How to ease IBS-C (constipation)

IBS-C (Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation) is painful and as far from fun as you can get. Here are some gentle tried and tested methods we've used to get things moving again.


To start with the obvious: we’re not doctors. But here are a few (non-medication) things we’ve tried that help ease those uncomfortable IBS-C symptoms:

Drink lots of water

Do you think you’re drinking enough of this stuff? We promise you, you’re probably not. Not being hydrated enough is an incredibly common cause of constipation, and it’s a simple fix. It might not help overnight but it’ll certainly help ease the way within a couple of days…so keep a big bottle on your desk or by your side throughout the day and keep sipping.

Take pre/probiotics

Researchers at Kings College London found that probiotics helped soften stools and increase the number of weekly bowel movements. We’ve used the pre/probiotic mix from Boots in the past to positive effect (coupled with water and flaxseed especially) but if you’ve got positive things to say about other probiotics, we’d love to hear in the comments below.

Grind that flaxseed

Ground flaxseed (a.k.a. linseed) are high in fibre and contain something (slightly gross sounding) called mucilage…a gel-like substance which helps everything move along nicely inside those intestines of yours. Our dietitian recommended starting with half a tablespoon of ground flax a day (we either topped porridge and yoghurt with it or added it to smoothies) and building up as you go along. Trying it? Track it in your diary.

Drink caffeine

Used judiciously, a little bit of caffeine can help you move things along when it’s not going very well in there. Though this is one we’d approach with caution unless you know what your exact tolerance for caffeine is, or you’re close enough to a porcelain throne.


This one’s a toughie (no pun intended). For some people fibre can make things worse, so depending on your particular IBS pains, you might want to consult a doctor or pharmacist before trying out a form of soluble fibre to help things along a bit.

Get up and move

Exercise is essential for happy bowel movements. Don’t sit on the loo and strain – get up, go for a walk around, a light jog or try some gentle yoga.

Do you have any tried and tested methods for getting things moving? Leave us a comment below…Whatever you try, be sure to jot it down in your diary so that you can repeat the things that work!