Constipation is a common problem that’s characterized by having less than three bowel movements a week, and can even include symptoms such as discomfort and abdominal bloating.

If you find that you’re suffering from it, here’s how you can ease its symptoms naturally from the comfort of your own home:

1. Eat more fiber
If you find yourself constipated, you will often be told that you need to increase your fiber intake – and there’s a reason for this.

Fiber (or more specifically, insoluble fiber) acts like a pipe cleaner for your digestive track. It scrubs up food and waste particles along the way and soaks up water, and adds more weight to your stool.

2. Take caffeine
If you’ve ever had to go to the bathroom after drinking one too many cups of coffee, this is because caffeine stimulates your colon.

Other hot drinks are also great as a substitute for coffee, such as herbal tea or hot lemon water (water with a few drops of lemon juice). And since coffee can take also take away water and worsen your constipation, you might even see better results if you just drink more water.

3. Eat more probiotic foods
People who suffer from constipation usually have an imbalance of bacteria in their gut, which probiotics can treat by improving stool consistency, bowel movement frequency, and overall gut movement.

Probiotic-containing foods such as yogurt and kimchi contain strains of friendly bacteria that can help your gut. Alternatively, you can also take probiotic supplements if you’re suffering from chronic constipation.

4. Don’t ignore the urge
That urge is there for a reason.

Holding in the need to do your business may coast you through certain situations where you need to hold it in, but it won’t do anything to help your insides. Do not ignore the urge and go to the bathroom the first chance you get.
You should also never force it to happen, but instead wait for it to happen on its own. By trying to do so, you can give yourself hemorrhoids or fissures, which can make things worse.

Many other natural remedies can give you relief, such as regular exercise (exercise may relieve the symptoms of constipation), avoiding dairy (those who are lactose intolerant may experience constipations when consuming dairy products), and taking laxatives or medications (e.g. bulking agents, stool softeners, or stimulant laxatives).

But because constipation can have a different number of underlying causes, you should see a doctor if this problem persists and symptoms still haven’t subsided after a while.

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