3 Ways To Make Yourself Poop, According To Gut Health Experts
"If you are having a bowel movement every other day or less frequently," integrative gut health specialist Vincent Pedre, M.D., tells mbg, "or you experience pain and straining, then you may be suffering from constipation."
If things are starting to feel, well, stuck, these three tips from gut health experts may get things moving again:
1. Stick to a sleep schedule.
Going to sleep at the same time every night can help maintain regularity.
"Changes in sleep patterns can affect our circadian rhythm, which controls both our sleep/wake cycles and our digestion," dietitian and nutrition expert, Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., tells mbg.
"This may be why most people have their bowel movements in the morning. Any change to your sleep cycle can cause changes in colonic motility, leading to delays in bowel movements or constipation," she says.
2. Take a probiotic supplement.
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Taking a probiotic supplement may help manage constipation by increasing good bacteria in the gut.* These beneficial bacteria have been shown to increase the speed in which poop travels through the intestines.*
"Choose a supplement with at least 50 billion CFU (colony-forming units), to help regulate your digestion and build a healthier gut microbiome," recommends board-certified physician Taz Bhatia, M.D. To make it a regular part of your routine, she recommends: "Take a high-quality probiotic each morning with [a] breakfast smoothie."
3. Try intermittent fasting.
"Since we're trying to reset the gut and give it a rest from all the digesting it's been doing, the first thing you should do is try to fast for at least 16 hours," she tells mbg, "which means you leave 16 hours between your last meal of the day and breakfast."
For example, eating the last meal of the day at 8 p.m. and the first meal of the day at 12 p.m. the next day would equate to a 16-hour fast. This also leaves room in the morning for proper hydration, which can also promote digestion.
Constipation can be uncomfortable and even painful, but depending on the cause, it can often be managed at home. If problems persist, consider consulting a gastroenterologist or family physician.