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Dietary Fiber for Constipation


Aren't prunes a natural laxative?

Often called "Nature's Remedy," prunes contain sorbitol, which has a natural, laxative effect in the body. Dried plums (yes, prunes!) are also high in disease-fighting antioxidants and have both insoluble and soluble fiber. One cup of pitted, uncooked prunes contains 12 grams of fiber. Three dried plums have 3.9 grams of fiber.

What if whole-grain fiber and fruits don't help constipation?

Then try foods that contain psyllium seed husk, bran, and methylcellulose. These natural products increase stool weight and have a laxative effect. Be sure to drink a lot of water when taking any of these products, as they can clog up the intestines and cause constipation. Fiber must have water in order to sweep the colon and move the stool out of your body.

When should you use a psyllium powder?

It's best to get fiber from food. But if you can't eat enough fruits and vegetables to make a difference, then opt for psyllium powder. Mix the powder in a glass of water one to three times daily. Be sure to drink ample water along with this psyllium powder drink. The drink may cause you to feel bloated until you get used to the fiber.

When does fiber not work for ending constipation?

A high-fiber diet ends chronic constipation for many people. But those who have slow transit or pelvic floor dysfunction may respond poorly to increased dietary fiber. If you have a sudden change in frequency of bowel movements and develop acute constipation, talk to your doctor. The constipation could be caused by an underlying medical condition.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on September 04, 2014
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