Chronic constipation is often cured by natural remedies: A diet with natural fiber from fruits and vegetables, at least eight cups of water a day, and exercise -- plus maybe an occasional laxative from the drug store. But if natural remedies and over-the-counter laxatives such as Metamucil, Citrucel, Colace, and Milk of Magnesia don't help, it may be time to ask your doctor about prescription drugs.
Here are prescription drugs used for the treatment of chronic constipation:
Get 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Foods that are good sources include:
Whole grains, including brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn, and whole-grain pastas, cereals, and breads
Peas and beans
Seeds and nuts
Prunes and prune juice
If you can’t get enough fiber through your diet, try fiber supplements.
Whether you eat more fiber-rich foods or take supplements, boost your intake gradually until you notice softer, more-frequent bowel movements. Also, drink plenty of liquids as you take in more fiber. This will help you avoid bloating and gas.
That can help you prevent constipation. Drinking plenty of liquids adds fluid to your system, which can make stools softer and easier to pass. Be sure to drink more when the weather gets warmer or as you become more physically active.
Not all drinks are good choices for staying hydrated. Too much alcohol can dehydrate you. Also, although a caffeinated drink may help you go to the bathroom, too much caffeine can dehydrate you as well.
One of the most common causes of constipation is a lack of physical activity. Exercise for at least 30 minutes most days to help keep your digestive system moving and in good shape. Work toward 150 minutes or more per week.
Don't Ignore Your Urge to Go
If your body tells you it's time to have a bowel movement, don't put it off till later. Waiting too long or too often can weaken the signals that let you know it's time to go. The longer you hold it in, the dryer and harder it can get, which makes it tougher to pass.