Healthy bowel movements vary among individuals. Your "normal" might be once a day, while others go only every other day. If your bowel movements are difficult or uncomfortable due to hard, dry stool, you can help soften them. Dietary changes and herbal fiber supplements can help ease constipation.
Drink plenty of water with your meals and between meals. Water helps soften your stool. If you do not drink enough fluids, your body will pull water from the colon, hardening the stools. Also avoid caffeinated beverages, which cause your body to lose water.
Snack on a handful of dried prunes. A review in the ''Natural Medicine Journal'' notes that this dried fruit acts as a mild laxative. They are also high in soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps to soften stool.
Take a psyllium husk supplement. This insoluble fiber is a bulk-forming laxative that helps enlarge stools making them easier to pass. Psyllium husk absorbs water in your intestines, swelling and forming a gel-like mass that helps soften and move waste through your digestive tract.
Try a natural osmotic laxative. These laxatives draw water into your intestines to soften stools and ease bowel movements. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends osmotic laxatives such as magnesium citrate and milk of magnesia.