Listen, we’re all friends here. So drop your shame at the proverbial door and come on in — this is a judgment-free zone dedicated to answering one simple question: how to make yourself poop immediately. That’s right; our No. 1 priority is helping you go No. 2. We’ve all been severely constipated at some point, and it’s no fun. If constipation is currently wreaking havoc on your life (and/or colon), you undoubtedly need to know how to make yourself poop on command — or, you know, ASAP. No poop jokes can help you here.
There’s no shame here, remember? This coming from a woman who, when pregnant, would have her husband hand her bottles of prune juice through the bathroom door to chug while sitting on the toilet and praying to the bowel gods to open the gates of hell. And by gates of hell, I clearly mean my then-uncooperative, progesterone-paralyzed, pregnant ass. You’re also not alone in your search terms options. According to the latest search data available, how to make yourself poop is searched for over 33,000 times per month. What they’re really asking is how to ease constipation, and that is searched for over 800,000 times a month.
All those people are not just searching for their own merriment, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, roughly 16 out of every 100 adults has symptoms of constipation. And 33 out of 100 people over the age of 60 experience symptoms of constipation. This is clearly a very common issue.
So, hi, hello, welcome. I’ll be your spirit guide on this sacred journey toward bowel proficiency. Let’s get things moving.
What foods will ease my constipation?
No matter what sort of questionable advice your friends may give you in your time of need, hitting the Taco Bell drive-thru isn’t guaranteed to get your bowels going. A more reliable suggestion? Fiber-filled foods like raspberries, which boast 8 grams of fiber per cup, and my old pregnancy favorite, prunes. In fact, one study found that eating roughly 10 prunes a day improves stool frequency. So, if you want to be the A+ pooper we all know you can, add prunes into your diet on a daily basis.
Another helpful fact? Magnesium deficiency is often behind constipation. You can remedy this by popping a handful of pumpkin seed kernels (168mg/1oz), almonds (80mg/1oz), spinach (78mg/1oz), or cashews (74 mg/1oz). You can also take a daily magnesium supplement if all of that doesn’t sound super appealing and you’d rather just pop a vitamin and go.
Aside from the yummy prune, these are some other foods that help with constipation: pears, apples, kiwi, spinach and other leafy greens, artichoke, beans and lentils, chia and flaxseeds, whole grains, among others.
Among the super foods that will relieve your constipation is psylium husk, a soluble fibre that passes through your small intestine without being broken down or absorbed, making it act like a gentle laxative to relieve constipation. You can find psylium in over the counter supplements like Metamucil (you can get online) or in its raw form at stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and many large supermarkets.
What drinks will make you poop right away?
You’re probably hoping that there is one magic elixir to make all of your problems go away. And, sure, we’re about to rattle off a few possibilities — but you’ll have to experiment to see what combination works best for you. In general, though, you’re going to want to quite literally hydrate the shit out of yourself.
Here’s a fun visual to fuel your night terrors for the foreseeable future. Have you ever tried to slide down a waterslide when you and/or the slide were dry? It’s a non-starter. Now, imagine your poo is you and the slide is your body. The more water you drink, the easier your stool will slide down and out. If you’re pregnant and can’t even keep water down, try these tricks that have worked for some pregnant women:
If you can eat peanut butter, do. The paste will dry your mouth and help you take in some important sips of water. Also, try using iced water with a straw and some tangy Tazo passion tea. The tangy ice cold drink helps many women keep down sips of water better. Doctors have noticed carbonated water with citrus flavors seem to stay down better than a glass of plain old water. But if you’re experiencing morning sickness, try to let the water stand so the carbonated drink can go a little flat, otherwise it may make you even more nauseas. Yeah, there’s basically no winning with morning sickness.
Naturally, we can’t mention drinks that make you go poop without giving coffee a shout-out. That morning cup of joe really does seem to get things moving, so get your java on. Although caffeine frequently gets the credit for this, decaf works too. That’s because any warm beverage can help wake up your bowels — warm drinks act as a vasodilator, widening the blood vessels in the digestive system and increasing blood flow and gastrointestinal activity.
What are the best supplements to help combat constipation?
When my six-year-old can feel a poop beckoning, he says it’s in his “poop pocket.” According to him, we all have one of these. It’s basically your bowels’ waiting room. So, when you suspect your poop pocket is full, you might not feel as though you can wait for all of those dietary changes to kick in. You need relief now, right?
In that case, you might want to consider supplements. Disclaimer: It’s always best to talk to your doctor about the best option for your bowels, especially if you’re pregnant or on medication. But in general, there are a few GI-doctor-recommended things you can take to stimulate action. Polyethylene glycol 3350, aka MiraLAX (you can buy it online as well), works because it’s made up of compounds your body can’t digest or absorb. So, it’s got nowhere to go but out, if you catch the drift. High doses can cause diarrhea, meaning you’ll want to adjust in small increments until you get the desired effect.
Psyllium husk, which is the main ingredient found in other OTC products like Metamucil, packs a fiber-filled punch. Fenugreek, vitamin C, and probiotics are all also associated with increased bowel activity (we linked to all our favorite supplements you can get online).
Are there any other tools or tricks to help relieve constipation quickly?
One word: exercise. It’s nature’s laxative! If you’re suffering from simple constipation (which is what most of us typically deal with), exercise works wonders to warm up your bowels and get them ready for a mass exodus.
If you’re flexible, you could try a bit of manual stimulation. According to a UCLA study, putting gentle pressure on the perineum might help break up and soften stools. Or, if you’re not flexible (or just aren’t really in the mood to massage your own butt parts), you could try applying moderate pressure and massaging your abdomen. Doing this in a clockwise direction might invigorate your bowels.
And, finally, there’s always the Squatty Potty. Generically known as a defecation postural modification device, this little stool sits at the base of the toilet. When you pop a squat to try taking a poo, you place your feet on this stool to raise your knees up. In turn, this relaxes the muscles and elevates your colon in a way that makes it easier to empty your bowels. Skeptical? Don’t be. A 2019 study found that Squatty Potties “positively influenced BM duration, straining patterns, and complete evacuation of bowels.”
We shit you not.