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Does Gripe Water Help With Constipation? Important Facts
Gut Health

Does Gripe Water Help With Constipation? Important Facts

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 20, 2022
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6 min

Dreaded constipation can be challenging to deal with. Some people turn to herbal supplements like gripe water when treating those painful bowel movements, but does it work? We explain whether taking gripe water relieves constipation or makes symptoms worse.

does gripe water help with constipation
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Dealing with constipation is never easy. 

People who experience stomach problems might especially find it hard to prevent or treat constipation symptoms. From exercising regularly to eating more fiber, there are plenty of ways to soothe your bowels. 

One intriguing way includes drinking gripe water. This herbal supplement is often sold in pharmacies to relieve gastrointestinal issues in newborns. Due to its gut-restoring properties, people believe it might be key to stopping constipation. But is this really true? 

In this article, you’ll discover whether gripe water promotes regular bowel movements.

Does Gripe Water Help With Constipation?

Yes, gripe water may help soothe constipation symptoms. Since it contains sodium bicarbonate, ginger, and peppermint, your gut can flush out the digestive tract. However, all formulas are different, so it’s important to check the ingredient list first.

Gripe water might not be the first thing you think of when treating constipation. Even though it is designed to help babies, it can still provide relieving effects for adults. Some of the main ingredients comprise sodium bicarbonate, fennel seeds, peppermint, ginger, and chamomile.

Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is an antacid that may relieve indigestion and heartburn. Many all-natural remedies include this ingredient, as it can neutralize acids in your stomach and encourage bowel movements during the day.

Fennel seeds are another interesting ingredient in gripe water supplements. They contain vitamins, fiber, and iron – nutrients that naturally relieve stomach discomfort. These seeds might also relax intestinal muscles and stop any pain caused by serious constipation.

Finally, herbal substances like ginger, peppermint, and chamomile will relieve gas in both adult and infant constipation. Ginger is especially great for people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as it reduces chronic gut inflammation and speeds up sluggish digestion.

What Is Gripe Water?

Gripe water is an over-the-counter liquid supplement that may soothe constipation symptoms. This product claims to treat stomach pain and tummy troubles in infants. Adults can take gripe water if they struggle to eat solid foods while feeling constipated.

Many parents swear by gripe water for babies. Some of the ingredients, like lemon balm and ginger, can ease constipation and gas pains. This dietary supplement is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it’s still safe for both infants and older adults.

You should consult with your child’s pediatrician before purchasing gripe water. If you want to take it for your own health concerns, talk to a medical professional first. It’s important to find one that is alcohol-free and only contains natural ingredients for eliminating gas bubbles.

What is Gripe Water Used For? 

You can use gripe water for much-needed relief with constipation problems. The soothing ingredients aim to ease colic, teething, and hiccups in infants. Adults may also take baby gripe water to treat gastrointestinal discomfort like gut pain and severe bloating.

Parents usually know that their crying baby may be suffering from constipation. This is because their gut hasn’t fully developed yet, which may cause issues. However, using natural supplements like gripe water could ease a baby’s digestion while taming excessive crying.

There isn’t much clinical evidence to suggest that gripe water can help adults in the long term. If you do want to use this supplement, find a brand that makes sucrose-free and alcohol-free products. This will stop you from feeling nauseous while managing constipation symptoms.

How Does Gripe Water Work?

Gripe water works by settling the stomach and preventing gas buildup in infants. Ingredients like ginger, lemon, and fennel seeds have been proven to relieve constipation symptoms. Once consumed, the mixture works to reduce inflammation and bloating.

Not every parent can work out what excessive crying means for their baby. Sometimes, if the baby is rarely passing stool and seems to be in distress, constipation or gas bubbles are to blame. This is when gripe water comes to the rescue by curing their sensitive bellies.

One of the main ingredients, sodium bicarbonate, is supposed to balance the acids in your stomach. Naturally, your digestive system can properly break down solid foods without slowing down from too much stomach acid, uneasy bowel movements, or IBS symptoms.

Gripe Water Side Effects

Before using gripe water for babies or yourself, it’s important to understand the potential side effects. Some formulas may contain ingredients that don’t work well in your gut. If you experience more discomfort after taking gripe water, stop using the supplement immediately.

Common side effects of gripe water include hives, vomiting, shortness of breath, swelling in the mouth, sensitive eyes, and itchiness. Most of these could derive from an allergic reaction, so it’s crucial to seek medical help when noticing any of these unusual side effects.

Gripe water for babies should always contain natural ingredients. This is to ensure they don’t experience any negative reactions that put them through more distress. For anyone who is uncertain, speak to your doctor or your baby’s pediatrician to gain professional medical advice.

How to Use Gripe Water?

Always read the instructions and recommended dosage before taking gripe water. For this type of supplement, you’ll need to place the dropper in your mouth and swallow the liquid. You may need to take some more, depending on the dosage and your symptoms.

Each branded product might be different, so it’s worth looking at the label beforehand. You could take the supplement after eating solid food to support your digestive system. Just remember not to consume gripe water in large quantities, especially if you’ve never tried the supplement.

Of course, not everyone will enjoy the flavor. To make consumption easier, add the liquid supplement to a gut-replenishing smoothie. Some of the ingredients might be spinach, chia seeds, and bananas, as they all work to replenish your gut and soothe constipation.

If you experience other constipation symptoms, like headaches, back pain, and vomiting, speak to your doctor. There’s no point in taking gripe water when constipation is affecting the entire body.

How Long Does Gripe Water Take to Work?

Gripe water may take around 30 minutes to work properly. This depends on your dosage, when you took the supplement, and how bad the constipation is. Consuming it with solid food might take a bit longer, as certain foods tend to absorb liquid supplements.

However, some people may feel the positive effects straight away. It’s only a matter of time before your stomach absorbs the nutrients and focuses on clearing out the intestines. To notice fast results, wait at least 30 minutes after eating to let your gut settle and adjust.

It’s also important to note that this supplement might not work for you at all. The ingredients or specific formulation could bypass your digestive system completely. If this does happen to you, consult with your doctor about finding little remedies to try at home safely. 

Can You Give Gripe Water to a Newborn? 

Yes, but it’s advised not to give gripe water to babies younger than one month. Their digestive tracts are still developing, and they may not find relief from this supplement. Always consult with a medical professional before giving your baby a new branded supplement.

Giving this liquid supplement to infants is safe, but only if they’re at least two months old. During their development, you don’t know what foods or substances they’ll react negatively to. For example, some babies might be allergic to ginger root, peppermint, or rich lemon extracts.

To be extra safe, consider giving very small amounts of 100% pure prune, apple, or pear juice to your baby. A doctor can tell you how much is recommended and whether natural juices will help. This may stop the guessing game about whether the supplement truly works for babies.

A Word From MD

There are other helpful ways you can relieve constipation without using gripe water. For babies, simply move the baby’s legs in a bicycling motion or put light pressure on their stomach. This can help to move gas bubbles through their system without causing extra distress.

To treat your own constipation, drink lots of water and eat fiber-rich foods. There are even fiber supplements you can take as alternatives to gripe water. Natural remedies are usually the best for your long-term health, so try those before taking any over-the-counter medication.

Just be aware that you shouldn’t add gripe water to breast milk or cow’s milk. It may ruin the formula and cause more discomfort for the baby. Anti-gas drops may be another alternative for gripe water, as they have still been approved by doctors and other medical professionals.

Conclusion 

So, is gripe water safe for constipation? 

You can take gripe water to ease constipation symptoms, but it may not work for everyone. Choose a brand that only uses natural ingredients in the formula. If you want to give this supplement to your baby, don’t mix it with breast milk or new food in their current diet.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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