Greater Boston Urology Blog

Bowel Function 101: DIY Belly Massage for Constipation

Constipation is NO fun. (We don't have to tell you that, right?)

The good news is there are some techniques you can try to help move things along. First, make sure you check out our other post on proper pooping technique (yes, that's a real thing!). If you've got that down, but you're still having some issues, try this gentle and easy DIY belly massage for constipation.

As with all items on our blog, the following is supposed to be educational in nature, not medical advice. Always reach out to your doctor about your specific health care needs.

[Editor's note: This article was reviewed and updated on 9/6/22]

DIY Massage for Constipation: Think I Love U.

With this gentle abdominal massage, you'll do three steps: the first traces an "I" on your belly. The second traces an "L." And the third traces a "U." Thus, it's known as the I-L-U or "I Love U" belly massage. Our insides could use some extra lovin'!

See the video above for a demonstration, but here are the steps:

  • Lie down on your back.
  • Starting on the left side of your belly, apply gentle pressure as you move your hand down in a straight line (like the letter "I"), starting from just beneath the rib cage and moving down to the top of your left hip bone. Repeat ten times.
  • What this does: it begins to trigger the intrinsic little contractions known as peristalsis, which will get the poop moving in the right direction.
  • Now, apply gentle pressure and run your hand along the straight line across the top of your belly (just beneath the rib cage) from right to left. Continue applying pressure and run your hand along the "I" line on the left as you were doing above. Again, repeat ten times. (See the video above. This is the "L.")
  • Now, it's time to complete the inverted "U." Start at your hip bone on your right side and gently apply pressure as you move UP. Now go across. Then, complete the inverted U by going down the "I." Repeat 10 times.

 Do this abdominal massage in the morning after breakfast to get things moving. If you do, there's a good chance you'll be pooping happily (and regularly) in no time.



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