Debunking TikTok Trends: The Unexpected Body Trick to Fix Constipation

written by Skye Sherman - Nov 1, 2021
medically reviewed by Dr. Tolulope Olabintan, MD - Dec 22, 2021

Photo Credit: by Bayside Natural Health Centre,
Photo Credit: by Bayside Natural Health Centre,

If you keep up with the current trends on TikTok, you’ve likely learned a lot of new hacks for everything from cooking to home DIY projects to pooping. Yes, pooping. A recent TikTok went viral with an unexpected body trick to fix constipation.

The TikTok was posted by an acupuncturist named Anita Tadavarthy who has nearly 1 million followers. In the video, she claims that rubbing your fists together can help to relieve constipation and get your digestive system moving.

As she rubs her fists together and creates friction between her thumbs, she says, “All you’ve got to do is just do this a couple of minutes a couple times a day or while sitting on the toilet, and you’ll have a bowel movement.”

Is this true? Can you really relieve constipation with this simple body trick? Let’s find out.

Can you cure constipation by rubbing your fists together?

Health magazine turned to the experts, gastroenterologists, to find out if this pooping trick really works. “Can something so simple and so seemingly unconnected to the digestive system actually get you to poop? And what’s the science behind it, if any?”

The article quickly debunks this strange TikTok trend. “Unfortunately, this trick falls into the ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ category,” the article says. The doctor they interviewed for the story had never heard of this trick before and said there’s no explanation for why it would work, so it probably doesn’t.

The article reports: “In her video, Tadavarthy says that rubbing your fists together ‘innervates’ the large intestine, which unclogs your pipes, so to speak. To innervate means to supply something with nerves, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, and it’s unclear how fist rubbing would do this.”

However, the article also explains that there is some truth to the fact that moving around can help alleviate constipation, according to the doctor they interviewed. Still, these moves would need to connect back to the digestive system in some way, such as certain yoga poses or abdominal massages.

Another article, this time in Yahoo, says that “It is possible but unlikely that rubbing your hands together in this way may produce a prolonged and reliable relief in patients with constipation. Heather Finley, a registered dietitian, adds, ‘This technique might help relieve constipation because it could be stimulating acupressure points that stimulate the colon, but there is no research to back this up.’”

To put it simply, it doesn’t seem that rubbing your fists together can truly stimulate a bowel movement. While some TikTok tips may change your life for the better, this one probably isn’t one of them.

Easy ways to cure constipation

So, are there any equally easy ways to cure constipation? Maybe rubbing your fists together won’t work, but are there any other body tricks you can try? The answer might be simpler than you think.

According to Health, “While physical therapy might be beneficial for those who suffer from chronic constipation, having trouble going number two every now and then doesn’t necessitate that kind of treatment. Drinking more water, staying active, and trying an occasional over-the-counter medication might be more beneficial if you don’t suffer from constipation regularly enough to warrant more intense treatment options.”

Drinking enough water and moving your body a lot every day are two of the major factors that help to relieve constipation. If you’re struggling with constipation on a consistent basis, first make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Even going for a vigorous walk can be helpful to your overall wellness.

Still can’t poop even when you’re eating right, drinking enough, and getting adequate exercise? Some people turn to stool softeners and laxatives, which come in pill or liquid form, and are available over-the-counter. These OTC drugs make stool easier to pass. You can also try adding more fiber to your diet or taking fiber supplements to help you stay regular. Healthy fats and limited dairy intake can also help.

Keep in mind that while stool softeners and laxatives might help on a short-term basis, you shouldn’t use them for long periods of time. Any use of laxatives longer than one week should be recommended or cleared by your doctor. Your doctor might also recommend a prescription if you suffer from chronic constipation.

How to know if you’re constipated

It might seem easy to tell whether or not you’re constipated, but it’s not so simple for everyone isn’t one-size-fits-all. Some people poop three times a day, while others poop three times a week.

According to Mayo Clinic, “signs and symptoms of chronic constipation include:

* “Passing fewer than three stools a week

* Having lumpy or hard stools

* Straining to have bowel movements

* Feeling as though there’s a blockage in your rectum that prevents bowel movements

* Feeling as though you can’t completely empty the stool from your rectum

* Needing help to empty your rectum, such as using your hands to press on your abdomen and using a finger to remove stool from your rectum

Constipation may be considered chronic if you’ve experienced two or more of these symptoms for the last three months.”

If this sounds like you, it might be time to seek advice from a doctor. The important thing is to monitor your bowel movements and seek help from a medical professional if something seems off. If you feel uncomfortable, it’s probably worth talking to a doctor about your options based on the symptoms you are experiencing.

It’s a little more complicated than simply rubbing your fists together, but TikTok isn’t the most reliable source of medical information, so turn to a trusted medical professional who can actually help with proven strategies.



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While the above article is based on thorough research, we do not claim to offer a substitute for medical advice from a qualified healthcare provider. The article was written for information and educational purposes only. We aim to provide helpful information to our readers, but cannot provide a treatment, diagnosis, or consultation of any sort, and we are in no way indicating that any particular drug is safe or appropriate for you and your individual needs. To receive professional medical attention, you must see a doctor.