Diet, fiber, and exercise are important. That's true whether you have occasional or chronic constipation. Talk to your healthcare provider to discuss treatment options.
Lifestyle quick tips
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise daily
- Reserve time for a bowel movement
- Never ignore your urge to have a bowel movement
These tips can help promote good digestive health.
Here's how fiber works. Fiber is a component of plants, and it passes through the intestine undigested. Fiber also absorbs a lot of water, which results in softer, bulkier stools.
Fiber can help decrease the time that it takes food to pass through your colon (24 to 48 hours). When stools are soft and bulky, they can move more easily through the colon. When stools are hard and dry, they have trouble moving through–that's when you experience straining.
For all of these reasons, eating high-fiber foods may help with constipation. There are many high-fiber foods. Beans. Whole grains and bran cereals. Fresh fruits and dried fruits. Vegetables like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and carrots. Greens like spinach, kale, collard, and Swiss chard.
Talk to your doctor about creating a high-fiber diet that could work for you.
Your doctor can help you determine if laxatives are right for you. There are different kinds of laxatives. And they work in different ways.
- Saline laxatives. Examples include Milk of Magnesia.
- Lactulose laxatives. Lactulose is a nonabsorbable carbohydrate. These can be used for chronic constipation.
- Polyethylene glycol. This is approved to treat occasional constipation for up to two weeks. An example of this is MiraLAX.
Other treatment option
Another possible treatment option may be available to you. Find out more about this treatment.
These are not all the treatment options. It is important to talk to your doctor to develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for you.
Get your helpful Appointment Kit to bring with you to your next appointment.