Olive Oil for Constipation: Does it Work

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Using olive oil for constipation is a tried and trusted natural remedy for one of the most uncomfortable conditions that everyone experiences at some point or another.

Constipation

Constipation is a common gastrointestinal problem in which a person struggles to pass a bowel movement. It can result in feeling bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable, as though you are always on the edge of needing to go to the bathroom. While there are countless natural remedies for constipation, olive oil is one of the best and most trusted. Not only can it quickly and effectively clear up your constipation symptoms, but it can also deliver a wide range of other health benefits.

The use of olive oil is also safe for babies, who often suffer from constipation. Finding medication or natural ways to solve this problem for your little one can be difficult, but olive oil in very small doses can be helpful. Similarly, pregnant women experience constipation very often, as the child continues to develop and grow. While there are few herbal remedies that are safely approved for pregnant women, olive oil for pregnancy constipation is often prescribed.

How to Use Olive Oil for Constipation?

There are a number of ways to use olive oil for constipation, ranging from drinking it straight to mixing it into your daily diet in more creative ways.

Olive Oil Shots

You can drink a 1-ounce shot of olive oil as a quick and direct solution for constipation, although some people find this flavor unpleasant, and opt for one of the following mixtures.

Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

Blending 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 6-8 drops of lemon juice can make the flavor a bit more palatable, while also adding the healthy benefits of lemon juice and citric acid, which can further stimulate the bowel movement.

Three bowls of fresh olive oil and whole olives and plant on a wooden table

Olive oil is a major component of the Mediterranean diet. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Olive Oil with Fruit or Vegetable

You can always add olive oil to your salad as a healthy salad dressing, and in combination with the high fiber of most salad ingredients, this can quickly stimulate peristaltic motion and clear up your constipation symptoms.

Olive Oil with Yogurt

Mixing a tablespoon of olive oil with 1 cup of yogurt is a great snack, and also an excellent way to boost digestive health and probiotic levels in your gut, while also preventing constipation. You can also add high-fiber fruits to this combination for even better effects.

How Does Olive Oil Relieve Constipation?

Olive oil can help against constipation in a number of ways, by softening stool, releasing bile, acting as a laxative, which is why it is so often turned to in times of bowel “congestion”.

Bile Release

The active ingredients in olive oil are able to stimulate the release of bile, which helps to ease the digestive process, more efficiently digest food, and promote normal movement of fecal matter. Without enough bile, constipation or indigestion is almost guaranteed.

Laxative

As a natural laxative, olive oil can help to lubricate the colon and trigger peristaltic motion in the gut. This can help to rapidly flush out your bowels, particularly when you take this oil 2-3 times a day while suffering from this condition.

Intestinal Dilation

The soothing nature of olive oil can lead to intestinal dilation, meaning that any inflammation or tension in your bowels will lessen. This will prevent impacted stool and poorly digested food from blocking the flow of fecal matter.

Stool Softener

A hard stool is one of the biggest reasons for constipation. It can be painful to pass, causing many people to avoid or even dread going to the bathroom. This can cause an additional backup in your body, leading to a more impacted stool and even worsened symptoms of constipation. Olive oil is known to soften stool and make it easier to pass, even if you are suffering from inflamed tissues or hemorrhoids.

Digestive Stimulant

Aside from increasing the bile production in the gallbladder, the antioxidants found in this oil are also able to improve the bacterial balance in the gut, which can optimize the entire digestive process and ensure that there is no unnecessary blockage, thus solving the major problem of constipation.

Risk Factors

While using olive oil for constipation is clearly effective, there are some risk factors and possible side effects to consider, such as taking too much of it and experiencing diarrhea, or not considering the additional fat intake in your diet.

Diarrhea: Since olive oil does have natural laxative qualities, using this in excess can bring you to the opposite extreme of the constipation problem – diarrhea. When using this oil for constipation, start with small amounts and use in moderation.

Fat Intake: Olive oil is good for you, but there is still a good amount of fat in the oil, which can affect your overall cholesterol levels. If you struggle with obesity, be careful about your intake of this high-fat oil.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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