And because of that, a lot of us are often on the hunt for answers about how to poop better and avoid constipation. So, imagine my intrigue when I came across the "internal shower" drink that absolutely took over my FYP on TikTok for about two weeks.
The drink has only three ingredients: water, two tablespoons of chia seeds, and a squeeze of lemon juice. You supposedly mix everything together, let it sit for 5–10 minutes (so the chia seeds can absorb the water), and then drink away. The idea is that the drink "cleans you out inside," aka an "internal shower."
People who've tried the internal shower concoction claim that it does actually ~help things along~ within hours after drinking it, but I wasn't entirely convinced. So, I reached out to Dr. Kumkum Patel MD, MPH, a board-certified gastroenterologist and IBS specialist based in Orange County, California.
Dr. Patel explained that the drink's three ingredients — water, chia seeds, and lemon — actually contribute to digestion and gut health in different ways. "Separately, we recommend each of these things to consume to keep your gut healthy anyway."
"Water is used to help stool become more congealed, and your body needs water in order for it to make stool more formed, and softer so it can pass easily."
"Your body needs fiber in order to help with motility, which means the movement of the intestines itself. And chia actually has a ton of fiber in it — about 10g in one tablespoon — so it’s a great source of fiber. We talk about getting soluble fiber and insoluble fiber all the time to our patients. Chia seeds are actually a great source of soluble fiber."
"Lemons are also good in the sense that they provide ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C. Vitamin C helps with iron absorption, and it’s something you need for your immune system. So, three great things that work well for your gut in itself."
Dr. Patel also said that mixing the ingredients together and allowing the chia seeds to absorb the water can have additional benefits. "You’re already forming a gel-like substance, so it’s already doing the job that soluble fiber is supposed to do. It’s supposed to go into the body and form that gel-like substance, which is actually used to promote digestion."
When asked directly if the internal shower drink can help bowel movements and help relieve constipation, Dr. Patel responded, "Absolutely."
However, she also made sure to point out that it's not a cure-all. "It can be tried on its own, but it should not be the only thing, and people should not assume that it's a magic pill that will solve all gut health issues. It’ll certainly help to mitigate symptoms and help things along, but it’s no magic pill."
With all that in mind — and with Dr. Patel's blessing — I decided to try the internal shower for myself! After spending an entire weekend eating greasy takeout and zero veggies (don't judge me!!!), it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put it to the test. I filled a glass with water, dropped in the chia seeds, and squeezed out the lemon juice.
Then, I mixed everything together...
...and waited patiently. Here's what it looked like after sitting for 10 minutes.
Time for the moment of truth. One of the main complaints about the drink on TikTok was its "chunky" texture from the bloated chia seeds, but I honestly didn't mind it! I've long been a fan of chia seeds and chia seed pudding, so I slurped that bad boy down without any issue. It tasted just like lemon water with a lil' something extra.
I actually really liked this drink! Was it as refreshing as a margarita? No. But after I finished it, I felt SO satisfied. IDK how to even describe it. My gut just seemed...happy with me? Again, IDK. After that, I hunkered down to see if the internal shower would deliver on its (poop) promise.
After waiting for about seven hours, I was sad to report that I did not, in fact, find myself running to the toilet.
But I wasn't about to be deterred! The very next day, I tried the drink again (same ingredients, same amount, same chia seed soaking time), and after about three hours...yep, it happened.
Would I tango with the internal shower again? Sure! But just like Dr. Patel mentioned, it's not some magic drink that's going to completely "clean you out" the way some are implying. If anything, it's a quick way to get a little extra fiber when you need it. And if chia seeds aren't your thing, don't worry! As long as you eat a balanced diet with foods rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, Dr. Patel says that's the "most important thing" for healthy digestion.
Have you tried this drink? Did it work for you? Tell us in the comments! And follow Dr. Patel on Instagram for more content around digestion and gut health.
Share This Article
Get all the best Tasty recipes in your inbox! Sign up for the Tasty newsletter today!