dried prunes, dried plums

Of all the common health complaints that trouble people, constipation may be one of the most common. Infrequent or difficult defecation can be a symptom of numerous underlying causes: low fiber intake, low thyroid function, a polyp or tumor partially blocking the colon or a range of nervous or muscular disorders. That’s why if constipation crops up suddenly, it is worth discussing with the health care provider to see whether it signals a more serious condition.

Most of the time, though, a person with constipation will be advised to get more fluid and fiber. That can help, but people struggling with chronic constipation may feel frustrated because they have been down that road before.

Another well-trodden path that may be worth an excursion is dried plums (aka prunes) and prune juice. This is a time-honored home remedy for constipation. Just because it is old as the hills doesn’t mean it is useless, though. This reader rediscovered its utility:

Q. You occasionally get questions about constipation. I’ve seen no reference to the cure I have been using for several years.

I used to need Dulcolax two or three times a month. Then, in the cobwebs of my brain, I remembered hearing about prunes.

I started eating two prunes a day along with a small glass of prune juice. Problem solved!

I go once or twice a day now with absolutely no straining. I’m sure your readers would be eternally grateful to hear about this inexpensive and healthy remedy.

Prunes for Constipation

A. Prunes have long held a reputation for overcoming constipation. A review of randomized controlled trials shows that prunes may be even better than psyllium (Metamucil, Konsyl, etc.) for helping to maintain regularity (Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Oct. 2014).

Other readers have also reported success with prunes. Prunes have an advantage over stimulant laxatives because they don’t appear to create dependence.

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  1. maxine hammond
    landolakes fl

    have read your advice and your comments and I appreciate your input as it had helped me with some things. I love your advice and have told several of my friends to tune in to your web site. thanks again for your advice.

  2. Wendy

    I work in a hospital and warming the prune juice for the constipated patient works well.

  3. Susan
    St. Louis

    I’d heard about prunes from my mom as a kid. She was way ahead of her time re serving lots of fruits and vegetables for good health. Mom referred to fiber as ‘roughage’. Fast forward – many, if not most women, experience constipation during the first trimester of pregnancy. Not wanting to take laxatives at that time, I started eating a few prunes daily, and it solved the problem. Fast forward – now that I’m older, I eat prunes for occasional constipation. I highly recommend them over commercial laxatives.

  4. Kathleen
    Seattle, WA

    I didn’t have problems with constipation until I started taking Hydrochlorothiazide. Now, I still take that and Metformin and it’s worse. I think those medications that pull the water our of our systems cause this ongoing problem.

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