A doctor mixes laxative ingredients in a medical bowl grinder using a pestle.

Constipation is a common digestive issue that requires effective remedies in the long term.

Use the following eighteen remedies for constipation to have the best results in the long term: cold fruit salad, coffee, fruit juice, cold plum compote, water, hot clear soups, prunes, and dried apricots.

Incorporating insoluble fiber, probiotics, prebiotics, and omega-3 oil into the diet can promote regular bowel movements.

Additionally, glucomannan and cold pineapple compote offer natural solutions.

For those needing potent interventions, senna, magnesium citrate, over-the-counter (O-T-C) laxatives, and prescription laxatives are accessible in pharmacies.

These remedies are generally safe for everyone and present minimal side effects, making them practical and reliable options for managing constipation.


Cold fruit salads are delicious remedies for constipation because they contain vitamins, minerals, and water. Also, they add bulk to stool.

Some combinations contain lots of fiber, which helps with intestinal transit and digestion. Here are two fruit salad examples:

  • Fruit salad example: yellow watermelon, apricots, pineapple, apples, and pears.
  • Another example contains kiwis, apples, watermelons, and oranges.

A cold fruit salad including yellow watermelon, apricots, pineapple, apples, and pears can have notable laxative effects, promoting digestive health.

Yellow watermelon and pears are rich in water and dietary fiber, aiding hydration and bowel movement regularity.

Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that enhances protein digestion and reduces bloating.

Apricots are high in soluble fiber, which adds bulk to the stool and facilitates smoother passage through the intestines.

Apples, especially with their skin, provide pectin. Pectin is a type of fiber known for its laxative properties.

This combination of fruits ensures a refreshing and nutritious way to support the digestive system. Also, it provides essential vitamins and minerals.

A cold fruit salad with peaches, kiwi, apples, watermelon, and oranges promotes digestion due to its high fiber and water content.

Peaches and kiwi aid bowel regularity, while apples provide pectin. Watermelon hydrates the body. Oranges supply fiber and vitamin C. This combination facilitates laxative effects and digestive health.

Eat cold fruit salads only on an empty stomach and early in the morning.

Medical research from Frontiers Media states that fresh fruits provide energy due to their carbohydrate content. They are essential for human nutrition and health. They contain vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.

In fruit tissues, primary metabolism encompasses the biochemical processes necessary for growth and development (known across numerous taxonomic groups). These processes yield metabolites crucial for the organism's survival.


Coffee is the most known and easy-to-make drink. It has a delicious taste, and decaffeinated coffee has less caffeine.

Drinking coffee early in the morning can have pronounced laxative effects due to its natural caffeine content, which stimulates the colon and encourages bowel movements.

According to medical research from BMC Public Health:

“Caffeine has been reported to increase gastrointestinal motility and change intestinal microbiota.”

The acidic nature of coffee also boosts gastric acid production, aiding digestion. To enhance these effects, combining coffee with high-fiber foods can be beneficial.

For example, consuming a bowl of oatmeal with flaxseeds provides a substantial amount of soluble and insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to the stool and promotes regularity.

A breakfast smoothie made with prunes or prune juice is another excellent option, as prunes contain sorbitol, a natural laxative, and dietary fiber.

These combinations improve digestive health and ensure a balanced and energizing start to the day.


Fresh fruit juice is one of the best remedies for constipation because it delivers vitamins, nutrients, and ferments inside to trigger bowel movement.

Fruit juice typically provides comparable nutrient levels to those found in whole fruits. Fruit juice lacks fiber. It also contains a diverse array of phytochemicals, including carotenoids and polyphenols, which may contribute to similar health benefits as those provided by whole fruits.

Fresh fruit juice can effectively relieve constipation due to its:

  • High water content.
  • Natural sugar content.

Juices made from high-fermenting fruits like pears and apples are particularly beneficial.

Pear juice contains sorbitol, a sugar alcohol with natural laxative properties, while apple juice is rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that aids intestinal transit.

These fruits also promote healthy gut bacteria, enhancing fermentation and digestion.

The best time to drink fresh fruit juice for constipation relief is early in the morning on an empty stomach. This practice kickstarts the digestive system, hydrating the body and stimulating bowel movements, ensuring a more efficient and comfortable intestinal transit throughout the day.


Senna, derived from the leaves and pods of the Senna plant, contains compounds called sennosides.

These sennosides are hydrolyzed by gut bacteria into active compounds that stimulate the intestinal lining, increasing peristalsis and promoting bowel movements.

Because of its potent laxative effects, Senna is commonly used to treat constipation. Senna comes in different forms. The most common ones are tablets and tea bags.

Senna tea is popular because it is easy to prepare and consume, while Senna tablets provide a precise dosage.

The best time to take Senna is before bedtime because it typically takes 6-12 hours to work, resulting in a bowel movement by morning.

This timing helps to alleviate constipation effectively without disrupting daily activities.

Clinicians frequently prescribe Senna due to its affordability, safety, and ease of administration, making it a staple in the Laxative Treatment Guideline.

Senna's active components, primarily anthraquinone glycosides known as sennosides, exert their laxative effect by stimulating intestinal motility and secretion. These compounds undergo bacterial metabolism in the colon to produce active metabolites that facilitate bowel movements, enhancing its therapeutic efficacy in managing constipation.


Plums contain an impressive chemical composition that contributes to their laxative effects, including high levels of dietary fiber, sorbitol, and phenolic compounds.

The dietary fiber in plums, particularly soluble fiber, enhances stool bulk and promotes regular bowel movements.

Sorbitol, a sugar alcohol found in significant amounts, exerts an osmotic effect, drawing water into the intestines and facilitating stool passage. Additionally, phenolic compounds in plums act as natural stimulants for the intestinal lining, further aiding peristalsis.

The consumption of cold plum compote can trigger an immediate bowel movement due to the combined action of these compounds and the temperature effect on intestinal motility.

This series of events makes plums, particularly in compote form, an effective and prompt remedy for alleviating constipation.

Medical research on plum supplementation and lipid profile from The Journal of Nutritional Science (Cambridge University Press) notes that:

Cold plum compote triggers bowel movement due to the high content of bioactive compounds in plums (which have various health benefits). These compounds, including dietary fiber and sorbitol, promote bowel regularity and enhance digestive health.


Incorporating natural mineral water into one's daily routine can be a beneficial and natural remedy for maintaining digestive health and overall well-being.

Natural mineral water is an effective means of hydrating the body. Also, it prevents constipation due to its unique composition and properties.

Mineral water contains essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. It also contains trace elements such as zinc and iron, contributing to its health benefits and distinct taste.

These things make water an effective remedy for constipation especially in hot weather.

Adequate water intake softens stools and promotes regular bowel movements, alleviating constipation. The magnesium content in mineral water acts as a natural laxative. It stimulates intestinal activity and eases passage through the digestive tract.

By maintaining optimal hydration, natural mineral water ensures the proper function of the digestive system and prevents the discomfort associated with constipation.


Probiotics are live microorganisms, primarily bacteria and yeasts. They bring health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts.

Their chemical composition includes strains like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces.

Probiotics promote gut health by restoring the natural balance of intestinal flora, enhancing digestive function, and improving stool consistency.

They produce short-chain fatty acids and lactic acid, which lower gut pH and stimulate peristalsis. As a result, they alleviate constipation.

Additionally, probiotics inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, reducing gut inflammation and supporting regular bowel movements.

According to a Randomized Controlled Trial (effects of probiotics on functional constipation) published by The U.S. National Library of Medicine:

“Dietary fibers/probiotics may relieve constipation via optimizing gut microbiome, yet with limited trial-based evidence.”

Common probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso.

The best time to take probiotics for constipation relief is during or after meals, when stomach acid levels are lower, enhancing the survival of probiotic strains. Consistent daily intake maximizes their efficacy in promoting regular bowel movements.


Prebiotics are non-digestible food components, primarily fibers such as:

  • inulin;
  • resistant starches;
  • fructooligosaccharides (FOS);
  • galactooligosaccharides (GOS).

They serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria, promoting their growth and activity.

By enhancing gut microbiota, prebiotics improves stool bulk and frequency, acting as a natural remedy for constipation.

They ferment in the colon, producing short-chain fatty acids. These acids stimulate intestinal movements and soften stools.

Health experts from the Gastrointestinal Unit, Department of Translational Sciences and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Italy state that:

Fiber proves beneficial by binding water, serving as a bulking agent, and acting as a prebiotic for the intestinal microbiota. Additionally, mineral water, particularly when rich in magnesium and bicarbonate, serves as a valuable resource.

Common prebiotic-rich foods include garlic, onions, bananas, asparagus, and chicory root. The best time to consume prebiotics is with meals to aid in their fermentation process.

Unlike probiotics, which are live bacteria, prebiotics are fibers that nourish these bacteria. Together, they synergistically support digestive health and alleviate constipation.


Plums are rich in dietary fiber, sorbitol, and phenolic compounds, which collectively aid in relieving constipation.

Their high fiber content increases stool bulk and promotes regular bowel movements, while sorbitol, a natural sugar alcohol, acts as a mild laxative by drawing water into the intestines.

Phenolic compounds enhance gut motility, further facilitating digestion. Fresh plums, preferred over prunes, contain more vitamins and nutrients. Vitamins C and K and antioxidants contribute to overall health.

Consuming plums early in the morning is ideal, as it helps avoid excess fermentation throughout the day, reducing potential bloating and discomfort.

Incorporating fresh plums into the diet can effectively support digestive health and provide a natural remedy for constipation.


Magnesium citrate, a compound of magnesium and citric acid, is commonly used as a laxative due to its ability to draw water into the intestines, promoting bowel movements.

Its chemical composition allows it to relax the intestinal muscles and soften stools, effectively relieving constipation.

Magnesium citrate is available in various forms, including liquid solutions, effervescent powders, and tablets.

According to a medical study called “How to avoid common pitfalls with bowel preparation agents” (Fredy Caldera, Lisbeth Selby, MD):

Patients tolerate split-dose regimens more effectively, yielding superior cleansing results. If these methods do not succeed, consider incorporating an additional agent, such as magnesium citrate, to reduce the volume of the PEG/electrolyte solution.

It is best taken on an empty stomach, typically in the morning or evening, to maximize its efficacy. Magnesium citrate can be an effective and gentle remedy for mild to moderate constipation.

However, it should be used with caution and under medical supervision for more severe cases of constipation, ensuring appropriate dosage and monitoring for potential side effects.


Omega-3 oil, primarily composed of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is renowned for its multifaceted health benefits, including its efficacy in alleviating constipation.

These essential fatty acids:

  • Improve gut motility.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Promote regular bowel movements.

You can take fish oil capsules, flaxseed oil, or chia seeds.

The optimal time to take Omega-3 supplements is with meals to enhance absorption and minimize potential gastrointestinal discomfort.

According to a research article called “Diet as a Trigger or Therapy for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases” (published by AGA):

“Supplementation with omega-3 long-chain fatty acids protects against intestinal inflammation.”

Morning or evening intake has the same results. However, consistency in timing helps maintain stable levels in the body.

Ensuring adequate hydration and dietary fiber intake further augments the beneficial effects of Omega-3 on digestive health.


Warm clear soups serve as an effective remedy for constipation by hydrating the body and stimulating digestive activity.

Examples include chicken broth, vegetable broth, and miso soup. All of them are nutrient-rich and easy to digest.

Consuming these soups, particularly before meals, can dilute the gastric acid from the stomach. It is essential to eat clear soups alone or after the consumption of solid food.

The vitamins and minerals in clear soups are leached from the ingredients during cooking, making them easily absorbable.

These nutrients, combined with the high water content, promote hydration, soften stool, and enhance bowel movements.

The warmth of the soup also aids in relaxing intestinal muscles, further facilitating digestion and easing constipation.

Regularly incorporating clear soups into meals can maintain digestive health and prevent constipation.

According to research from Sackler School of Medicine (Tel Aviv University):

“Chicken soup has some-times been used to symbolize all home remedies; it is re-ferred to often when traditional cures are compared with modern methods;”


Insoluble fiber, composed primarily of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, is a crucial component of plant cell walls that aids digestive health.

Foods rich in insoluble fiber include whole grains, nuts, almonds, brown rice, oats, carrots, radishes, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, cauliflower, and green beans.

This type of fiber is an excellent remedy for constipation by adding bulk to stool and accelerating its passage through the digestive tract.

However, it's important to note that insoluble fiber may not provide immediate relief for severe constipation, often requiring consistent, long-term dietary inclusion to be effective.

Medical research from the American Gastroenterological Association states that:

Whole wheat flour, green beans, and potatoes contain insoluble fiber. The insoluble fiber passes through the colon undigested and triggers mechanical irritation. This process stimulates the secretion of mucus and water.

The best time to consume insoluble fiber is throughout the day with meals, ensuring an even intake that supports regular bowel movements. Adequate hydration is also essential to maximize its beneficial effects on digestion.


Over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives are highly effective remedies for constipation, providing quick relief by stimulating bowel movements or softening stool.

Examples of light OTC laxatives include psyllium husk (Metamucil), docusate sodium (Colace), magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia), polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX), and senna (Senokot).

Take laxatives in the morning to ensure regular bowel movements throughout the day or before bedtime to facilitate overnight relief.

When using OTC laxatives, it's essential to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare provider if constipation persists.

These medications offer convenient and accessible options for those experiencing occasional constipation, helping to restore regularity and ease discomfort.

Nearly two-thirds of individuals with chronic constipation never discuss their condition with a healthcare provider, and 40%–50% self-treat with OTC laxatives.

However, over half remain unsatisfied with these laxatives and often try multiple products before consulting a provider. This frustration may stem from a lack of knowledge about the efficacy of different agents. Therefore, healthcare providers must understand the relative effectiveness of treatment options to improve patient care.


Standard prunes in the U.S. are composed of dietary fiber, sorbitol, and phenolic compounds.

The high fiber content, predominantly insoluble fiber, adds bulk to stool and enhances bowel movements. Sorbitol, a natural sugar alcohol, acts as a mild laxative by drawing water into the intestines.

A randomized 8-week clinical trial showed that consuming dried plums or prunes twice daily led to more spontaneous bowel movements than taking psyllium supplements twice daily (both providing 3 grams of fiber per dose). Additionally, adding wheat bran to meals can help increase fiber intake.

The best time to eat prunes is early in the morning on an empty stomach to maximize their laxative effect and prevent digestive disturbances.

Combining prunes with other foods can perturb digestion and lead to fermentation, causing bloating and gas.

Consuming prunes alone ensures they work efficiently without interfering with the digestion of other foods.


Dried apricots and prunes share similar properties as effective remedies for constipation due to their high dietary fiber and sorbitol content.

Both fruits add bulk to stool and draw water into the intestines, promoting regular bowel movements.

According to an international health review called “Dried Fruits: Bioactives, Effects on Gut Microbiota, and Possible Health Benefits—An Update”:

Various antioxidant activity assays showed that dried apricots and figs exhibit enhanced antioxidant properties.

The best time to consume dried apricots for constipation relief is in the morning on an empty stomach, ensuring optimal absorption and efficacy.

Like prunes, dried apricots should not be combined with other types of food, as this can disrupt digestion and lead to fermentation, causing bloating and gas.

Their natural laxative effects make them a convenient and natural solution for maintaining digestive health and alleviating constipation.


Glucomannan is a polysaccharide derived from the konjac root. It is composed primarily of glucose and mannose.

Glucomannan absorbs water in the intestines, forming a bulky fiber that facilitates bowel movements.

This hydrophilic property helps to soften the stool and enhance peristalsis.

The best time to take glucomannan is before meals, as it assists in satiety and weight management.

It is particularly effective for chronic idiopathic constipation, offering a natural alternative to laxatives.

A clinical trial from the Journal of Pediatrics concluded that glucomannan significantly increased stool frequency, while the placebo had no significant effect.

Glucomannan is available in various forms at the pharmacy, including capsules, tablets, and powder.

Each form provides a convenient option to incorporate this beneficial fiber into the diet, supporting digestive health and regularity.


Cold pineapple compote is a delicious and sweet dessert that triggers bowel movement quickly.

Consuming cold pineapple compote fills the intestines with its sweet liquid and fibrous content, stimulating bowel movements.

The chilled, sugary liquid can stimulate bowel movements by triggering the gastrocolic reflex, promoting the urge to defecate.

The pineapple's fibrous matter helps stool evacuation and intestinal cleansing.

The natural fibers add bulk to the stool, making it easier to pass, while the enzymes in pineapple, such as bromelain, support digestive health.

Consuming cold pineapple compote not only provides hydration but also aids in maintaining regular bowel movements, making it a gentle and tasty solution for constipation relief.

Consume pineapple compote as often as possible but only on an empty stomach. Two or three big glasses of compote (a day) are enough to trigger bowel movement.

Last medically reviewed on July 9, 2024


1. Treatment of diabetes with glucomannan (konjac mannan). K Doi, M Matsuura, A Kawara, S Baba.

2. Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Deutsch, Jill K. MD1; Levitt, Joshua ND2; Hass.

3. Effectiveness of Probiotics in Patients With Constipation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Neyla Garzon Mora, Arturo P Jaramillo.

4. Dried Fruit Consumption Is Associated with Improved Diet Quality and Reduced Obesity in US Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004.

5. Clinical and Radiographic Characteristics in Segmental Colitis Associated with Diverticulosis, Diverticulitis, and Crohn’s Disease. Siri A. Urquhart, M.D., Matthew W. Ewy, M.D.



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