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Probiotics for Occasional Constipation: Learn How to Use
By Joe Boland
November 2, 2023
We all know probiotics benefit gut health in myriad ways, but do those benefits extend to helping with relief for occasional constipation? According to research, yes, you can use probiotics for occasional constipation relief and to promote regularity.
Along with a healthy diet and lifestyle good for digestion, these beneficial microorganisms are often consumed to help improve gut health and maintain a balanced microbiome, which in turn certainly can help with normal, regular bowel movements.
Research suggests probiotics can be helpful when it comes to your bathroom habits, so read on to learn how to generally use probiotics for occasional constipation.
As always, you should consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including consuming or taking probiotics.
Yes, according to research in general, probiotics can help with reducing occasional constipation. Here’s how:
Balanced gut microbiota can contribute to regular, normal bowel movements and a reduction in occasional constipation. Probiotics can help promote a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which may support overall bowel function.
Some strains of probiotics can produce short-chain fatty acids and help in the fermentation of dietary fiber. These processes can promote softer and more easily passable stools, which can help alleviate occasional constipation.
Probiotics may influence gut motility, helping regulate the contractions of the colon and, in some cases, reducing occasional constipation.
Certain probiotics can enhance the fermentation of dietary fiber, producing substances like butyric acid, which can help promote regular bowel movements.
However, it's important to note that not all probiotics are the same, and their effectiveness can vary depending on the specific strains and the individual. What works for one person may not work for another. When considering probiotics for reducing occasional constipation, it's also recommended to choose probiotics with a colony forming units (CFU) count of at least 25 billion CFUs, with some experts recommending 30 billion CFUs or more.
In addition to probiotics, it's also essential to maintain a well-balanced diet rich in fiber, drink plenty of water and engage in regular physical activity. These lifestyle factors play a crucial role in promoting regular bowel movements and reducing occasional constipation.
Prebiotics are non-digestible dietary fibers that serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria, including probiotics. They can help promote a healthy gut microbiome and, in turn, may be beneficial for reducing occasional constipation as well.
Here's how prebiotics can help with constipation:
Prebiotics are not digested by the human body but are fermented by beneficial bacteria in the colon. This fermentation process produces short-chain fatty acids, such as butyric acid, which can help regulate bowel movements and promote a soft, passable stool.
Prebiotics can add bulk to the stool by retaining water, making it softer and easier to pass. This can be especially helpful in cases of occasional constipation caused by harder, drier stools.
Prebiotics can stimulate the muscles of the colon, promoting regular contractions and healthy gut motility. This can help move stool through the digestive tract more efficiently.
As with probiotics, it's essential to maintain a balanced diet with sufficient fiber and hydration to help reduce occasional constipation.
Using probiotics to help with reducing occasional constipation involves choosing the best probiotic supplements, consuming them in the appropriate manner and integrating them into your overall health routine. Here are some steps to consider when using probiotics for helping to reduce occasional constipation:
Select the Right Probiotic Strains: Not all probiotics are the same, and different strains may have varying effects on bowel regularity, including reducing occasional constipation. A superstar probiotic that is shown to help reduce occasional constipation is the clinically studied soil-based organism (SBO) probiotic Bacillus coagulans. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains are also commonly used for promoting overall gut health. Look for strains like Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei or Bifidobacterium lactis, which have shown potential benefits for promoting overall gut health and function.
Choose Quality Probiotic Supplements: When selecting a probiotic supplement, make sure it contains the specific strains for reducing occasional constipation. Look for products that are of high quality, have been tested for potency and purity, and are stored and transported in a way that ensures the live bacteria survive until consumption, and choose a soil-based probiotics supplement over regular supplements.
Follow the Label Instructions for Use: Probiotic amounts can vary, so it's important to follow the instructions for use on the product label. In some cases, a higher amount may be recommended for a specific period. Check with your healthcare professional.
Be Consistent: Consistency is key when using probiotics for overall gut health support, including reducing occasional constipation. It may take several weeks for you to notice a difference in your bowel habits, so stick with the regimen as recommended.
Combine with Lifestyle Changes: Probiotics work best when used in conjunction with a healthy diet, adequate fiber intake and proper hydration. Make sure you're maintaining a balanced lifestyle to support overall gut health.
It's important to remember that probiotics are not a one-size-fits-all solution for reducing occasional constipation. The effectiveness of probiotics can vary from person to person.
When selecting the best probiotic supplements for reducing occasional constipation, it's essential to consider factors such as the specific strains of probiotics, amounts/CFU count and any additional ingredients in the supplement.
In general, look for probiotic supplements with the following strains:
Try some of the following probiotics for the reduction of occasional constipation:
Additionally, consider factors such as the potency, shelf-stability, and any potential allergens or sensitivities when selecting a probiotic supplement. Always follow the instructions for use provided on the product label or as recommended by your healthcare professional.
In addition to probiotic supplements, you can incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your diet to help with constipation and boost gut health. Here are some probiotic foods that may be beneficial for relief of occasional constipation, along with other supplements for occasional constipation: