Q. What can I take to fix constipation?
A. Sluggish bowels may be due to insufficient dietary fibre and liquid intake, stress, medications (including the over-use of laxatives and antacids and some high blood pressure drugs and antidepressants), and lack of exercise.
For those times when you need some gentle assistance, try these natural remedies.
* Ground psyllium and flaxseed: Both make the stools larger, softer, and easier to pass; they can be used daily. Be sure to have them with plenty of water to facilitate the passage of extra bulk through the digestive tract.
* Prunes and dandelion tea: You can also try prune juice or dried prunes for their laxative effects; they're gentle enough to use with other supplements. Or, drink dandelion root tea, which has mild laxative and stimulant properties.
* Magnesium: Can't go to the toilet unless you have coffee and/or a cigarette? This signifies a tense bowel, as both caffeine and nicotine relax smooth muscle. Magnesium tablets reduce muscle spasms, and are a healthier option.
* Take a teaspoon of digestive bitters in water before dinner. It contains rhubarb, thistle, and aloe vera which stimulate production of bile, the body’s own laxative.