Ask an expert

10 Dec 2004

Addicted to laxatives
Hi Diet Doc

I take 'natural' laxatives every day to keep me regular and I am afraid that if I don't take it I won't be regular any more. I now feel that I've messed up my digestive system where I not able to be regular without these laxatives. Please advise how and what I should do - I'd like to stop taking laxatives but I also want to continue to be regular - please advise as I am rather desperate.

Answer 413 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Tx
This is one of the reasons why I am so opposed to people taking laxatives of any type, including the supposedly natural or herbal ones. They can all lead to loss of natural bowel functions and even cause deficiencies. To get back to normal try increasing your dietary fibre content. The following foods are rich in dietary fibre: fruit, esp dried fruit, vegetables, unsifted and high-bran cereals, wholewheat bread, brown rice, all legumes (dry beans, peas, lentils, and soya), nuts and seeds. A good way to ensure regularity is to soak dried fruit (such as prunes and apricots) in boiling water and allow to soak overnight, boil the fruit in the soaking water, add 1-2 T of brown sugar or honey (sugar has a mild laxative effect) and then eat 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the boiled fruit plus the liquid with your All-bran cereal at breakfast. Also take 1 T of olive oil a day - e.g. use as a salad dressing. Exercise also helps to regulate bowel movements so you could start going for brisk walks every day. You should also drink 3-4 cups of water (not more!) a day to assist the fibre in foods to swell up and promote peristalsis.
Best regards
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