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8 Natural Laxatives That Actually Work To Relieve Constipation

Skip the drugstore and head to the grocery store instead.


Natural laxatives

Women are talking more about their bodies than ever, but one common issue is still pretty taboo: constipation.

Well, we're here to change that! After all, 16 percent of women regularly suffer from difficult bowel movements, while even more of us deal with it every once in a while, according to research. Fun fact: Constipation is more common in women than in men, possibly due to hormones. Yep, there's no end to the list of things that can throw your bathroom habits out of whack. Think: your monthly cycle, dietary changes, stress, sleep problems, even travel. Seriously, what's that last one about???

If you’re feeling blocked up, don’t wait more than two or three days before dealing with it, says Lisa Ganjhu, D.O., a gastroenterologist and clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Your body is going to tell you it’s uncomfortable, so pay attention to it,” she says.

And, good news: It can be pretty easy to get your bowels moving without any medication. “Natural laxatives are definitely gentler than some of the prescription laxatives, and even a little gentler than what you can get over the counter," she says. Bonus: You probably have some of them already hanging out in your fridge or pantry. Laxative foods to the rescue!

Here, we share eight natural laxatives that can get your bathroom habits moving again. Better yet, integrate them into your regular diet to keep things, well, regular:


Just like staying hydrated is good for the rest of your body, it’s helpful for your digestive system, too. “Water basically lubricates everything and softens the stool,” says Ganjhu. “The whole point of the stool getting to the colon is for it to try to absorb all of the extra water [along the way] in order to solidify.”

The longer stool stays in the colon, though, the longer the water has to get sucked back out of it, eventually becoming rock hard—ouch. “Getting fluid back into your body helps to soften the stool and stimulates the colon to empty out,” she says.

This easy water bottle hack will help you stay properly hydrated every single day:

Hack Your Health: Hydration Goals