Constipation is one of the most common digestive problems. It’s uncomfortable and inconvenient, but it can also lead to serious health issues such as bowel obstructions, fecal incontinence, rectal pain, and a lack of a regular bowel movement.
Many people wonder whether sex can help relieve constipation. While sex is not a treatment for constipation, physical exertion and hormonal changes during sexual activity may indirectly influence bowel movements and alleviate constipation symptoms.
1. Increase your water intake
It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to help your digestive system function properly. Constipation can be a sign that you’re dehydrated.
If you are experiencing constipation, drink water and eat more fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. In addition, be sure to get enough exercise and manage your stress levels.
The main cause of constipation is not drinking enough water or eating a high-fiber diet. Other causes include a lack of physical activity, a sedentary lifestyle, and certain medications. Symptoms of constipation include pain, bloating, and rectal cramping.
Backed up stool can also put you at risk for infection. Bacteria from the stool can travel down the anal canal during sex and enter the vagina or urethra, which can lead to a urinary tract infection. It’s also possible to become constipated during pregnancy or after childbirth due to the hormones, vitamins, and supplements associated with those events. If you’re constipated, see a doctor for treatment.
2. Eat a high-fiber diet
Eating a high-fiber diet can help with constipation because it softens stool and makes it easier to pass. However, it’s important to increase fiber intake gradually, over the course of a few weeks. Doing so allows your gastrointestinal tract and microbiome to adjust. Drinking plenty of water is also key. It’s recommended that you consume at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but each person’s body may need more or less water to stay properly hydrated.
Laxatives and enemas can be effective for constipation, but they’re not a good long-term solution because they can lead to dependency. Additionally, suppositories can cause pain, cramping and bloating. If you’re trying to relieve constipation, there are many natural remedies that can help, such as drinking warm liquids, eating fiber-rich foods and exercising regularly. If you’re still having trouble, speak to a healthcare professional for additional guidance. They can help you find the right combination of treatments for your unique needs.
3. Exercise regularly
A regular exercise program can help with constipation by reducing stress, increasing muscle activity and improving digestive health. Exercise can also stimulate the bowels by increasing the speed of movement in the colon, which promotes regular bowel movements and alleviates constipation.
If you are experiencing constipation, consider starting a walking or jogging regimen. These types of low-impact exercises can improve your digestive system, especially if you are drinking plenty of water to hydrate. Another option is to try biking, which can improve your digestion by lowering the time it takes for food to move through the large intestine.
While sex doesn’t prevent constipation, it can have other positive effects on your digestive system. For example, sexual activity can stimulate the bowels and increase blood flow to the pelvic area, which may help reduce constipation. In addition, sex can also reduce stress, which is known to be a contributor to digestive problems.
However, if you are constipated, it’s best to avoid sex until after you have a bowel movement. Having sex while constipated can cause pain during intercourse and push stool through the anus, which can lead to a urinary tract infection.
4. Avoid smoking
When people suffer from constipation, they often struggle to relax and can’t poop. This inability to relax can cause more stress, which makes it even harder to poop. It’s a vicious cycle! Smoking is also linked to constipation. This is because it causes your body to release chemicals that slow intestinal movement. It can also interfere with the nerves that stimulate bowel movements.
If you are a woman, constipation can impact your sexual intimacy, causing pain or discomfort during intercourse. This is known as dyspareunia. It is usually caused by the pelvic muscle called the levator ani. This muscle is important for supporting the pelvic organs and facilitating defecation.
In addition to increasing your water intake, eating a high-fiber diet and exercising regularly, avoid smoking. These changes can help to relieve constipation and improve your sexual health. Lastly, reduce your stress levels by practicing relaxation techniques or spending time with loved ones. If you’re struggling to cope with stress, consider speaking with a therapist. You can find a licensed professional on BetterHelp. This online service matches you with a therapist that fits your needs and budget.
5. Reduce stress
When a woman is constipated, her colon and rectum are full of hard pieces of stool. Behind these pieces is gas, which leads to bloating and cramping. The fact that the rectum sits right behind the vagina makes it particularly uncomfortable to have penetrative sex while constipated.
Luckily, there are ways to get rid of the pain and discomfort associated with having sex while constipated. One of the most effective strategies is to reduce stress. Stress hormones directly influence bowel movements, so reducing them can help alleviate constipation.
Another way to reduce stress is by practicing meditation, deep breathing, and regular exercise. All of these activities can improve digestive function and help you feel more relaxed and comfortable during sexual activity.
When patients come to Staller’s clinic with chronic constipation, they often mention that it causes pain during sexual intercourse. This may be because the muscles in the pelvic area are tight, causing dyspareunia (painful penetration of the anus or vagina). By relaxing these muscles, it can help to relieve the pain and constipation.