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Sometimes it can be difficult to have a bowel movement. We discover some of the natural remedies that can help a person poop, and lifestyle changes to help them stay healthy and regular.

Bowel movements are different for everyone. The healthy range is usually considered to be from three times per week up to three times per day.

Many things can affect the ability to poop, from diet or illness to a change in routine.

A laxative is a medication that encourages a bowel movement. There are also some natural remedies that can be used as alternatives. In this article, we take a look at seven of these options.

A pile of kiwi fruits
Kiwi fruits may be a great natural laxative as they are high in fiber and could aid digestion.

There are some natural ways to encourage a bowel movement. Listed below are actions to take, food and drink to try, and herbal remedies that may help.

1. Exercise

Exercise can stimulate muscles in the lower part of the digestive system. This part of the gut gets rid of waste from the body in the form of poop.

Taking a brisk walk or jog or choosing some other form of exercise may encourage a bowel movement.

2. Relaxation and posture

Not being able to poop when desired can be stressful. Trying to relax and taking enough time can help. Straining or trying to force the body to poop is not healthy.

Raising the knees above the hips can make it easier to poop. Resting the feet on a block or stool when sitting on the toilet are ways to raise the knees.

3. Prunes

This dried fruit is a great source of fiber, and fiber helps move food through the digestive system. Eating a few prunes may help to encourage a bowel movement.

Dried prunes are available to buy in health food stores and .

4. Senna

Senna is a plant, and its leaves and fruit are used as a natural laxative. It is to be taken in tablet or liquid form.

The herb takes to work. A person may choose to take senna before they go to sleep so that it works overnight. This should mean that they can have a bowel movement in the morning.

5. Kiwi fruit

Kiwi fruits are high in fiber, and that they may assist digestion. This would mean that the fruit could be a useful natural laxative to try.

6. Coffee

Some older research suggests that coffee may help people to have a bowel movement. A found that women who drank coffee were less likely to have constipation.

There is little recent research into this area, although a suggested that decaffeinated coffee was linked to a reduced time to a bowel movement after bowel surgery.

It is not clear why coffee has this effect but drinking a cup may help a person to poop.

Coffee products are available for .

7. Flaxseed oil

A found flaxseed oil to work well in the treatment of constipation. People taking part in the research were given 4 milliliters of flaxseed oil per day.

Flaxseed oil can be taken as a supplement and normally comes in capsule form. Flaxseed oil supplements are available for .

toilet sign in an airport
Using the restroom at different times when travelling may make it harder for someone to poop.

Constipation is the medical term for not pooping regularly or finding it hard to poop. Other symptoms include feeling bloated, sick, or having a belly ache.

Constipation does not always have a clear cause. It often happens because a person is not eating enough fiber, drinking enough fluids, or exercising enough. Stress or a change in routine can also cause constipation, and it can be a side effect of some medication.

Traveling can mean that a person does not use the restroom at their usual times. It can help if they plan bathroom breaks to try and keep to their regular routine.

Stress or anxiety about pooping away from home can stop someone being able to go. A person should try to relax, feel comfortable, and not rush, all of which can help.

A doctor may prescribe laxatives if diet and lifestyle changes have not made it easier to poop.

A person is likely to have constipation if:

If left untreated, constipation can lead to complications, such as piles.

If a person has made changes to their diet and lifestyle but is still constipated, they may wish to consult a doctor.

A laxative may be needed to treat constipation. There is a range of different laxatives available. A doctor will be able to prescribe the most suitable one.

Care should be taken to follow the instructions for how much medication to take. Laxatives can be harmful to health if not taken properly. They also decrease the bowel's natural ability to move stool if regularly used or used too often.

Not being able to poop regularly could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Someone should see a doctor if they have any of the following symptoms in addition to not being able to poop regularly:

  • blood in the poop
  • having a bloated stomach for a long time
  • feeling tired frequently
  • unexpected weight loss