An ounce of prevention...

The best way to manage constipation is to prevent it. There are a number of preventative options to choose from.

Dietary changes such as increasing fluids and dietary fibre can help you stay regular. Fibre comes in two types: soluble, found in some fruits and vegetables, legumes, oat bran, and insoluble, found in the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and wheat bran. Insoluble fibre shortens the time it takes for stool to travel down the intestine. Soluble fibre mixes with stomach contents to create a gel-like material, slowing the digestion of food.

Regular physical activity helps stimulate bowel movement. As little as 30 minutes of walking a day can improve your bowel function.

Try establishing a regular routine for bowel movements. Because bowel movements usually occur when you first get up in the morning or following breakfast, try to give yourself enough uninterrupted time for bowel movement during this optimal time of day.

And if you have made appropriate lifestyle changes and still can't get things moving again, consider talking with your doctor or pharmacist.

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