium Hydroxide.

They are mild laxatives in comparison to other strong ones. Also, they don’t present any risk.

Stool softeners stimulate water secretion and Sodium secretion in the large intestine.

This process softens the stool and the intestinal walls. Also, water secretion improves intestinal peristalsis.

As a result, the stool will evacuate with ease.

The action of these laxatives starts after six hours and can go up to seventy-two hours (6-72 hours).

Adults who take stool softeners have to drink water and fluids often.

This thing makes the action of the laxatives to be effective. And it constantly hydrates the body.

According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists: Stool softeners make the stool easier to pass.

Experts recommend using stool softeners in the short term. Adults should take these laxatives to avoid straining during bowel movements.


Lubricant laxatives are similar to stool softeners because their actions are similar.

Here are a few examples of lubricant laxatives:

  • Paraffins
  • Mineral Oil
  • Vaseline Lubricant.

They are also mild laxatives in comparison with other stronger ones.

Lubricant laxatives facilitate the movement of the stool inside the intestines by lubricating the intestinal walls.

Lubrication softens the stool and makes stool evacuation feel natural.

The action of these laxatives begins after six hours and can continue up to seventy-two hours (6-72 hours).

To have better results, take lubricant laxatives before evening. Also, do not sit on the bed for a long time after consumption.

If patients take a larger quantity than necessary, the risk of infiltration and anal irritation can appear.

According to Harvard Medical School on constipation and lubricant laxatives: Lubricant laxatives such as mineral oil helps the hard stool to slide towards evacuation.

Harvard Medical School experts recommend taking lubricant laxatives such as mineral oil only for a few days.


A powerful laxative that facilitates immediate constipation relief for adults is an osmotic laxative.

Here are a few examples of osmotic laxatives:

  • Sorbitol
  • Lactulose
  • Sodium Phosphate
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Magnesium Hydroxide.

Osmotic laxatives have an immediate effect. Their actions consist of maintaining liquids in the intestinal lumen.

Also, they move the water and fluids from the blood vessels and tissues into the intestinal lumen.

These actions bring more water to the stool, thus making the fecal matter have normal consistency.

As a result, the fecal matter will be easier to evacuate.

To have an immediate effect on constipation, keep the intestines hydrated.

This thing will prevent the stool from becoming dry. Also, it will improve intestinal peristalsis.

The action of these laxatives starts after twelve hours and continues up to forty-eight hours (12-48 hours).

Taking osmotic laxatives requires the recommendation and prescription of a doctor. And a specific quantity.

Abdominal pain and bloating can appear at the beginning of the treatment.

Adults who suffer from kidney disease and high blood pressure should avoid using this type of laxative.

According to a treatment guide for constipation published by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders:

Adults should use osmotic laxatives for constipation relief only after simple measures fail.

To treat chronic constipation in the long term, adults should combine simple measures with the addition of laxatives.

Also, it is essential to remember that adults suffering from renal insufficiency and cardiac disorders should avoid osmotic laxatives.


Stimulant laxatives stimulate the intestinal walls, increase intestinal motility, and facilitate water secretion to evacuate the stool with ease.

Here are a few examples of stimulant laxatives:

  • Senna
  • Bisacodyl
  • Castor oil
  • Magnesium salts
  • Sodium picosulfate.

These laxatives stimulate the nerve endings in the colonic mucosa. This process activates peristalsis and nerve impulses.

The effect on constipation is immediate and starts after six hours (6 hours).

Adults should avoid taking stimulant laxatives often. The only time to use them is when adults suffer from episodic constipation.

Pregnant women should avoid taking this type of laxative.

Taking too many stimulant laxatives can create dependency. Also, it can reduce the tone of the colon muscles.

It is essential to keep the body hydrated.

Try to drink water as often as possible during the treatment. And avoid hard-to-digest foods like dairy and meat.

According to medical research on different types of laxatives for adults: Stimulant laxatives stimulate the myenteric plexus and the Auerbach plexus.

These processes increase motility and intestinal secretions. Also, they reduce the absorption of water from the lumen of the bowel.


Another effective way to have immediate constipation relief for adults is to take colonoscopy preparation laxatives.

These types of laxatives are suited only for adults because they:

  • Prepare the intestines for examination.
  • Empty the intestines.
  • Clean the intestines.

Doctors recommend these strong laxatives to patients before having a medical examination such as a colonoscopy.

The effect is almost immediate (2-6 hours).

Laxative intake requires having a diet only with liquids and fluids for at least half of the day.

The action is to empty the intestines. As a result, adults will have only liquid stools.

That is the reason why these adults should use them once a year.

Taking these types of laxatives requires the recommendation and supervision of a doctor.

Colonoscopy preparation laxatives are suited only for healthy adults that suffer from severe constipation.

Children, pregnant women, and patients that suffer from other diseases should avoid these laxatives.

According to a medical study called Bowel cleansing before colonoscopy - Balancing efficacy, safety, cost, and patient tolerance:

Colonoscopy is an essential process for colon cancer screening.

Many patients describe the process of colonoscopy preparation as unpleasant.

2 L PEG preparations achieve the equivalent levels of bowel cleansing with enhanced patient experience.

Doctors also use other laxatives like Polyethelene Glycol, Miralax, and Sodium Phosphate.


Rectal laxatives or suppositories are suited for adults who have difficulty in defecation.

Here are a few examples:

  • Ox ball
  • Sorbitol
  • Glycerin
  • Sodium docusate
  • Gas exhaust suppositories.

The main action of these types of laxatives is to trigger the defecation reflex or stool expulsion.

Other actions facilitate bowel movement and softening of the stool.

The effect of these laxatives is immediate. It takes between 5 and 60 minutes after administration.

Suppository laxatives are suited for everyone, especially adults. To have better effects, patients should get the recommendation of a doctor.

Rectal laxatives similar to suppositories are available in almost every pharmacy.

Do not use these laxatives often to avoid local anal irritation. In case of lesions in the anal area (hemorrhoids, anal fissures), do not use them.

According to a medical guideline called Constipation and Defecation Problems published by A.C.G.:

Stimulant laxatives (in the form of suppositories) facilitate bowel movement in 15-60 minutes.

These laxatives are beneficial in the short term and have immediate effects.

Adults that suffer from chronic constipation can use these laxatives daily only under the supervision of a doctor.


Enemas are effective ways to have immediate constipation relief for adults. There are a few types with different purposes.

The most common types of enemas are:

  • Evacuation enema (examination preparation).
  • Diagnostic enema (barium enema).
  • Therapeutic enema (hydration and medical administration).

But for most patients and adults that suffer from constipation, the most common enema softens the stool.

And makes stool evacuation easy.

Out of all the procedures, enemas have the fastest effect. It takes between 5 and 10 minutes for the intestines to empty.

The procedure requires a specific device that introduces laxative liquid into the anal orifice.

This liquid usually contains Sodium Phosphate, clean water, or different types of soaps.

To have better effects, patients should avoid doing enemas at home. This delicate procedure requires a clean place, disinfectant solution, and clean tools.

Before thinking of doing an enema at home, get the approval and opinion of a gastroenterologist.

According to medical research on saline enemas published by the American College of Gastroenterology:

Patients should follow the recommendations on the enema label. Patients should use one saline enema at a 24-hour time interval.

A water-based enema is the best solution if the intervention requires more enemas.


The Senna plant is a plant that originated in Egypt. Nowadays, people grow and develop the Senna plant in numerous ways.

There are a few Senna products:

  • Senna tablets
  • Senna syrup
  • Senna tea.

The most common use of the Senna plant worldwide is tea. Tea is the easiest way to prepare a laxative drink.

The effect is almost immediate (1-6 hours).

The Senna plant contains some substances called sennosides or senna glycosides. These substances facilitate bowel movement.

The intestinal bacteria decompose the sennosides. This thing irritates the colon cells.

In this way, the entire process stimulates intestinal transit.

There is no quantity limit for Senna tea. The quantity of Senna tea differs because of the sennosides concentration present.

Start with one or two medium-sized glasses of Senna tea. Keep observing until you get things moving inside.

If nothing happens, don’t drink more tea.

Use Senna tea for a short time. Mainly for episodic constipation. Only adults should use Senna tea.

Pregnant women, children, and adults who suffer from IBS should talk to a doctor.

According to a medical placebo-controlled trial called Senna Versus Magnesium Oxide for the Treatment of Chronic Constipation:

Ninety patients were present in the study.

Senna and Magnesium Oxide increased the frequency of bowel movements in nearly seventy percent (70%) of the patients.

In conclusion, Senna and Magnesium Oxide are effective in treating constipation.


Lemon water is an essential combination that influences body hydration. It contains a variety of phytochemicals called hesperidin and naringenin.

Those phytochemicals are flavonoid glycosides that are present usually in citrus fruit.

The best parts about naringenin are:

  • It is an antioxidant.
  • It is anti-inflammatory.
  • It hunts down free radicals.
  • It is an immune system modulator.
  • It has a bioactive effect on human health.
  • Besides those things, naringenin present in lemon reduces the oxidative damage of DNA in cells studied in vitro.

Fresh lemon water also contains large amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and a small portion of water-soluble fiber.

All of these vitamins help digestion and hydrate the body. Also, Citrus can help stimulate bowel movement.

To relieve constipation immediately, adults and not only should drink at least one glass of lemon water a day.

There is no limit to the quantity of Lemon water anyone should drink.

Start with 1-2 medium size-glasses early in the morning.

According to a medical review called Citrus limon (Lemon) Phenomenon—A Review of the Chemistry, Pharmacological Properties, Applications in the Modern Pharmaceutical, Food:

Citrus limon extracts are rich in flavonoids such as naringenin and hesperetin.

Current pharmacological studies show that Citrus lemon has anti-cancer and antioxidant properties.


Plums have a sweet taste and belong to the Prunus type (Rosaceae family).

Plums contain:

  • Isatin
  • Sorbitol
  • Dietetic fiber.

These components help relieve constipation and improve the digestive system.

Plums have a high power to absorb oxygen radicals 6267 g. micromole TE/100 under the ORAC chart.

Fresh plums contain a large quantity of Vitamin C (a natural antioxidant).

Vitamin C also helps fight infecting agents and inflammation. And eliminate the free radicals.

Plums also contain Vitamin A, folic acid, Vitamin K, Vitamin B, and Vitamin E.

They also contain Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Fluoride, and Phosphorus.

They also provide a small quantity of sugar and dietary fiber.

Sorbitol is the component that makes prunes have a laxative effect.

Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that our body metabolizes slowly. After the chemical transformation, sorbitol converts into fructose.

After eating plums, the matter will start to ferment. Fermentation takes place because of the heat and humidity inside the intestines.

Adults should eat plums only on an empty stomach. Try to eat at least 4-7 plums per day before breakfast.

Do not mix fruit with any other types of food. They will perturb digestion and vitamin assimilation.

According to a medical review called A Systematic Review on the Health Effects of Plums:

Fresh plums have antioxidant and antiallergic properties.

They improve cognitive function, bone health, and cardiovascular risk factors.


Coffee is a complex drink that contains more than five hundred chemical compounds.

The most important ones are:

  • Caffeine
  • Cafestol
  • Micronutrients
  • Chlorogenic acid.

Cafestol is a diterpenoid molecule that is usually present in coffee beans. This compound, together with others, facilitates the pharmacological and biological effects of coffee.

The role of the Cafestol compound is to be a stimulator and a bronchodilator.

The main micronutrients of coffee are Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin E, and Niacin.

These micronutrients help digestion. They are necessary for many chemical reactions inside the body of an adult.

Chlorogenic acid has an antioxidant effect. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect.

But the most important chemical compound of coffee is Caffeine.

Caffeine is an energizing chemical component. It is the main reason why adults drink coffee.

According to a medical study about coffee and bowel recovery after colorectal resection:

Caffeine consumption following colectomy leads to a significantly shorter time to the first bowel movement.


Exercise is one of the easiest ways to have immediate constipation relief for adults.

There are a few types that focus on different parts of the body:

  • Upper abdomen
  • Lower abdomen
  • Pelvic floor.

Walking, brisk walking, jogging, running, swimming, and cycling are cardio exercises. They focus on the upper abdomen.

Cardio exercises increase blood flow. They shrink and expand the lungs, thus expanding the rib cage.

These movements stimulate the upper abdomen, which compresses the intestines. As a result, the stool will decompose and move towards evacuation.

Also, cardio exercises relieve stress with adrenaline. And improve endurance resistance.

Sit-ups, crunches, and a few yoga postures focus on the lower abdomen.

These exercises compress the large intestine. And make the segments move in all directions.

As a result, the dry stool inside will decompose and move towards the rectum.

Squats, the Wind-relieving pose, and the Cobra stretch are excellent exercises that work the pelvic floor muscles.

Squats relax the puborectalis muscles, making defecation feel natural.

Start with slow movements and warm-up before any exercise.

Try to do at least two hours of exercise every three days. The more you exercise, the better.

According to a medical guideline called Functional GI Disorders and exercise:

There are many forms of stress reduction, such as exercise, abdominal breathing, and muscles relaxation.

Having a positive emotional state helps support the gut microbes and have a healthy life.


Dairy products such as cheese are hard-to-digest foods. They contain

  • Fat
  • Lactose

This mix of components requires large quantities of water to keep the stool hydrated.

The same thing applies to digestion.

To prevent constipation, adults should eat solid dairy products only with vegetables.

The best way to eat solid dairy products is to have a ratio of 50% cheese – to 50% vegetables.

Adults should not combine cheese with bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, or any other type of carbohydrate.

The combination of cheese and carbohydrates creates a permanent dry stool. This stool will always stick like glue inside the large intestine.

Liquid dairy products like milk and fermented milk are essential to our diet.

The best way to consume milk is only on an empty stomach.

If adults consume milk (or fermented milk) on an empty stomach, they will get Calcium and proteins.

And they will prevent constipation by having more liquids in their diet.


Stool softeners, lubricant laxatives, osmotic, stimulant laxatives, and colonoscopy preparation laxatives facilitate immediate constipation relief for adults.

Enemas and suppositories are also efficient ways to deal with constipation immediately.

Other homemade laxatives like senna tea, prunes, and coffee have immediate effects.

Exercise and lemon water have a laxative effect overall.

Exercise improves digestion and bowel movement. Also, it is a way to relieve stress and improve endurance resistance.

Last medically reviewed on 26.04.2022


By the way, doctor: Is it okay to take a stool softener long-term? June 21, 2021, By Stephen Goldfinger, MD, Contributor

Quantification of polyphenolics and their antioxidant capacity in fresh plums. Dae-Ok Kim et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2003.

Constipation in older adults Stepwise approach to keep things moving. Brenda G. Schuster, PharmD ACPR FCSHP. Clinical Pharmacist in the Academic Family Medicine Unit.

Management of chronic constipation in adults K Krogh,corresponding author G Chiarioni, and W Whitehead

Water consumption and prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome among adults. Asma Salari-Moghaddam et al. PLoS One. 2020.





My name is Sebastian D., and I am the senior editor of With the help of my mentor, Dr. Horia Marculescu, I decided to create a practical guide to constipation relief.. read more

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