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Backed Up? Here’s What To Drink To Help You Poop, According to GI Docs

Plus, the drinks you might want to avoid to prevent constipation

We’ve all been constipated, and it’s definitely no fun. You’re so bloated, you struggle to zip up your jeans. You have to strain to poop. You feel full and just…blah.

Constipation is fairly common for women. Many things can cause it, but what you eat and drink plays a major role in how often you have bowel movements (and the texture of your poop when you go).

The internet is awash with drinks aimed at helping you poop. A popular one is the “internal shower,” which has more than 118 million views on TikTok. Users say the concoction (made by mixing chia seeds and water) will get your digestive tract moving.

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Many people swear drinking a cup of coffee will send them straight to the bathroom, and Cleveland Clinic says coffee contains substances that can boost your levels of hormones that stimulate the muscles in your digestive tract. Prune juice might help too.

But these drinks aren’t necessarily the best solutions for your gut long term. We asked gastroenterologists for their advice on the best drink to help you poop.

 

This Drink Will Help You Poop

Water is the number one drink to help you poop and keep your digestive system regular long term, says Dr. Haleh Pazwash, MD, a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey.

“If you think of the digestive system as a plumbing system, everything has to go through,” she explains. “The smoother it is, the more likely it’s going to go down the drain.”

To ensure, everything passes through smoothly, you need to drink plenty of water and eat fiber, Dr. Pazwash says.

“If you have enough water, but not enough fiber, it doesn’t do much,” she cautions. “If you have enough fiber, but don’t have enough water, you actually may get more constipated. You need a balance of both.”

You need at least four glasses of water a day, says Dr. Darik Taniguchi, MD, a gastroenterologist with Gastro Health in Seattle.

Fruits and vegetables are also fiber-rich. Women need 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, and men need 30 to 38 grams.

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Second, Aloe vera juice comes from the leaves of aloe vera plants. Aloe leaves are rich in compounds that help ease inflammation of the digestive tract.

Active components with its properties: Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids.

  1. Vitamins: It contains vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, which are antioxidants. It also contains vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline. Antioxidant neutralizes free radicals.
  2. Enzymes: It contains 8 enzymes: aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically, while others help in the breakdown of sugars and fats.
  3. Minerals: It provides calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc. They are essential for the proper functioning of various enzyme systems in different metabolic pathways and few are antioxidants.
  4. Sugars: It provides monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides: (glucomannans/polymannose). These are derived from the mucilage layer of the plant and are known as mucopolysaccharides. The most prominent monosaccharide is mannose-6-phosphate, and the most common polysaccharides are called glucomannans [beta-(1,4)-acetylated mannan]. Acemannan, a prominent glucomannan has also been found. Recently, a glycoprotein with antiallergic properties, called alprogen and novel anti-inflammatory compound, C-glucosyl chromone, has been isolated from Aloe vera gel.
  5. Anthraquinones: It provides 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds traditionally known as laxatives. Aloin and emodin act as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals.
  6. Fatty acids: It provides 4 plant steroids; cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol. All these have anti-inflammatory action and lupeol also possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties.
  7. Hormones: Auxins and gibberellins that help in wound healing and have anti-inflammatory action.
  8. Others: It provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. It also contains salicylic acid that possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Lignin, an inert substance, when included in topical preparations, enhances penetrative effect of the other ingredients into the skin. Saponins that are the soapy substances form about 3% of the gel and have cleansing and antiseptic properties.

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Aloe Vera Laxative effects

Anthraquinones present in latex are a potent laxative. It increases intestinal water content, stimulates mucus secretion and increases intestinal peristalsis.

 

Why Hydration Is Crucial for Digestive Health

Most Americans don’t drink enough water and are often chronically dehydrated. This can affect your digestive health.

“If you’re dehydrated, the colon or large intestines will soak up more water from the food you eat and dry out the stool, making it harder to pass and cause constipation,” explains Dr. Taniguchi. Drinking plenty of water also helps reduce symptoms of acid reflux.

A lack of water and electrolytes, like calcium and magnesium, can increase your risk for stomach ulcers, and being dehydrated might make you feel hungry and thirsty, which might lead you to eat more than you should, he says.

A few signs of dehydration, according to Cleveland Clinic, include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Dark-colored urine

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How To Drink More Water

If water isn’t your favorite beverage, there are several ways to jazz it up to “creatively increase your fluid intake,” says Dr. Pazwash.

She suggests squeezing fresh lemon juice into a glass of water. Flavor it with other natural items, like oranges, berries, cucumber, watermelon or mint, to change things up.

Mixing aloe vera juice with water is another option. Some research suggests that aloe vera could have digestive health benefits.

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References

  1. Dr. Haleh Pazwash, MD, a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey
  2. Dr. Darik Taniguchi, MD, a gastroenterologist with Gastro Health
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/