Fruits To Avoid During Constipation

Constipation, an uncomfortable and often distressing condition, affects millions of people worldwide. It can lead to bloating, abdominal pain, and general discomfort, severely impacting the quality of life. The role of diet in managing constipation is crucial, with fruits playing a significant part due to their high fiber content. However, not all fruits are beneficial in this regard. Some can actually worsen constipation due to their specific properties. This article aims to identify which fruits can exacerbate constipation and delve into the reasons why.

Understanding Constipation

To understand why certain fruits can worsen constipation, it’s important to first understand the condition itself.

A. Definition and Symptoms Constipation is generally defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. Symptoms include straining during bowel movements, hard or lumpy stools, and the sensation of incomplete evacuation. Chronic constipation can lead to complications such as hemorrhoids or fecal impaction.

B. Causes While there are many causes of constipation, diet plays a significant role. A diet low in fiber, high in processed foods, and inadequate fluid intake are common contributors. Other factors include a lack of physical activity, certain medications, and underlying medical conditions.

C. Role of Diet The role of diet, particularly fruit intake, is central to managing constipation. While many fruits are high in fiber and water, which aid digestion, some contain compounds that can exacerbate the condition. Understanding these differences is key to managing constipation effectively.

Fruits That Can Worsen Constipation

While fruits are generally considered healthy, some can have the opposite effect on digestion due to their unique properties.

A. Bananas Bananas are often recommended for digestive issues, but not all bananas are created equal. Unripe bananas contain a high amount of resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that is difficult for the body to digest. This resistant starch can worsen constipation by slowing down the digestive process. Ripe bananas, on the other hand, are rich in soluble fiber and can aid digestion. Thus, individuals struggling with constipation should avoid consuming unripe bananas.

B. Persimmons Persimmons, especially the astringent variety, contain tannins that can slow intestinal transit. Tannins are natural compounds that have a drying effect on the digestive tract, which can exacerbate constipation. This effect is particularly notable in astringent persimmons, which are not only high in tannins but also have a low water content, making them difficult to digest.

C. Guava Guava is a tropical fruit known for its high fiber content, particularly in its seeds. For individuals who already have constipation, the high amount of insoluble fiber in guava seeds can be hard to digest and may worsen symptoms. The seeds are also difficult to chew and break down, which can cause discomfort for some people.

D. Apples and Pears Apples and pears, while rich in dietary fiber, are also high in sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that can have a laxative effect. However, in some people, especially those with sensitive stomachs or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), sorbitol can cause bloating and worsen constipation due to its slow absorption rate. Excess sorbitol can ferment in the gut, leading to gas and discomfort.

E. Pomegranates Pomegranates are prized for their antioxidant properties, but the seeds (arils) are known to have astringent qualities. This astringency can slow down digestion and worsen constipation, especially if consumed in large quantities.

F. Dried Fruits Dried fruits like prunes, figs, and apricots are often recommended for constipation relief due to their high fiber content. However, they can cause bloating and worsen constipation if not consumed with adequate water. Dried fruits are also concentrated sources of fructose and sorbitol, which can exacerbate symptoms in individuals sensitive to these sugars.

The Science Behind It

Understanding the science behind why these fruits can worsen constipation can help individuals make more informed dietary choices.

A. Fiber and Water Fiber is generally classified into soluble and insoluble types. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance that aids digestion, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and promotes regular bowel movements. For fiber to be effective in relieving constipation, it needs to be consumed with plenty of water. Without adequate hydration, high-fiber foods can actually lead to harder stools and worsen constipation.

B. Fructose and Sorbitol Fructose is a natural sugar found in many fruits, while sorbitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener. Both can cause digestive issues in people who have difficulty absorbing them, leading to bloating and constipation. Sorbitol is found naturally in many fruits, including apples, pears, and prunes. Its slow absorption rate can cause fermentation in the gut, leading to gas and bloating.

C. Tannins and Astringents Tannins are a type of polyphenol found in many fruits, particularly persimmons and pomegranates. They have an astringent quality that can dry out the digestive tract and slow down the movement of stool. This effect is particularly noticeable in individuals who are sensitive to tannins.

Tips to Mitigate Constipation

To manage constipation effectively, it is important to consider how and when to consume fruits.

A. Hydration One of the most important factors in managing constipation is hydration. Drinking enough water helps the fiber in fruits move smoothly through the digestive system. Without adequate water intake, even high-fiber fruits can cause constipation.

B. Moderation Moderation is key when consuming fruits that have high fiber content or are high in fructose and sorbitol. It’s important to balance fruit intake with other foods that aid digestion, such as vegetables and whole grains.

C. Alternatives For those who find certain fruits worsen their constipation, it may be helpful to switch to fruits with a higher water content and lower levels of fructose, sorbitol, and tannins. Watermelon and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits can be good alternatives, as they have high water content and are generally easier to digest.


While fruits are an essential part of a healthy diet, some can worsen constipation due to their specific properties. Unripe bananas, persimmons, guava, apples, pears, pomegranates, and dried fruits are known to cause or worsen constipation in certain individuals. Understanding the science behind these effects and knowing which fruits to avoid or consume in moderation can help manage constipation effectively. Maintaining adequate hydration, practicing moderation, and choosing suitable alternatives are crucial for ensuring digestive health and preventing constipation.

Fruits To Avoid During Constipation

Scroll to Top