Warning: This topic is indelicate, covering digestion and elimination.
Background: 10 weeks ago, I had surgery for a ruptured Achilles tendon. For ~5 days after, I took oxycodone for post-op pain. Opioids are known to retard peristalsis. Predictably, food that I had eaten stopped moving, giving new meaning to the term “supply chain problems.” But eventually, the problem got fixed.
Current issue: In the ensuing two months, well after I stopped the oxycodone, the problem recurred. Trust me, this is not normal for me. Moreover, the problem seemed intractable. Eating fiber (e.g., fruit such as apples, bananas; stool softeners) had no apparent impact. One day recently, I ate a bowl of oat bran and it just sat in my gut like wet cement. I tried a polyethylene glycol drink, and it caused some gurgling but that’s all. What did work eventually was glycerine. But then again the problem recurred.
Eventually I googled the question, “what foods cause constipation?” The list included two “foods” that are known diuretics – coffee and alcohol, both of which I consume regularly. It also included “dairy” and I eat yogurt morning and night. But none of that is new or different for me. And I eat enough fruits and vegetables to maintain a good balance.
But down at the bottom of the list, there was a surprise: Persimmons! Specifically; astringent persimmons. Reportedly, the tannins in astringent persimmons slow peristalsis. And starting 3-4 weeks after my surgery, I had been eating lots of the astringent American variety Prok – maybe 3-6 at a time, 10-12 total per day. And evidently, the tannins were working as advertised.
Questions: I’d never before seen this issue discussed. Are other growers aware? Do you have any comments? Personal observations? If you have any suggested remedies, please provide them. But I’m not talking the usual, obvious stuff (e.g., more water, more fiber, etc.). Been there, done that. I’m asking about some remedy specifically to block or offset the impact of the tannins on peristalsis – other than persimmon abstinence. (
p.s. The source I read did not state whether astringent persimmons have this impact even after the fruit ripens. But from my own experience, I’d guess that ripening does not completely solve the problem. Said differently, the tannin molecules may dampen peristalsis even after they are bound and neutralized for taste.