Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint. Unfortunately, many of the most common remedies only give temporary relief so they are repeated time and again. This can worsen the real reason for the constipation and cause more problems.

In order for food to move through your intestines and out, you need two things - an unblocked tube (intestine) for waste to move through and muscular contractions called peristalsis. Peristalsis is a wave-like motion that starts at one end and continues in a “wave” to the other end of your “tube” or intestine.

If your problem is lack of peristalsis, or weak muscular contractions, fiber alone will not create peristalsis. Forcing your muscles into an extremely strong contraction by using a stimulant such as a laxative will not work well for long-term relief. In fact, this extreme reaction can cause your body to weaken as it becomes dependent on the stimulant.

Another reason for constipation may be blockage - old waste that never left your small intestine. This old buildup must be softened and removed in order for your system to function efficiently on its own. Since certain types of fiber can soften this, some believe fiber is all that is needed to alleviate constipation. However, although fiber may soften blockage, it may not stimulate peristalsis. If this is the case, the fiber may swell in your body and contribute to your constipatation.

You can address both of these problems with a colon cleanse. A cleanse can allow you to strengthen your peristalsis and slowly break down and remove the old buildup at the same time. Start by breaking down the old waste with a strong fiber such as psyllium but be sure to change your eating habits to stimulate peristalsis to move the waste out. If your peristalsis needs extra help, use cascara sagrada or triphala as these herbs work to naturally stimulate the intestines to work.

Eat healthy foods during your colon cleanse such as fresh fruits, vegetables, water and whole, minimally processed grains. These will naturally stimulate your digestive tract. As with any muscle, the more you use your intestinal muscles, the stronger they get.

A healthy diet over a long period of time is necessary. These whole and natural foods are easier for your body to digest than white flour or processed foods, which turn to a glue-like substance in your digestive tract, creating constipation or worsening an existing problem.

The early stages of your colon cleanse is the time to use other natural constipation remedies such as fresh fruit juices that have their own fiber, herbal teas, and certain fruits such as cherries or prunes. If you use a laxative, try to slowly wean off of it by cutting the amount you take each day and replacing it with herbs such a cascara sagrada or triphala.

By combining fiber and herbs that gently stimulate your intestines to work as in a colon cleanse, you can help your body to break down the waste and move it through. As you eat properly and take your colon cleanse supplements, the fiber and herbs travel through your intestines. Some of the fiber will stay behind and bind with the old buildup along the intestinal walls, softening it. This softened buildup will eventually dislodge and it too will leave the body.

As the buildup becomes less, and you continue eating well, your large and small intestines will be freer to move, thus creating stronger peristalsis. Again, the healthy diet eaten during a colon cleanse will add nutrition and enhance the function of your digestive tract leading to a healthier and stronger system.

As with any exercise it takes time. Your body can handle junk and processed foods sometimes, but overall you need fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, their juices, plenty of water, and whole, minimally processed grains. This is the only long-term, holistic solution to a healthy digestive tract.

Use a colon cleanse to start clearing your digestive tract of old buildup. Incorporate a healthy diet and possibly bodywork to ensure success. Learn more about the right way to cleanse at

Author's Bio: 

Cindy Papp was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1992. She tried the alternative health approach of cleansing, which lead to total recovery in 1998. She is now a Certified Nutritional Counselor, a Certified Colon Therapist, trained in massage therapy, and has been working in the health field for 15 years.

Cindy has put much of her expertise on cleansing on her website where you can learn more about the right way to cleanse, and how to choose the best cleanse for you.