Gastroenterology

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Remedies for Constipation and Common Causes

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Treatments for Constipation

  • High-fiber diet: Maintaining a diet with at least 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily can help ensure that your stool is not as hard. Beans, whole grains, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are all high-fiber foods that can help.
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  • Adequate fluid intake: Drink water to help alleviate constipation.
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  • Take time: Give yourself sufficient time for a bowel movement; don’t ignore a need to have a bowel movement.
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  • Laxatives: There are a variety of laxatives that can help with constipation, but should only be taken if other treatments do not work.
       
    • Fiber supplements: These are considered the safest laxatives but should be taken with water.
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    • Stimulants: Induce more rhythmic intestinal contractions.
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    • Lubricants: Help your stool move through your colon.
      • These include: mineral oil; Fleet
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    • Stool softeners: Help ensure a softer stool and prevent dehydration.
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    • Osmotics: Allow fluid to move more freely through your colon.
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    • Saline laxatives: Draw water into your colon to allow your stool to pass more easily.
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Home Remedies for Constipation

  • Massage: Massage to the abdominal area can help your muscles relax and consequently help your body move your stool more readily.
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  • Regular exercise
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How to Prevent Constipation

  • Fiber supplements: If eating a high-fiber diet isn’t enough, taking fiber supplements can help keep your stool soft and reduce the likelihood of constipation.
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  • Limit low-fiber foods: Fatty and sugar-filled foods or those with low fiber content can aggravate or even cause constipation.
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  • Go to the bathroom: If you have to go, go! Not going when your body needs to can cause constipation.
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Katherine Solem is a health writer and editor living in San Francisco. 

Published: July 20, 2011 

 

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