Your Constipation Care Plan: Natural Remedies for Constipation

by | Jan 2, 2023 | Nutrition | 0 comments

Feeling stuck? Constipation is a common medical problem, yet many people don’t seek help for it. Luckily, there are several natural remedies that you can use to improve constipation. Read on to learn how to create your own constipation care plan using natural remedies like green kiwi fruit and fiber supplements.

What is Constipation?

Before creating your constipation care plan, it’s important to note that there are two types of constipation – chronic constipation and constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C). Both conditions are diagnosed using the Rome IV criteria. The Rome IV criteria are a set of criteria used to diagnose disorders of the gut-brain interaction.

Rome IV Criteria for Chronic Constipation

Diagnosis of chronic constipation requires having at least two of the following symptoms for at least three months:

  • Straining for 25% of bowel movements
  • Lumpy or hard stools for 25% of bowel movements
  • Sense of incomplete evacuation for 25% of bowel movements
  • Sensation of blockage for 25% of bowel movements
  • Manual maneuvers to facilitate 25% of bowel movements
  • Less than 3 spontaneous bowel movements per week.

In general, chronic constipation doesn’t always involve abdominal pain or bloating, but relates more to the sensation of straining and incomplete evacuation.

Rome IV Criteria for IBS-C

IBS is defined as recurrent abdominal pain for at least one day per week in the last three months. It also includes at least two of the following:

  • Pain related to having a bowel movement
  • Change in frequency of stool
  • Change in consistency of stool

For IBS-C to be diagnosed, it must also include:

  • >25% of stools being type 1-2 on the Bristol Stool Chart, and <25% of stools being type 6-7 on the Bristol Stool Chart.

When diagnosing constipation, it’s important to keep an eye out for red flags such as blood in the stool, unexplained weight loss, and waking up in the middle of the night to have a bowel movement. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult with a physician to rule out more sinister causes of constipation like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or colorectal cancer.

What Causes Constipation?

To understand what causes constipation, it’s important to first understand how food moves through the digestive tract.

Normally, the partially digested food that remains after nutrients have been absorbed moves from the small intestine to the large intestine (colon). In the colon, excess water is absorbed from the waste, which produces a solid stool.

When you have constipation, food may move too slowly through the digestive tract. This gives the colon more time to absorb water from the waste, which produces stool that is hard, dry, and difficult to pass.

There are several common causes of constipation, including:

  • Not eating enough fiber
  • Not drinking enough fluid
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Changes to your routine (such as traveling)
  • Stress
  • Hormones
  • Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement
  • Slow bowel transit
  • Poor coordination of the muscles and nerves in the pelvic floor (dyssynergic defecation)
  • Certain medications (such as narcotic pain medications, iron pills, and certain anti-depressant medications)

Natural Remedies for Constipation

In many cases, mild-to-moderate constipation can be managed at home using natural products such as green kiwi fruit or fiber supplements.

Kiwi for Constipation

What is it?

Kiwi fruit are oval-shaped fruit with thin, fuzzy, light brown skin and light green or golden flesh. They contain rows of small, black, edible seeds.

How does it work?

There is evidence to support the use of green kiwi fruit for the management of IBS-C. A study published in 2010 examined the effects of two green kiwi fruits per day for one month. The study found that weekly bowel movement frequency significantly increased in the group of participants consuming two green kiwi fruit per day. They also found that colon transit time significantly decreased in the group consuming the green kiwi fruit. A shorter transit time means that there was less time available for the colon to absorb water from the stool, thereby making the stool softer and easier to pass.

It’s thought that green kiwi fruit helps with constipation for several reasons. First, the dietary fiber in kiwi fruit has a high water-holding capacity. This can help bulk stool and promote bowel movements. Kiwi fruit also contains an enzyme called actinidin, which is thought to promote bowel movements by stimulating receptors in the colon.

How do I use it?

Studies show that consuming two green kiwis per day is an effective treatment for constipation. Try adding chopped kiwi to a yogurt parfait or blending it into a smoothie.

Psyllium for Constipation

What is it?

Psyllium is a type of fiber made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds.

How does it work?

Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative, meaning that it absorbs water in your bowels and increases the size of your stool. This can help you have a bowel movement more easily.

How do I use it?

Psyllium is available over the counter. If you don’t like the flavor, try mixing it into a smoothie. Be sure to drink the smoothie right away, as psyllium will cause the liquid to thicken.

It’s best to start with a small amount of psyllium and to gradually increase it over the span of a week. This will help reduce the likelihood of unwanted side effects like gas and bloating as your body gets used to the increased fiber intake.

When taking psyllium, it’s important to ensure you’re drinking enough fluid. If your fluid intake is inadequate when you take psyllium, it could make your constipation worse.

Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum for Constipation

What is it?

Guar gum is a water-soluble carbohydrate found in the seeds of the guar plant. It is extremely viscous, which makes it difficult to incorporate into food products. The solution to this viscosity is to partially hydrolyze it. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) is completely water soluble and invisible when mixed with water.

How does it work?

Studies show that PHGG speeds up the transit time of stool through the colon (especially in people with slow gut transit time) and increases the frequency of bowel movements of people with chronic constipation.

In addition to working as a mild laxative, PHGG is also a prebiotic. Prebiotics are non-digestible food compounds that beneficially affect the body by stimulating the growth or activity of our friendly gut microbes. Unfortunately, prebiotics often have the unwanted side effect of bloating. However, PHGG is typically well-tolerated and can be used even with people who are prone to bloating.

How do I use it?

PHGG is available over the counter. A review article of the studies regarding PHGG suggests that a regular intake of 5 to 10 grams of PHGG per day is effective to treat most digestive concerns, including constipation. As with all fiber supplements, start with a low dose and gradually increase over the span of a week to avoid unwanted side effects like gas and bloating.

Acacia Fiber for Constipation

What is it?

Acacia fiber, also known as gum arabic, is a dried gum from the stems and branches of Acacia trees.

How does it work?

Acacia fiber contains a high amount of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in the water in the digestive tract and forms a gel. This increases the bulk of the stool and helps stool move through the bowels more easily.

Acacia fiber is also a prebiotic. A test tube study published in 2021 showed that acacia fiber significantly promoted the growth of Bifidobacteria, a beneficial type of gut bacteria. However, this has not yet been replicated in human studies.

A study published in 2012 showed that yogurt enriched with acacia fiber and a probiotic (Bifidobacterium lactis) was an effective treatment for IBS-C.

How do I use it?

There is no set dose for acacia fiber. As with all fiber supplements, it’s best to start with a low dose and gradually increase it until you achieve the desired symptom relief.

Final Thoughts

Constipation can be frustrating and uncomfortable, but luckily, there are natural remedies you can try at home to treat mild to moderate constipation. These include green kiwi fruit and different fiber supplements. Try including these foods in your constipation care plan to get the relief you’ve been looking for.


If you’re struggling with constipation, Blue Tree Nutrition can help! Click here to get in touch and book an appointment today.

Meet Valerie

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist - CDN, RDN

My name is Valerie Polley. I am a Indianapolis-based registered dietitian and owner of Blue Tree Nutrition. I consult with clients both local and far away.
I have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Purdue University and I have been practicing for 20 years.
I thoroughly enjoy helping clients through their gut health journey. I see a range of GI issues including, but not limited to celiac disease, IBS and SIBO. I also specialize in the FODMAP elimination diet.

Subscribe for More Great Articles!

Subscribe via email to be notified of new articles, healthy recipes and helpful tips.