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How to Avoid Constipation

Three Methods:Helping Your DigestionAvoiding Habits that Make it WorseGetting Quick Relief from Constipation

Changing what you eat can radically impact your digestion and help you stop getting constipated. If constipation is a regular issue in your life, and you’re getting sick and tired of dealing with it so often, it’s time to rethink your diet and cut out the foods that most commonly lead to this uncomfortable condition. Eating more fiber, drinking more water and avoiding fried foods will help keep you constipation-free.

Method 1
Helping Your Digestion

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    Eat fiber-rich food. You’ve probably heard that fiber is good for you, but do you make it a priority to eat fiber at every meal? Doing so will go a long way toward helping you prevent constipation. Fiber adds bulk to your stools, making them easier to pass. You need 24 to 36 grams per day.[1] These foods contain high levels of fiber and will prevent you from getting constipated. Try incorporated at least one at every meal:
    • Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables
    • Lentils, black beans kidney beans and other beans
    • Peaches, strawberries, blueberries, papaya, apples
    • Almonds, walnuts, peanuts
    • Wheat, bran and other whole grains
    • Flaxseeds
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    Try fiber supplements. If eating high-fiber foods doesn't feel like it's doing the trick, you can make sure you're getting enough fiber by taking supplements. Most fiber supplements come in the form of a powder you mix with water and then drink. They are made with fiber content from plants and animals that's known to be beneficial to humans.[2] Keep in mind that getting too much fiber can result in loose stools and other side effects, so be sure to take only the recommended dose.
    • Supplements that include psyllium are geared toward dealing with constipation by bulking up the stools.
    • Supplements that contain inulin and oligofructose can stimulate growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, which also reduces constipation.
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    Drink prune juice. Prunes are a natural source of concentrated fiber, and they also contain sorbitol, which is a natural laxative. If you like the taste of prunes, try having some whole prunes or prune juice every morning. Prunes will help your stools move through your digestive system, preventing constipation.[3]
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    Eat a serving of yogurt every day. Sometimes constipation is caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Eating yogurt that contains probiotics restores these beneficial bacteria that facilitate proper digestion. Try eating a cup with breakfast every day as a way of preventing constipation.
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    Drink plenty of water. Constipation happens in part when your stools don’t contain enough water to easily pass through your body. When you're a bit dehydrated, you can easily become constipated. Make sure you drink water with every meal and any time you're thirsty to stay well hydrated.[4] Aim to get eight to 10 cups of liquids each day (or 32-40 ounces).[5]
    • When you feel constipated, increase your water consumption immediately. It can prevent the constipation from getting worse.
    • Start your day with a big glass of warm water and lemon for better digestive health.
    • Carry around a water bottle. It'll be much easier to drink more, and it can serve as a reminder to stay on track with a fiber-rich diet.

Method 2
Avoiding Habits that Make it Worse

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    Avoid processed foods. Foods that have been processed and combined with white flour and sugar are completely stripped of their healthy fiber content. Eating foods without fiber is hard on digestive system and can lead to constipation. These foods are common culprits:[6]
    • White bread
    • Snack foods
    • Fast foods
    • Fried foods
    • Dairy
    • Candy
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    Drink less alcohol. Alcoholic beverages like wine, beer, whisky and others have a dehydrating effect Being dehydrated can make it much more difficult to pass stools. If you tend to get constipated often, you might want to consider cutting back on alcohol. Stick with just a glass per evening, or eliminate it entirely. When you do decide to drink, make sure you have a glass of water for every glass of alcohol.
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    Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine can sometimes help with mild constipation, since it's a diuretic, but it can make prolonged constipation worse, since it’s dehydrating. If you have a three cup a day habit, you might want to cut back for awhile to see if it helps you avoid constipation. Try drinking just one cup per day, or switch to a low-caffeine tea.
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    Don’t ignore it when you feel the urge to have a bowel movement. When you're on the go, you might put off going to the bathroom, but this isn't good for your digestive system. Waiting too long to go to the bathroom is a common reason for constipation, so any time you get the urge, heed it.
    • It can help to have a schedule. For example, you might want to plan to go to the bathroom and have a bowel movement every morning. Once you start this type of routine, your body will respond by staying more regular.
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    Be physically active. Running, yoga, and other physical activities improve digestion.[7] If you’re feeling constipated, try going for a brisk jog or walk to get things moving again. Exercising three or four times a week will help you stay regular and prevent constipation.
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    Change your position when you use the bathroom. For some people, sitting on a toilet isn't the best possible position to help them easily have a bowel movement. Many have found that a squatting position makes the process go more smoothly. The easiest way to try this position is to prop up your feet on a stool while you're sitting, so that your knees are raised.
    • You can get a small stool to prop up your feet.

Method 3
Getting Quick Relief from Constipation

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    Try castor oil. This is a classic quick fix that really works. Castor oil acts as an irritant to the intestinal lining, causing a bowel movement to happen.[8] Taking a teaspoon is an effective way to relieve constipation, but be very careful not to take too much, since it can lead to gastrointestinal problems if you overdose.
    • Take the exact dose suggested on the packaging of the castor oil you buy, and no more.
    • Avoid taking it before bed, since it may cause you to spend some time in the bathroom.
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    Take a dose of epsom salt. The salt mixed with water acts as a laxative by helping hydrate your stool to make it easier to pass. Mix a spoonful of epsom salt into a glass of water and let it dissolve, then drink the solution.[9] In an hour or so, the constipation should pass.
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    Drink dandelion tea. Dandelion root that has been dried and made into tea has been an herbal remedy for constipation for many years. You may find relief from mild constipation by drinking dandelion tea every day. It's a safe and beneficial herb, though no conclusive studies have been conducted to prove it works.
    • You can buy dandelion tea that has been prepackaged, or buy loose dried dandelion root to make your own. Let it steep for five minutes, then stir in some honey to enjoy.
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    Try senna tablets. Senna is an herb that stimulates the muscles in the bowel to contract, enabling you to pass stools. It works well to relieve prolonged constipation, with other methods you've tried aren't effective. However, senna tablets can have side effects, so talk to your doctor before using them if you have a preexisting condition related to your digestion.


  • Do not be embarrassed to talk to your family physician about the problem. He or she is qualified to help you.
  • High protein diets are hard on the digestive system. Constipation may be frequent in those on Atkins or other high protein diets. Diets that limit carbohydrates, such as Atkins, may be deficient in fiber and other nutrients. If you are following the Atkins diet, for example, be sure to include low-carbohydrate foods that are still high in fiber, such as broccoli.
  • Some yogurts sold in the dairy section of grocery stores have additional enzymes to aid in digestion.
  • Painkillers frequently cause constipation by slowing the movement of food through the intestines. Consider loperamide, an agent that combats diarrhea through its effects on the movement of food through the GI effect. It works through actions similar to opioids, but acts only on the intestines. Make sure that you have a high-fiber intake when taking painkillers. If the problem persists, you may need to try a stool softener.
  • Be matter-of-fact about the problem; they have heard it many times before.
  • If the problem is chronic, you should speak to your doctor or see a specialist right away. Constipation is a symptom of many more serious medical problems, including bowel obstructions, colon cancer, and rectal cancer.
  • Eat Banana regularly this will help you to improve your digestion and may help you out in Constipation.


  • If constipation alternates with diarrhea, persists for long periods of time, or blood is passed with stools, know that it is definitely time for a chat with the doctor.
  • You can drink too much water too. In the most extreme cases, drinking too much water can lead to hyponatremia (a lack of sodium in the blood) and can even kill you. Do not exceed ten glasses per day, and avoid drinking isotonic sports drinks in large amounts.
  • Avoid harsh laxatives, especially when they are used long-term. While the importance of preventing constipation cannot be overstated, the long-term use of laxatives may harm the intestines and lead to dependence. You can take fiber and magnesium supplements your whole life if you are not obtaining enough of these nutrients from your diet.
  • A diet high in fiber is healthy for the gut (and perhaps even the pancreas and heart), but you can have too much. Too much fiber may reduce the absorption of nutrients from your food by binding to them in the GI tract. If you take vitamins and fiber supplements, you may want to take the fiber supplements at a different time to increase the effectiveness of your vitamins.
  • Be careful when starting to introduce more exercise. Start slowly and again chat with a doctor about any health concerns beforehand.

Article Info

Categories: Intestinal and Digestive Health