Constipation is irregular, infrequent or hard stool. Often times, constipation results from medication use (especially pain medication), inactivity, and/or a poor diet. Constipation can be painful and cause changes in appetite, leading to unplanned weight loss. It is important to know what your regular bowel pattern is, so you can report changes to your doctor, in order to prevent negative symptoms. Follow the tips below to help manage constipation:
- Drink at least 8 to 10 cups of clear liquids per day (water, prune juice, warm juices, non-caffeinated teas, soups, and popsicles).
- Add high fiber foods slowly to your diet (whole grains, fruits, vegetables with skins/peels, nuts, dried beans, peas, dried fruits). Increase fluid intake as you increase fiber intake (too much fiber, too quickly can lead to constipation).
- Avoid eating large amounts of dairy products which can sometimes be constipating.
- Drink a hot beverage at breakfast.
- Drink a warm liquid 30 minutes before your normal time for a bowel movement.
- Drink ½ cup of prune juice daily.
- Eat routine meals at the same times daily to try to regulate bowel movements.
- If gas is an issue, avoid gas producing foods and beverages (carbonated beverages, cruciferous vegetables, chewing gum). Also, avoid drinking with a straw.
- Ask your doctor about medications that can help with constipation.
- If you are able to exercise, try adding some mild activity to your daily routine.
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