DIY laxative: Baking soda is used in a variety of ways and has for many centuries. Learn how to use baking soda as a laxative to help relieve constipation. Keep reading for more information!
This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD
Constipation is a problem that can affect people of all ages. Approximately 16 out of 100 adults have symptoms of constipation, with over 4 million people in the United States suffering from frequent constipation.  In this article, we will discuss how baking soda can help relieve constipation.
Chronic constipation means having less than three bowel movements a week over a several-month spans. In addition to this meaning, there are several other definitions of chronic constipation. For example, the straining or difficulty of passing stools can fit the description. For others, constipation is the feeling of having to go to the bathroom but being unable.
There are many potential causes of constipation. Here are a few:
- Low Fiber Diet. Insufficient intake of fruits and veggies.
- Improper Hydration. Not drinking enough water or consuming liquids that dehydrate the body.
- Candida overgrowth. Excess candida in the gut could cause digestive problems, including constipation. For more information on candida and candida products, clickHERE.
- Not producing digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes help promote food digestion, minimizing any blockages in the intestines.
- Not enough physical activity. Exercise (walking, cycling, jogging, etc.) can help to decrease the time it takes for food to move through the large intestine.
- Antidepressants. Some antidepressants can interfere with the nerve that stimulates bowel movements.
- Pregnancy. Early in pregnancy, dietary changes linked to hormonal changes could cause constipation. In addition, pressure on the organs from the baby could cause constipation later in the pregnancy as well.
- High blood pressure meds. Some high blood pressure medications act as a diuretic, impacting both salt and fluid levels in the body. In addition, the diuretic increases the need to urinate, which could increase the risk of dehydration and, ultimately, constipation.
Baking soda has been used as a standard household product for cooking and cleaning, but few people know it may potentially work as an antacid. Even though there is no scientific research on its use or effectiveness, baking soda has been used as an aide to relieve constipation for years. Here are some of the top ways to use baking soda for constipation.
Consuming Baking Soda
A mixture of water and baking soda may help ease feelings of constipation. Here is a baking soda recipe to try:
- 1 cup of water
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Instructions: Heat water over low flame. Add the lemon juice and baking soda to the water, stirring well. Drink twice a day for relief of abdominal discomfort.
Note: Fennel seeds can also be added to water and baking soda. Fennel seeds contain camphor, anethole, limonene, and fenchone. These essential oils are also a natural treatment for constipation. For fennel seed products, clickHERE.
Bathing with Baking Soda
Bathing in baking soda has been used to help ease feelings of constipation, helping to relax the anal sphincter. This could allow for easier bowel movements. For best results, add 2 ounces of baking soda to a tub full of warm water and soak for 20 minutes.
Side effects from the use of baking soda for constipation are rare, but precautions must be taken. It’s important to consume small amounts initially to determine how the body will react. Possible side effects include the following:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle spasms
- Frequent urination
Note: Baking soda is high in sodium, which is noteworthy for those with high blood pressure. It can also interact with certain medications when consumed. In extremely rare instances, baking soda consumption has caused stomach ruptures: baking soda produces carbon dioxide when mixed with stomach acid. If it builds up too much, the stomach could burst (which is rare).
To err on the side of caution, individuals taking medication with high blood pressure or other health issues may want to consult with a physician before consuming baking soda.
In addition to baking soda, here are a few ways to treat constipation naturally.
Consume probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria in the gut. An imbalance of these natural bacteria may increase the risk of constipation. Preliminary studies indicate probiotics “may improve whole gut transit time, stool frequency, and stool consistency.” 
Top probiotic foods include the following:
- Greek yogurt
- Green peas
Natural probiotic supplements are available as well. ClickHERE to see an assortment of probiotic supplements.
Eat more fiber. Increasing fiber intake (primarily soluble, non-fermentable fiber) may help ease constipation. Fiber can’t be digested in the body and passes through the stool for elimination. Fiber can help make stools easier to pass by increasing bulk and consistency. Top soluble fiber-rich foods include the following:
- Green beans
Natural, fiber-rich supplements are available as well. Click HERE for more information.
Drink more water. Chronic dehydration increases the risk of constipation. In older individuals, low fluid intake is a predictor of increased levels of acute constipation.  The average adult should consume 8 glasses of water per day.
Enemas. An enema is the injection of fluid into the lower bowel via the rectum. This is intended to treat chronic constipation or cleanse the bowel.
Whether consumed in water or while soaking in a bathtub, baking soda may be a viable treatment option for those suffering from chronic constipation. However, even though side effects are rare, those who have high blood pressure or take medication should consult their doctor before trying baking soda for constipation. Have you tried using baking soda for constipation? Tell us about your experiences by leaving a comment below!
Medical Disclaimer: This article is based upon the opinions of Dr. Daniel Pompa. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Pompa and his associates. This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD for accuracy of the information provided, but Dr. Pompa encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.