Constipation refers to very hard stools or bowel movements that are hard to pass.

You may also:

Need to strain

  • Feel like you did not completely empty your bowels
  • Have cramping, pain, bloating or nausea

Each person is different, but most people pass stools from 3 times each day to 3 times each week. As long as the stool is soft and easy to pass, you are not constipated.


Causes of Constipation

  • A diet that is high in fat and sugar or low in fiber
  • Not drinking enough liquids
  • Being inactive
  • Not going to the toilet when you have the urge to pass stool or have a bowel movement
  • Some medicines
  • Overuse of laxatives

To help prevent constipation:

  • Drink at least 8-10 cups of liquids each day. Warm or hot drinks may help your bowels move more easily.
  • Eat high fiber foods such as bran cereal, whole grain breads, raw vegetables, fresh or dried fruits, nuts and popcorn. Fiber helps move stool through yourbody.
  • You may want to limit cheeses, chocolate and eggs because they may worsen constipation.
  • Drink prune or apple juice to help soften stools.
  • Exercise to help your bowels move more easily. Walking works well.
  • Go to the toilet when you have the urge to have a bowel movement.
  • Check with your doctor before using any over the counter laxatives or enemas.

Your doctor may suggest a stool softener or a bulk laxative. If you are not getting the results you want, talk to your doctor.

Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions or concerns.

This website puts documents at your disposal only and solely for information purposes. They can not in any way replace the consultation of a physician or the care provided by a qualified practitioner and should therefore never be interpreted as being able to do so.