You’ve made a few trips to the toilet and waited patiently for your poop to work its way out, but you’re firing blanks from your butt. Or maybe you haven’t felt the urge to have a bowel movement in days.
So what’s going on in your gut?
There are many potential causes of constipation, including:
- Lack of exercise
- Travel constipation
- Stress or anxiety
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Not eating enough fiber
- Holding in your poop for too long
Staying plugged up for too long can lead to bloating, cramping, and even a potentially dangerous issue called fecal impaction. Fear not—we’re here to help. No matter what’s causing your constipation, we have dozens of techniques to rev up your rectum and help you poop ASAP.
Techniques to Make Yourself Poop
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re sitting on the toilet. Here are a couple of things you can do to stimulate a bowel movement without leaving the bathroom.
Use a Footstool
The normal sitting position isn’t ideal for pooping. You need to elevate your feet off the floor to achieve a squatting position, which essentially relaxes your butthole so the poop comes out easier. You can do this with a footstool like the Squatty Potty, a small stack of books, or a shoebox.
“Normally there is an angle between the anal canal and the rectum. This helps ensure we are continent,” says Dr. Hardeep Singh, a gastroenterologist. When we want to have a bowel movement, a muscle around the rectum relaxes, which straightens the angle between the anus and the rectum, allowing us to defecate. The squatting device is a simple measure which can encourage that happening more efficiently.”
Massage Your Gooch
Your perineum, AKA your gooch, has pressure points that can ease constipation when you press it. All you have to do is push with two fingers until you feel the urge to go. Don’t believe us? This 2015 study found that “perineal self-acupressure” made it easier for constipated people to poop.
Foods That Make You Poop
Certain foods are notorious for making people poop right after they eat (or drink) them. Here’s what should be on your menu if you want to make yourself poop. As a rule of thumb, any fiber-rich food will work since it keeps you regular.
- Water: Dehydration is an overlooked cause of constipation—drink at least 15 cups of water every day.
- Coffee: Coffee triggers contractions in your intestinal tract, which are essential for bowel movements. This study found that 30% of people had to poop after drinking a cup of coffee.
- Beans: Most types of beans contain soluble fiber which softens your poop and makes it easier to pass.
- Fruit: Apples, figs, pears, and prune juice are all loaded with fiber.
- Flaxseed: This study found that eating 10 grams of flaxseed every day for 12 weeks relieved patients’ constipation in addition to helping them with weight loss.
- Kombucha: “Limited evidence suggests kombucha tea may offer benefits similar to probiotic supplements, including preventing constipation,” says Brent A. Bauer, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program.
Exercises to Make Yourself Poop
Whether you work a sedentary job or you’ve been laying on the couch all weekend, physical inactivity can clog up your colon. The answer is—you guessed it—getting off your ass. Exercise stimulates blood flow in your digestive system and helps move food through your intestines.
Here are a few exercise ideas for constipation relief:
- Take a walk: 20 minutes of brisk walking is enough to do the trick for most people
- Try yoga: the wind-relieving pose or the cat and cow pose are both ideal
- Squat: Start with three sets of 10 bodyweight squats, getting your butt as close to the floor as possible
Home Remedies for Constipation
The fix for chronic constipation might be in your kitchen cabinet. Here are a few home remedies that people use to make themselves poop. Keep in mind that these aren’t backed by science, so try them at your own risk.
Saltwater flush: This is a type of “overnight colon cleanse.” Mix two tablespoons of salt with a quart of warm water and sip that on an empty stomach. Ideally, you should have to poop within 30 minutes.
Apple cider vinegar: ACV tastes awful but it’s full of probiotics and antioxidants which are important for gut health. Throwback a shot of this stuff and see what happens.
Baking soda solution: Baking soda is (allegedly) a natural laxative that pulls water into your digestive tract to flush you out. The recommended dose is one tablespoon of baking soda mixed into a glass of water. Drink this on an empty stomach.
If you want to increase your fiber intake without extra food and also make yourself poop, try a fiber supplement like Metamucil. This contains psyllium fiber, which forms a gel-like substance in your digestive tract that makes your poop easier to pass.
If none of the above techniques solved your constipation crisis, it’s time to bring out the big guns: laxatives. These stimulate your intestinal lining and bring liquid into your stool. Laxatives are basically a hack for pooping on command, so plan accordingly.
Here are some options to consider:
- Bisacodyl (Dulcolax)
- Osmotic laxatives like polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX)
- Stool softeners like docusate sodium or docusate calcium
- Milk of magnesia
You should be able to access these over-the-counter, but if you need something extra-strength you can ask your doctor for a script.
A rectal suppository is a little capsule you put in your butt that offers ultra-fast constipation relief. This is usually reserved for special circumstances like emptying your colon before a colonoscopy. Mayo Clinic recommends only using suppositories if your doctor recommends them.
An enema is an injection of liquid into your lower bowel (AKA through your butt hole). Enemas are usually for people with severe constipation or older patients who can’t push poop out on their own. You should ideally have a medical professional perform an enema, but there are at-home enemas available too.
How to Get Ahead of Constipation
In a perfect world, you shouldn’t have to “make” yourself poop—it should be a part of your daily routine. The best way to ensure that is with simple lifestyle changes like exercising, drinking plenty of water, and eating at least 30 grams of fiber every day.
No matter what your pooping routine looks like, do your butt a favor and ditch your toilet paper for DUDE Wipes. They’re flushable, sturdy, and infused with vitamin E to soothe your sensitive sides after you finally unleash hell on your toilet.