Did you know that every 16 out of 100 people experience constipation symptoms?  This makes constipation one of the most common gastroenterological conditions, which, luckily, is not life-threatening in most cases.
This article will guide you through 4 natural methods that can help you soften your stools, relieve constipation symptoms, and recover your gut’s healthy and regular functions.
That being said, being constipated can really affect your life quality, as it can lead to bloating, abdominal discomfort and pain, little or no bowel movement, feeling of incomplete evacuation and heaviness in the abdominal area, poor apetite, fatigue, backpain, anal fissures (small tears in the anal lining), hemmoroids, and other unpleasent symptoms. 
And while the most common factors for constipation are poor dietary choices and lack of exercise, in some cases constipation can be caused by different health conditions (like IBS, IBD, hormonal imbalance, medication misuse/side effects) that may need a medical treatment plan. 
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), making dietary and lifestyle changes like staying hydrated, watching your dietary fiber intake, setting up a schedule, increase physical activity, and making wise diet choices can be effective methods for softening your stool and trigger bowel movement. 
Ways to naturally soften your stools
Eat more fiber
A 2014 paper published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition suggests that the consumption of enough dietary fiber (about 30 grams per day for adults) can increase the stool bulk, stimulate bowel movement, and soften the consistency of the stools. 
Foods rich in insoluble fiber include  :
- Whole grains
- Fruits with edible seeds
- Nuts and seeds
Considering that the insufficient fluid intake can be a cause for constipation, evidence suggests that water supplementation (1.5-2 liter per day) can improve stool frequency when combined with a high-fiber diet.  And according to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research, drinking at least 8 cups of water per day can help to soften stool consistency. 
Eat more fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in dietary fiber and water. This way, including more of these foods into your diet can help you get enough water and fiber from your meals and support stool softening and constipation relief.
Besides, a 2016 paper published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology discussed various plant foods that can be very useful for constipation  :
- Apples with peel
- Green kiwis
Moreover, the American Cancer Society also advises people with constipation to avoid foods and drinks that cause gas. These include avocados, beans, peas, cabbage, broccoli, milk, chewing gum, and fizzy drinks. 
Move your body
According to a 2019 review paper published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, exercising may have a positive effect on constipation and relieve its symptoms. However, these claims are still not supported by solid evidence. 
While in most cases constipation is temporary and can be naturally improved with changes in diet (eating more fiber, fruits and veggies, and avoiding gas-causing foods,) increased liquid intake, and more exercising, other times constipation may be continuous and associated with severe pain, discomfort, and unusual symptoms.
If your constipation symptoms don’t improve after making suitable lifestyle changes, consult a healthcare provider to get accurate diagnosis.