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Constipation: Does rubbing your fists together make you go to the toilet?

A TikTokker has gone viral over her simple hack for helping with constipation. So does rubbing the inner edges of your fists together actually help, or is it a load of crap?

Here in Australia, around 20 per cent of the population suffer from constipation – and live with symptoms like abdominal pains and bloating, and the passing of small, hard stools.

None of the above is pleasant, so when acupuncturist Anita Tadavarthy went viral for her constipation quick fix, sufferers thought all their Christmases had come at once.

„All you’ve got to do is just do this for a couple of minutes a couple of times a day or while sitting on the toilet, and you’ll have a bowel movement,“ she explained while rubbing the inner edges of her fists together. She said the friction between the thumbs sends nerves to the large intestine, leading to a bowel movement.

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But like many viral TikTok hacks, this one isn’t worth the hype, according to the experts.

„No, this is not recommended regularly. I have actually never heard of it before,“ Rabia De Latour, a gastroenterologist told Health.

„There is no proven link to rubbing your fists together that would stimulate a [bowel movement],“ she added.

Dr De Latour did say, however, „There are certain abdominal massage manoeuvres and techniques and yoga poses that are thought to help.“

Diet and exercise can also bring the magic back to your restroom moments. „Two things that often go without credit are adequate hydration and movement; simple movement of the body can stimulate gut motility,” Dr De Latour explained.

Fibre is also a nonnegotiable, dietitian Melissa Meier insisted, adding that there are three types we should consider in our daily diets.

The first is insoluble fibre, „which absorbs water and adds bulk to your stool. Also known as ‘roughage’, this is the type of fibre you want to focus on to keep things moving along,“ she explained.

Then there’s soluble fibre. It, too, dissolves in water, but it forms as a gel in your bowel. „This type of fibre keeps you feeling full, supports a healthy heart by lowering cholesterol levels and even helps to manage blood sugars,“ Melissa explained. 

The third type of fibre to keep on your radar is resistant starch, which gets fermented in the large bowel and produces beneficial compounds that work to keep the lining of your gut healthy. 

She suggested having wholegrain bread as a kitchen staple, along with raw, unsalted almonds. Chia seeds, unpeeled fruits and veggies, and chickpeas are also part of her fibre arsenal. 

Diet and exercise aside, it’s essential to consult your doctor, because we all know that if you’re having trouble going to the toilet, there could be a more serious reason for it.

The same goes for bleeding or unexplained weight loss.

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