Something going wrong with your digestion is enough to completely derail any plans you have for the day. Whether it’s running to the restroom a lot, or having the opposite problem of being constipated and not being able to go to the bathroom, these annoyances are incredibly uncomfortable. And while certain foods and drinks can help you pass bowel movements, there are also supplements you can take to help you poop right away and get back to your scheduled plans.
To understand how to relieve constipation, we first need to understand what prevents us from having regular bowel movements. For example, there are certainly serious problems and diseases that can disrupt colon and bowel health, but everyday things like stress, dehydration, hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, not getting enough physical activity, and not eating enough fiber are all common factors that can make it difficult to defecate.
When you’re in need of some instant relief, try one of these seven supplements to help you poop right away, all recommended by nutritionists. Read on, and for more, don’t miss these 8 Drinks to Help You Poop Instantly.
If you’re feeling back up and need a little break, Mary Sabbat MS, RDN, LD He suggests trying psyllium husks. “Psyllium husk is a dietary fiber commonly used as a laxative to promote bowel movements,” says Sabat. It works by absorbing water in the intestines, which helps soften stools and make them easier to pass. A study published in the journal Journal of the American Medical Association Found that psyllium supplementation improved symptoms of constipation in adults when compared to a placebo group. In fact, if you’ve ever used the popular laxative brand Metamucil, you’ve already tried psyllium husk.
However, Sabat notes, “It is important to note that psyllium should be taken with plenty of water to avoid any potential adverse effects.”
Another supplement Sabbat suggests when you need some relief from constipation is magnesium citrate, which you can find at most drugstores.
“Magnesium citrate is a supplement often used to treat constipation, and it works by relaxing the muscles in the intestines, which may help promote bowel movements,” Sabat says. A study was published in Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that magnesium citrate was effective in relieving symptoms of constipation in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
Not being able to pass a bowel movement can be caused by many things, but one way to help ensure healthy digestion is to take care of your bowels. Simple way to do this? Have probiotics on hand.
“Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are commonly found in the gut,” Sabat says. It can be taken as a dietary supplement to help improve digestion and promote bowel movements. A study published in World Journal of Gastroenterology Found that probiotic supplementation improved bowel movements in patients with prevalent irritable bowel syndrome.
Most people may only know aloe vera as a moisturizer or to relieve sunburn, but what you may not realize is that you can buy it in pill form to aid in digestion.
“Aloe vera has antioxidant properties that speed up bowel movements, which may improve constipation, and it also soothes the intestines and reduces gut inflammation and bloating.” Paulina Lee, MSHS, RD, LD, a functional gut health nutritionist and founder of Savvy Stummy. “It is traditionally used to treat digestive issues due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and wound-healing properties, and an animal study showed improved bowel movements, increased stool volume, and normal body weight from taking aloe vera leaf extract.”
Dietary fiber helps soften stools and helps you pass stools. And while getting fiber through the food you eat is the best way to do that, sometimes it can be hard to get enough. If this is the case and you need a fiber boost, you can always take a supplement.
“Taking a fiber supplement that provides a mix of insoluble and soluble fiber, and ideally some resistant starch as well, will provide a trio of bowel and digestive fuel to help soften stool and help push stool down the digestive tract so it can pass through more easily.” Kara Landau, Founder, RD At Gut Feeling Consultancy and Nutrition Consultant for the World Prebiotic Association. “Resistant starch is a non-digestive carbohydrate that works similarly to fiber, and it also feeds good gut bacteria, helping to support a healthy gut at the same time.”
Another way to get extra fiber is to eat ground flaxseed. You can add this to milk, smoothies, coffee, yogurt, etc. Kelsey Costa, MS, RDNMD, a registered dietitian at MIDSS, “Rich in dietary fiber, ground flaxseed can help bulk up stools and move food through the digestive tract more quickly, which can relieve constipation and aid regular bowel movements.”
Research supports this as well, she adds, saying that “a 2020 randomized control trial found that eating ground flaxseed daily improved stool consistency and increased bowel movements.”
A less well-known type of fiber is partially hydrated guar gum, which you can take as a powder supplement. “This dietary fiber is prebiotic, which means it feeds the good gut microbes, which in turn provides health benefits,” she says. Kim Culp, RDNRegistered dietitian and gut health expert. “It dissolves completely in water, making it easy to take 5-7 grams that can help with constipation.”