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Managing Constipation

General

  • Increase fluid intake to at least eight glasses of six ounces of water or juice per day.

  • Minimize liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine because they make your body lose water.

  • Eat a diet high in fiber.

  • Avoid foods with white sugar, pasta, pastries, cheese, and rice.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Drink a warm liquid one-half hour before breakfast to stimulate a bowel movement.

  • Sit in a modified squatting position for evacuations by placing feet on a stool.

  • Avoid using laxatives and enemas more than once per week.

Fiber

Sources of Fiber

  • cellulose

    • vegetables

  • whole-grain products

  • hemicellulose

    • bran cereal

    • whole-grain products

  • gums (decrease cholesterol and blood sugar)

    • legumes (dried peas and beans)

    • oat bran

  • pectin

    • apples

    • citrus

Tips on Increasing Fiber in Your Diet

  • Increase fiber slowly to give your body time to adjust to it.  This will minimize gas and cramping problems.

  • Increase fluids along with fiber to prevent constipation.

  • Obtain fiber from a variety of sources.

  • Eat whole-grain food because processing tends to decrease fiber content.

  • Choose fruits and vegetables with edible skins and seeds.

  • Eat whole grains such as barley, bran, brown rice, buckwheat, groats, cornmeal, popcorn, whole wheat, and wheat germ.

  • Store whole grain carefully; it is more perishable than refined grain.

  • Avoid medication after bran cereal because bran can block medication absorption.

  • Do not take fiber supplements unless discussed with your physician.

Fiber Content per Ounce of Food

  • fruit: 2 grams

  • vegetable: 2 grams

  • starchy vegetable: 3 grams

  • legumes: 8 grams

  • whole-grain products: 2 grams

  • cereal: 3 grams

  • Bran cereal: 8 grams

  • nuts and seeds: 3 grams