Constipation is a common problem particularly if you are leading a sedentary lifestyle. A few changes in your lifestyle and diet can make a big difference in relieving constipation. Foods rich in dietary fiber such as prunes are great home remedies for instant relief from constipation .
Some people go to the toilet two three times a day and others may visit two or three times a week and both can be considered normal stool habits. When the frequency of visiting the toilet reduces as compared to your normal frequency then it is considered constipation.
For example, if you have a habit of defecating once a day and you miss out your regular stools for 2 days then you are constipated.
Table of Contents
- Symptoms of Constipation
- How Prunes Treat Your Constipation
- Side Effects of Prunes
- When to Seek Medical Help
Some of the most common constipation symptoms are as under.
Inactivity is one of the major causes of constipation. Changes in diet, stress , pregnancy, eating disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, overuse of laxatives, certain medications, neurological and muscular problems are the other causes of constipation.
Old age also causes constipation as internal organs may not function optimally with the growing age.
- You will have reduced bowel movements
- You may have to strain to go
- You may feel vomiting sensation or you may actually begin throwing up
- Your stools become hard and you defecate small
- You may get belly pain and swollen belly
You might be tempted to take laxative to immediately relieve you from constipation. Avoid it as the habit of taking laxatives can become the cause of constipation over a period of time. Changing your diet and eating certain fruits and vegetables can quickly relieve you from constipation.
Prunes or dried plums are one such fruit which can treat constipation effectively and quickly.
Nutrients found in prunes not only just relieve you from constipation but also can treat colon cancer, control obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases according to a study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2013.
In fact more studies have been done on effectiveness of prune juice to treat constipation symptoms. It has been observed that prunes and prune Juice are even more effective then some of the prescribed constipation medication such as psyllium.
Between the dried prunes and the prune juice choice is clear. Dried prunes have more fiber than the prune juice as the juice is filtered. So obviously the dried prune will be more effective. However, the prune juice will also help. Sorbitol is incompletely digested in the gut. It gets fermented by bacteria and it attracts more water in the gut. This helps in softening the stool and relieving constipation.
You can use prune juice in the morning everyday to stimulate your bowel movement and relieve you from constipation. Prune juice is effective for children as well as for adults. The quality of fruit juice should we adjust according to the acceptability of each individual. Start with 2 ounces of prune juice and see if it helps the children. For adults start with a 4 ounce dose. You can double the dose if it suits.
Make sure that you are not dehydrated. More fibre intake when you are dehydrated will worsen the situation. Therefore it is very important that you drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day to stay away from constipation.
You can make prune and lemon stew by putting full prunes and lemons cut in half in a non reactive pot over heat. Add water to just cover the fruits. Bring it to boil. Then simmer gently for 30 - minutes. Add more water if prunes appear dry. The prunes will be softened and swelled. Remove it from the heat and let it cool.
Keep the prunes and lemons in a container and refrigerate. It can stay for 7 days in friz. Eat prunes when you feel constipation.
It generally produces results in 24 hours.You can eat a stewed prune daily for a week by then your constipation should go.
If you are too lazy to make prune juice or stew them. Then eat them dry as they are available in the name market.
Children may not like to eat dried Prunes but adults can. The soluble fiber and sorbitol in prunes will do its job of removing constipation in whichever format you eat it or drink it.
Night is perhaps the best time to deal with constipation. That is why psyllium is generally taken after dinner before going to the bed.
Eating late at night has been considered bad for digestion and health as our digestive system rests.
So Eat dried or stewed prunes just after dinner and 2 hours before going to bed. The insoluble fiber in prunes will slowly absorb water during the night and make your stools soft. Drinking prune juice in the night or morning both is good.
Even the best of the food items will have some side effects particularly if overdose is considered. Prunes high fiber content is a big advantage, but at the same time this high fiber content can cause unwanted troubles in your gastrointestinal region in the short term until your body gets accustomed to taking high fibre doses at a time.
One cup of prune juice contains more than 10% of your daily value of fiber intake. This kind of concentrated dose of fibre can immediately cause abdominal gas bloating and cramping. It is therefore very important that fibre content in your diet is increased in a gradual manner.
So if you have not been taking enough fiber and you have constipation, then fiber intake will help you. But, take it in a small quantity throughout the day instead of consuming high concentrated fibre rich food in one go.
If you experience chronic constipation and if all kinds of natural and other medication do not solve your constipation problems then you need professional help. If you have unexplained weight loss, blood in the stool or rectal or abdominal pain then you must contact the doctor because you may have other conditions that may require immediate attention.