A common and often uncomfortable problem is constipation — bowel movements that occur less often than usual or cause you to strain or pass hard, dry stool. Constipation can be temporary or a chronic problem that never to goes away. Fortunately, it can often be controlled.
Eat more fiber
A high-fiber diet (whole grains, fruits and vegetables) adds bulk and absorbs water to soften the stool. This helps the stool pass through the colon more easily.
Drinking more water can also help soften stool.
Get regular exercise
Regular exercise helps improve the working of your colon and helps ease constipation. Ask your doctor about starting a regular exercise program.
Avoid chronic laxative use
Laxatives stimulate the colon to work more rapidly. Continuous use can cause the colon to stretch and weaken, and eventually the colon may not work right without them. Never use laxatives without consulting your doctor first.
Eating more of the following foods can add fiber to your diet and help prevent constipation:
• High-fiber cereals (See High Fiber Diet tips)
• Whole grains, bran and brown rice
• Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and greens
• Fresh fruits (especially apples, pears and dried fruits like raisins and apricots)
• Nuts and legumes (especially lentils, kidney beans and lima beans)