Feeling backed up? Try these 5 constipation remedies

The occasional episode of constipation or irregularity is uncomfortable and disruptive, but chronic constipation is a common GI disorder that can be debilitating. There are many quick fix remedies available over-the-counter, such as laxatives and supplements, but these are not always well-tolerated, and can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy gut. 

Fortunately, an integrated GI care team can get to the root cause of your chronic constipation and recommend personalized strategies to get things moving again. Here are 5 strategies to consider:

1. Assess your diet, and add fiber if needed

The FDA recommends that adults eat around 25 grams of fiber daily, and most of us eating a traditional Western diet fall short (even foods thought to be fiber-rich, like bran cereal, have 5 or 6 grams per serving). If you can tolerate it, try to increase your intake of whole fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, whole grains, and high fiber breads and cereals to improve your symptoms. A GI Registered Dietitian can help you assess your diet and implement any recommended changes. 

2. Drink more water

It is a mantra in digestive health for a reason: dehydration can contribute to constipation and make it harder to pass stool. Aim to increase your overall fluid intake (mostly water!) to get things moving.

3. Move more 

Moderate regular exercise has been shown to help with bowel motility. While feeling constipated can be uncomfortable, a regular daily walk or yoga session can help make you more regular. 

4. Reposition 

Using a small stool or a platform to raise your feet and change the angle of your hips while on the toilet can change the orientation of your body, making it easier to go. 

5. Set a schedule

Try to use the bathroom consistently, and if you feel like you have to go, don’t wait! If you have commitments that make it hard to get to the bathroom, try to use the bathroom before and after to help your body eliminate regularly. 

The bottom line? Consult your integrated GI care team, who understand that chronic constipation should not be part of a healthy life, and can help with more improvement strategies.

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