Most of us have experienced the discomfort and, depending on the severity, intense pain of constipation. Whether it's a once in lifetime experience or an issue you wrestle with on a daily basis, it can tax your energy and reduce the quality of your life, vitality and health. It can be painful, causing bloating and pressure in the lower abdomen, and can be time consuming, causing you to spend far more time in the bathroom then you want or feel comfortable with.
While the causes of constipation can be as different as the person who suffers from it, immediate relief may be found by taking a natural route to keep things moving.
First, increasing fiber in the diet, as simple as it sounds, will help. Even a small handful of prunes or a small glass of prune juice can begin the process of loosening things up and getting them back on track.
Second, increasing liquid intake in the form of water will probably help. More people are dehydrated than actually realize it and even low levels of dehydration can contribute to constipation. Beware of hydrating yourself with sugary drinks or those with sugar substitutes as these may compound the problem.
After eating prunes or drinking pune juice, leave yourself some time for the fruit to act on your digestive tract. This may take up to an hour.
Simply beginning to slowly add more fiber in the form of daily intake of fruits and vegetables will help as well. Roughage, such as is found in green leafy vegetables, lettuce, kale, and broccoli rabe as well as fibrous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, act as a broom might, sweeping out the insides of your intestines. Fruit such as berries, melon, apricots, prunes, raisins and avocados will likewise cause the peristalsis (contractions) of your intestines to engage and make a clean sweep of your digestive tract.
Be careful of bananas, which can actually have the opposite effect--for example, binding you if you have diarrhea. Apples, apple juice, pears and pear juice are also excellent natural laxatives and, for those who can't tolerate the strong flavor of prunes, may be a sweeter and subtler alternative.