Constipation is a common condition affecting people of all ages. It occurs when stool passes through the large intestine too slowly, becoming hard, dry and difficult to eliminate. Prune juice is a popular natural remedy used to help relieve constipation quickly and effectively.
What is Prune Juice?
Prune juice is a juice made from dried plums, also known as prunes. Prunes are made by dehydrating certain varieties of plums. The process of dehydration causes the plums to shrink while their nutrients become more concentrated.
Prunes contain high amounts of fiber, sorbitol and potassium – all of which have natural laxative effects. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol with laxative effects. It helps draw water into the intestines to soften stool. The high fiber content of prunes also helps add bulk to stool and stimulate bowel movements.
When prunes are juiced, these constipation-relieving nutrients become even easier to consume. Prune juice has a thicker, syrupy texture and sweet flavor.
How Does Prune Juice Relieve Constipation?
There are a few reasons why prune juice is effective for constipation relief:
- Sorbitol – Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol found naturally in prunes. It has a laxative effect by drawing water into the large intestine to soften and loosen stool.
- Fiber – Prunes are high in insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to stool and helps food and waste move through the intestines more quickly.
- Potassium – Prunes are a good source of potassium, which helps regulate fluid balance in the body. Proper hydration and fluid balance helps keep stool soft.
- Stool softening – The fluid in prune juice helps soften hard stool while the fiber adds bulk, which together promote bowel movements.
This combination of effects makes prune juice very effective at relieving constipation gently and naturally.
How Much Prune Juice Should You Drink for Constipation?
There is no standard recommended dosage of prune juice for constipation. The amount needed can vary based on factors like age, the severity of your constipation, and how your body responds to prune juice.
As a general guideline:
- For mild constipation: try 4-8 ounces (1/2 to 1 cup) per day
- For severe constipation: try 6-12 ounces (3/4 to 1 1/2 cups) per day
Start with a smaller amount like 4-6 oz (1/2 to 3/4 cup) to see how your body responds. You can gradually increase the dosage if needed. It’s best to limit your intake to no more than 12 oz (1 1⁄2 cups) per day.
Prune juice can be consumed either warm or cold. Some find warm prune juice more effective for constipation relief.
How Long Does Prune Juice Take to Relieve Constipation?
Prune juice typically produces a bowel movement within 6-12 hours of consumption. However, the timing can vary depending on factors like:
- Your digestive system
- Severity of your constipation
- How much prune juice you drank
- Whether you drank it warm or cold
Some people find that prune juice produces a bowel movement in as little as 1-2 hours. For others it may take up to 24 hours to have an effect.
Here is a general timeline of what to expect after drinking prune juice:
|First signs of gurgling, gas, bloating, stomach rumbling as prune juice moves through digestive tract
|Urge to have a bowel movement as stool softens
|Within 12 hours
|Prune juice produces a bowel movement, providing constipation relief
|If no bowel movement after 24 hours, increase dose of prune juice
Drink a glass of warm or cold prune juice when you wake up and plan to stay near a restroom for the next 6-12 hours. The urge to have a bowel movement may come on relatively quickly after consuming prune juice.
Tips for Maximizing Relief from Prune Juice
Here are some tips to get the most constipation relief from prune juice:
- Drink on an empty stomach – This allows it to work more quickly through your system.
- Drink plenty of fluids – Stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day.
- Exercise – Even light activity can help get things moving along.
- Give it time – It can take 6-12+ hours to produce a bowel movement.
- Increase fiber intake – Eat more fiber-rich foods in addition to drinking prune juice.
Be patient and allow some time for the prune juice to work. Combining it with exercise, fluid intake, and a high fiber diet can help improve results.
Prune Juice Side Effects
Prune juice is generally safe when consumed in moderation. However, some possible side effects can occur:
- Diarrhea – Drinking large amounts may cause loose stools or diarrhea.
- Gas and bloating – Some people experience intestinal gas, cramps or bloating.
- Electrolyte imbalance – Excessive use can potentially cause low potassium or sodium levels.
- Dangerous weight loss – Heavy use can lead to low calorie intake and extreme weight loss.
To avoid side effects, stick to moderate portions of 4-12 oz per day based on your needs. Seek medical advice if you experience diarrhea for more than 2 days or other concerning side effects from prune juice.
Is Prune Juice Only a Short-Term Solution?
Prune juice can be used as both a short-term solution for occasional constipation, or as part of your long-term strategy for managing chronic constipation. However, it shouldn’t be the only solution.
For short-term relief, prune juice is a gentle and effective remedy that can be used for a few days whenever you’re having trouble going to the bathroom. It gets your bowels moving again to provide that needed relief.
But for long-term management of chronic constipation, prune juice should be used as more of a supplemental aid and not the only strategy. Making dietary changes like eating more fiber, staying hydrated, exercising, and managing stress are important for overall colon health.
Think of prune juice as one tool in your toolkit for keeping constipation at bay. Work with your doctor to find a combination of dietary, lifestyle and natural remedies that work for your body.
Prune juice is an effective natural remedy for both short-term and chronic constipation relief. It generally produces a bowel movement within 6-12 hours due to its fiber, sorbitol and fluid content. Start with 4-8 oz on an empty stomach and increase the amount if needed. Combine prune juice with other lifestyle and dietary strategies for overall colon health.