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Constipation: Keeping Your Bowels Healthy

Topic Overview

For healthy bowels, avoid constipation. You can:

  • Include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fiber.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water.
  • Get some exercise every day. Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 1¼ hours a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of 10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.
  • Take a fiber supplement, such as Citrucel or Metamucil, every day if needed. Start with a small dose and very slowly increase the dose over a month or more.
  • Schedule time each day for a bowel movement. Having a daily routine may help. Take your time and do not strain when you are having a bowel movement.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Last Revised July 19, 2012

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