To help prevent constipation:
• Don’t skip meals
Balanced, regularly scheduled meals promote regular bowel
• Eat high-fiber foods
Emphasize fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains at every
meal. Increase fiber even more by adding 2 to 3 tablespoons
of wheat bran to cereals, casseroles and baked goods.
• Drink plenty of fluids
Drink eight or more 8-ounce glasses of liquid daily in the
form of water, juice, milk, tea or soup.
• Increase your physical activity
Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise such as walking,
biking or swimming on most days of the week.
• Answer the urge
When you feel the urge to go, don’t delay. Holding a bowel
movement can foster constipation.
• Be flexible about ‘normal regularity’
Don’t fret if you’re not a once-a-day person. Some people
have bowel movements several times daily, while others have
them only three times a week.
• Ask your doctor about fiber supplements
If you’re having difficulty getting enough fiber in your diet,
your doctor may recommend a fiber supplement. Over-thecounter
products such as Citrucel and Metamucil promote
regularity similar to the way that fiber in food does. But food
is still the best source of fiber.
• Don’t rely on stimulant laxatives
These include products such as Dulcolax and Senokot, which
work by irritating the walls of your intestines. Habitual
use can make constipation worse. For occasional relief, try
osmotic agents, such as milk of magnesia. Don’t use laxatives
regularly without consulting your doctor.