So, if you wake up in the morning and after a few hours, you don't have a bowel movement, do you think you're constipated? Do you tell people that you struggle with constipation? Do you subscribe to the IBS diagnosis that's virtually meaningless?
Don't beat yourself up and don't make any assumptions. You might not suffer from constipation. It is possible, as I've learned in my gut healing process, that what you're experiencing is a motility issue.
Gut motility may be the bigger issue, as opposed to constipation. Gut motility is the movement of the digestive system. Movement is the key word. When you're down to the bottom of the toothpaste tube, you squeeze the tube. If you're really frugal, you start at the bottom of the tube and push while rolling the tube up. (My dad put paperclips on the edge to hold the fold... I keep meaning to do that for the kids!) Our colon has to do this too. It's called peristalsis: the gentle waves that occur in the colon to move waste through and out. Sometimes, when you can't have a bowel movement, you aren't dealing with constipation, you're dealing with gut motility issues.
The reason this is important is because of how you deal with a situation based on the definition or diagnosis you attach to it. If you're constipated, you may reach for a laxative or one of these over the counter products geared toward constipation. Take it from someone who knows, if it's not constipation, then constipation remedies will not change anything. Drinking warm water, staying hydrated, consuming fiber, exercising, and probiotics won't help. If it is constipation, then those things should help.
Since motility has to do with movement of the GI tract and not the state of the waste in the colon, you have to look at it differently. In the SIBO world, we call these prokinetics. Prokinetics help increase the waves of the colon without disrupting the rhythm. The difference between a prokinetic and a laxative is that a laxative will force waste from your body, disrupting your body's natural rhythm. Abuse of laxatives can permanently damage your body's ability to expel waste. Prokinetics work with your body's natural rhythm so you can naturally move your bowels. Below are the affiliate links to the products I've used, researched, and believe in.
The first prokinetic I tried was Iberogast. Oh my goodness it worked like a charm. I had a week of normal, healthy and regular bowel movements. Unfortunately, I also had a reaction to Iberogast that included a sore and itchy throat. I know better than to mess with those symptoms so I pushed it aside and continued my search. It might be perfect for you, though! 20 drops with each meal is the aggressive start. You can then taper down until you only need a few drops in the evening. It's worth a try. It's truly a life-changing product.
Prunes. Yeah, the old lady fruit. They're actually really tasty. And usually 3-5 will do the trick. I think they work best on an empty stomach as opposed to taking them with breakfast or another meal. And I found some organic prunes on Amazon to keep on hand for those emergencies. This deal comes in a package of 3 bags so they stay sealed and fresh.