Constipation

DEFINTION

  • Less than three bowel movements in one week
  • Lumpy or hard stool
  • Straining when going to the bathroom
  • A sense of fullness despite a daily bowel movement

STRATEGIES

  • Women need 21-25 grams of fiber daily. Men need 30-38 grams. Become familiar with reading food labels and choose high-fiber foods, including:
    • Grains
      • Whole grain breads and pasta
      • High-fiber cereals that include whole grains or bran
      • Brown rice
      • Oatmeal
    • Fruits
      • Apples
    • Pears
    • Bananas
    • Figs
    • Raspberries
    • Prunes
  • Vegetables
    • Greens like lettuce, spinach, collards, kale, and Swiss chard
    • Beans like white, navy, pinto, black, garbanzo, and edamame
    • Others like peas and lentils
  • Increase fluid intake
    • This is especially important when increasing fiber intake or constipation can worsen.
    • Read the website document Hydration for more information.
  • Exercise
    • Physical activity is an important component of gut health.
    • Read the website document Exercise for more information.
  • Discuss your medications with the provider or nurse at MMC.
    • Some medications may cause constipation and alternatives may be available.
    • Over-the-counter laxatives are a treatment alternative to discuss.

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