There are countless constipation hacks floating around the internet, but there aren’t many that have prompted the National Poison Control Center to issue a warning to would-be poopers.
At first, it sounds innocent: a glass of water, chia seeds, a little bit of lemon juice…what could possibly go wrong? We’re talking about the infamous internal shower drink that’s going viral on social media for its alleged ability to make you poop, relieve bloating, and detox your gut in a matter of minutes.
In theory, the ingredients in the internal shower drink should get things moving down there. But gastroenterologists say this colon-clearing concoction can leave collateral damage.
In this blog, we’ll explore the origins of the internal shower drink, whether it works, and why healthcare professionals are skeptical.
What Is the Internal Shower Drink?
The internal shower drink is a mixture of water, chia seeds, and lemon juice that people drink to relieve constipation and bloating quickly. The drink is supposed to trigger a wet and wild bowel movement, hence the name “internal shower.”
The internal shower drink originated on TikTok in 2022 and quickly went viral thanks to celebrity nutritionist and board-certified chiropractor Daryl Gioffre, AKA “Dr. Daryl.” To date, videos mentioning internal showers have racked up more than 120 million views on TikTok alone. Dr. Daryl also spoke about the internal shower on an episode of The Skinny Confidential Him & Her podcast.
The “internal shower” drink might seem like a New Age gut health hack. But journalists have pointed out that it’s actually a replica of a traditional Mexican drink called “Agua de Chia.”
How to Make the Internal Shower Drink
Here’s how to make the infamous internal shower drink from TikTok:
- Add two tablespoons of chia seeds into six ounces of water
- Squeeze in the juice of one slice of lemon
- Let the drink sit for five minutes
- Once the chia seeds have plumped up, drink the mixture as fast as you can
Internal shower enthusiasts recommend drinking it on an empty stomach for the most explosive results.
Does the Internal Shower Drink Really Work?
There are plenty of anecdotal reports that the internal shower drink can improve bowel irregularity and treat constipation. But there’s no clinical evidence to prove that it has any digestive health benefits, so don’t expect your doctor to prescribe it.
That said, there’s some validity to the claim that chia seeds will help you pass stool—and that’s because they’re an amazing source of fiber. Specifically, chia seeds are loaded with 10 grams of soluble fiber, which pulls in water and morphs into a gel during digestion. This can make your turds soft and easier to squeeze out of your rear.
Then there’s the lemon juice, which has a high concentration of vitamin C. While vitamin C isn’t a laxative, it can have an “osmotic effect” in your digestive tract, meaning it pulls water into your intestines to soften your dumps.
Is the Internal Shower Drink Safe?
Since the internal shower drink doesn’t contain any ingredients that are dangerous on their own, it’s likely safe for most people to consume occasionally, according to Poison Control. However, chugging a chia seed concoction might be a bad idea if you have a sensitive stomach. Downing too much fiber at once can cause abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, and diarrhea.
“Consumption of large amounts of chia seeds can result in an accumulation of chia seed gels and can cause obstruction of the human gastrointestinal tract,” says Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist. “At least one individual has required hospitalization due to this.”
Chia seeds can also be a choking risk since they swell up when they come in contact with water. In 2017, a 36-year-old dude accidentally obstructed his esophagus after ingesting a tablespoon of dry chia seeds followed by a glass of water.
How to Treat Constipation without a TikTok Concoction
Tempting as it is to rely on TikTok trends to unclog your colon, we recommend these tried-and-true tactics for constipation relief:
- Drink plenty of water (ideally 15 cups a day)—hydration is the easiest thing you can do to prevent constipation
- Add fiber-rich foods into your daily diet, like whole grains, beans, fruit, and leafy green veggies
- Exercise regularly, whether that’s going for a walk or grinding in the gym. Sitting around all day turns the poop in your colon into a lump of concrete.
If you dare to try the internal shower drink, make sure you have plenty of DUDE Wipes ready to clean up the mess. Pro tip: You’re probably gonna need the XL MONDO Pack from Amazon.