Natural ways to relieve constipation include adding more fiber to the diet, increasing water intake and maintaining a regular exercise regimen, states WebMD. For individuals 12 and older, it also helps to establish a daily routine for moving bowels and placing the feet on a 6-inch stool while sitting on the toilet to position the pelvis in a position conducive to a bowel movement.
Increasing fiber consumption leads to bulkier, softer stool that is easier to pass, explains WebMD. Doctors suggest slowly increasing daily intake of fiber until a person is consuming 20 to 35 grams of fiber every day. Fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, beans, bran and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. It is important to reduce intake of fatty and low-fiber foods, such as meat, processed products and dairy products.
Drinking at least eight glasses of water daily also helps improve constipation, notes WebMD. Individuals suffering constipation should avoid drinking alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, which contribute to dehydration. Patients with kidney or heart failure should consult a doctor about their fluid intake.
WebMD advises doing gentle exercises, such as taking a brief stroll, and performing the exercise routine for 20 minutes or longer. Those who experience persistent constipation despite natural treatment may try using processed or synthetic fiber, a stool softener, a rectal glycerin suppository or a laxative according to a doctor's instructions.