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What are some lifestyle changes that help treat chronic constipation?

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When constipation goes on for months at a time, it's considered chronic. Your doctor will need to find out what's causing it. But before he or she suggests medications to treat it, your doctor may first suggest you make some changes in your daily life. He or she may recommend you:

  • Eat more fiber. Pack your plate with lots of veggies, fruits, and whole grains and don't eat too many low-fiber foods like dairy and meat. Drink more water. Your digestive system needs water to help flush things out.
  • Exercise. This helps the muscles in your digestive system work better, so solids can move through more smoothly. Try to be active every day of the week, if your doctor says it's okay.
  • Take the time to go. Don't put it off -- go to the bathroom when you need to. Give yourself the time you need to get everything out. It's possible these changes alone will be enough to get things moving, but you may need further treatment. And that will depend on the cause.

Sources:

Dartmouth-Hitchcock: “Constipation.”

Mayo Clinic: “Constipation.”

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. American Academy of Family Physicians: “Constipation.”

MedlinePlus: “Lubiprostone.”

FDA: “FDA approves Trulance for Chronic Idiopathic Constipation.”

UpToDate: “Constipation Overview,” “Lubiprostone: Drug information,” “Linaclotide: Drug information,” “Plecanatide: Drug information.”

Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology: “What is chronic constipation? Definition and diagnosis.”

American Family Physician: “Diagnostic Approach to Chronic Constipation in Adults.”

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on February 1, 2019

Sources:

Dartmouth-Hitchcock: “Constipation.”

Mayo Clinic: “Constipation.”

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. American Academy of Family Physicians: “Constipation.”

MedlinePlus: “Lubiprostone.”

FDA: “FDA approves Trulance for Chronic Idiopathic Constipation.”

UpToDate: “Constipation Overview,” “Lubiprostone: Drug information,” “Linaclotide: Drug information,” “Plecanatide: Drug information.”

Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology: “What is chronic constipation? Definition and diagnosis.”

American Family Physician: “Diagnostic Approach to Chronic Constipation in Adults.”

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on February 1, 2019

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