Q. Do you have any suggestions for relieving constipation? I have tried many different things but nothing really seems to work for long.

A. For controlling constipation, the basics are fluid and fiber. If you can’t get enough fiber from your diet, you might consider a product such as Metamucil, Citrucel or Unifiber with lots of water.

Some people find that simmering two tablespoons of flax seeds in three quarts of water for a quarter of an hour makes about two quarts of solution. Two ounces a day in juice is reported to move everything along. Sugar-free gum containing mannitol or sorbitol can also be useful.

We are sending you our Guide to Constipation, with a list of high-fiber foods, and recipes for Power Pudding and Pumpkin-Bran Muffins to banish constipation.


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  1. Paul Colletti

    I saw an article in the Houston Chronicle this morning regarding constipation. What is the formula for applesauce, wheat bran and prune juice?

  2. LEW

    Remember there are only three things available that have proven effective for relieving not only constipation but the symptoms from constipation. Psyllium husk (fiber), Mira Lax, and Amitiza. These other solutions are not proven, and the yogurt companies are now being sued for false advertisements with probiotics and there actual efficacy, which isn’t sufficient over placebo.

  3. John Stevens

    I was advised by my doctor to take milk of magnesia nightly, which i have been doing for almost 10 years. This has worked well, but now another doctor says I must stop this since my creatinine has gradually gone up to 2.52. I have changed to colace with/ laxative but am concerned that this has too much magnesium also. Any suggestions?

  4. Linda Robertson

    Taking 500 mg magnesium daily has cured constipation or sluggish bowels for years.

  5. Annette K.

    #1 product for constipation is prune juice! It works & is healthy too! I take 11 swigs of it nightly before bedtime. I have joined the regulars ever since. Try it. Annette

  6. k g

    Use about 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed meal in your cold cereal or oatmeal every day.

  7. TAW

    I have found that taking bifidus and other probiotics works like a charm. It’s what’s in yogurt, but I take capsules which I think work faster and better. My grandson has had problems with constipation and taking Milk of Magnesia just gave him the runs. Probiotics works quickly, easliy and keeps the stomach cramps away.

  8. Stephanie

    Regarding constipation, the only way I have found to be consistantly regular is to make sure I get enough fiber in my diet every day (the general recommendation is 25 grams). I have found this is VERY difficult unless I have hi-fiber/bran cereal in the morning. Fiber One, for instance, has 14 grams fiber in a serving! To that I add a tablespoon or 2 of ground flaxseed, and a chopped fruit of whatever kind (banana, apple, prunes, etc) and that’s an easy way to start towards the recommended 25 grams. It tastes good, too, and I’m not skipping a meal. It’s also reasonably cheap (far cheaper than medicines, additives, supplements, and such) and starts me off every day “thinking healthy”. And I’ve been “regular” for years and years.

  9. M.H.

    Try taking a heaping tablespoon of psyllium husks everyday… I guarantee this will work. It’s cheap and can be purchased at your local health food store. It has no side effects.

  10. ZL

    I have had IBS-constipation for years until I found probiotics. Eating yogurt helped some, but the product that helps me most is Sustenex from Digestive Advantage.

  11. GF

    A compounding pharmacist in Chapel Hill, NC recommended Magnesium Glycinate, 300-400 m a day. Works wonders, and I’m a flax seed fan. This works…for me.

  12. RP

    For constipation, nothing like a tea called “Cali Girl”, available at “99 Cents” stores.

  13. JL

    Take magnesium
    also some of the new yogurts are successful.
    but just drinking extra water will help

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