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Monthly constipation

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Monthly constipation

I get badly constipated just before my period starts. I eat plenty of fibre, but it makes no difference at this time. What can you suggest?
Name and address withheld, by request
There is a very safe natural remedy that is a terrific laxative - psyllium seed or psyllium husk. A relative of the common plantain, psyllium is a bulk-forming agent, which means it's an extra-potent fibre source. Psyllium forms a gel on contact with water and makes stools larger, smoother, and easier to pass. You can take it in capsules or in powder form. Which brings me to my next recommendation: Drink plenty of water. In fact, upping your fibre intake without increasing your intake of noncaffeinated fluids can actually worsen constipation because the fibre will draw liquid from the stool, making it harder and drier. Also, try taking 600 to 900 mg of magnesium daily, starting the week before your period. Magnesium has a mildly laxative effect, and it can also help with menstrual cramps.


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