Q. I absolutely abhor enemas but they are about the only thing that works for my chronic constipation. I am otherwise healthy and in great shape but sometimes I can wait over two weeks to have a bowel movement.
Sometimes I get so blocked up that I throw up. The pain is unbearable and I end up curled around a hot-water bag for hours in total agony. Nothing the pharmacist has recommended does the job and my doctor does not seem very concerned.
I do not want to develop a laxative habit but I need relief. I am sick and tired of these enemas. Please help!
A. We are sad to learn that you have been suffering such discomfort for so long. There is no one treatment that works perfectly for everyone. Over the years we have heard of many solutions so you will need to be patient a bit longer until you find the ones that work best for you. Here are just a few stories that might be of interest:
“Putting applesauce, prune juice and wheat bran together seemed awfully unappetizing. I was desperate, so I tried it. Day 1 was a success, but I had no luck on day 2 and lost hope. I tried again on day 3 and got success. I thought, it looks bad, doesn’t taste the best but it helps. So I thought I’d just take it daily. After a week, it was working like clockwork. Now Power Pudding is a daily item on my menu and I’ve started to like it!”
This high-fiber mixture can be effective but it must be taken with plenty of fluid and should be used daily. It doesn’t work instantly. For more details about the formula and many other natural approaches, we are sending you our Guides to Constipation and Digestive Disorders.
“I had this problem too, and then I tried to go without any wheat for a few days. The problem went away! Now, I usually go through the day without any gluten, but now and then I go out to a restaurant and order a sandwich for a treat and the problem comes right back. This has happened so many times, and so predictably, that I am completely sure that the gluten is at the root of the problem.” –Lisa
“There is increasing buzz about wheat being intrinsically constipating, even whole wheat products. I must say that I tend to scoff at the huge number of people adopting a gluten-free diet these days. In spite of my prejudice, I am doing the same thiong because I have found that wheat is constipating for me. In my case, I would think I would not have to be nearly as scrupulous as a person with celiac disease. In any event, it might not be a bad idea to consider substituting something else for the wheat bran in the power pudding recipe.” –DW
“I find magnesium solves constipation problems. I take a liquid version, and I take it before bed as it possibly also helps with sleep. The liquid magnesium doesn’t taste good, but I drink it straight, followed by some cold pure water.” –Amy
“had a similar problem with chronic constipation and “taking” all that stuff (magnesium etc) wasn’t appealing to me. I did some research on the RDA for daily fiber intake and adjusted my diet accordingly. We supposedly need 30-35 g of fiber a day. There’s no way most of us come close to that without a huge effort. So, lots of beans, oat bran cereal, unprocessed fruits, and even Fiber One cereal (or bars).”
“Eating a super fiber rich diet “cured” my constipation, with the added benefit of keeping the weight off. However, being paranoid about pesticides in fruit, I eat as much organic fruit as I can find, and that does get expensive.” –Kathy
“As a person with MS for decades, I eat a ‘breakfast’ of one-fourth cup of ground flax seeds, 1/2 to 1 cup of Bulgarian yogurt (I like the tart taste) and a blender slushie of 2 frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries and one peeled orange. I enjoy the taste of the sweet fruit mixed with the tart yogurt; the ground flaxseed is tasteless mixed with the other two. And it does work on my sluggish ‘plumbing’.” –MTI
These are just a handful of the remedies you will find in our helpful guides. We hope that a combination of these approaches helps ease your distress. Please let us know how you make out.