How to Treat Constipation. If you only move your bowels once every three or four days, feel bloated, or pass small, hard stools, you may be constipated. Changing some of your daily habits may help.
Things You'll Need
- Fibrous Foods
- Prune Juice
- Fiber Supplements
- Athletic Gear
Drink lots of liquid every day. Eight glasses of water is recommended. When the intestines lack proper hydration, stools can turn hard and dry and become much more difficult to pass.
Add several servings of fibrous whole grains, fruits (such as prunes or prune juice) and vegetables to your diet every day or opt for a fiber supplement. Fiber adds bulk to the intestines and creates well-formed stools that are easier to pass.
Drink hot water, tea or coffee. Hot beverages, especially ones containing caffeine, may help stimulate the bowels.
Incorporate a regular exercise regimen into your lifestyle. Digestion is enhanced when the abdominal muscles are used. The contraction and relaxation of the muscles helps the intestines to more effectively move stools through the digestive tract. Aerobic exercise such as jogging, tennis and brisk walking are especially helpful.
Check the medication you're taking. Antacids (particularly those containing calcium) and iron supplements can cause constipation, as can some other over-the-counter and prescription drugs, especially pain relievers that contain narcotics.
Keep in mind that constipation can be caused by digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, colitis, Crohn's disease or diverticulitis. Stress, pregnancy and even a new routine can temporarily cause a slowdown in the bowels.
Take a laxative if constipation continues, but avoid regular usage.
If you have a fever, severe abdominal pain, continuous vomiting, pro-longed bloating, very thin stools, blood in your stools or frequent bouts of constipation, see a doctor.