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.