Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

  • Increase your fiber intake. Adding fiber to your diet increases the weight of your stool and speeds its passage through your intestines. Slowly begin to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Choose whole-grain breads and cereals.

    Your doctor may recommend a specific number of grams of fiber to consume each day. In general, aim for 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories in your daily diet.

    A sudden increase in the amount of fiber you eat can cause bloating and gas, so start slowly and work your way up to your goal over a few weeks.

  • Exercise most days of the week. Physical activity increases muscle activity in your intestines. Try to fit in exercise most days of the week. If you do not already exercise, talk to your doctor about whether you are healthy enough to start an exercise program.
  • Don't ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Take your time in the bathroom, allowing yourself enough time to have a bowel movement without distractions and without feeling rushed.

Prevention

The following can help you avoid developing chronic constipation.

  • Include plenty of high-fiber foods in your diet, including beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grain cereals and bran.
  • Eat fewer foods with low amounts of fiber such as processed foods, and dairy and meat products.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Stay as active as possible and try to get regular exercise.
  • Try to manage stress.
  • Don't ignore the urge to pass stool.
  • Try to create a regular schedule for bowel movements, especially after a meal.
  • Make sure children who begin to eat solid foods get plenty of fiber in their diets.