• Living With Constipation

    Constipation can be a difficult condition to live with. If simple measures do not work to relieve constipation, you should see your doctor about this problem.

    What's New

    Constipation is not a new condition. HOWEVER, some of the strategies for managing your constipation may be new to you.

    Managing Your Symptoms

    Fortunately, constipation can usually be treated successfully. It is best to start with simple strategies and move on to a more aggressive laxative regimen, if necessary. There are many options you can try to relieve your constipation, including:

    • Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet. Aim for 20 to 30 grams of fibre every day.
    • Increasing the amount of liquids you drink.  It is recommended that we drink 8-10 glasses of liquid a day, that could include water, juices, milk, soup or --other beverages. Liquids with caffeine or alcohol increase urination and should not be included in this total.
    • Increasing your activity level.  A sedentary lifestyle decreases bowel activity. Regular exercise is recommended to help prevent this. Even regular walking can be of significant benefit.
    • Developing a regular bowel routine.  If you can set aside the same time each day to relax and-have a bowel movement, your body will become accustomed to this pattern over time. Remember to avoid straining.
    • Developing a regular lifestyle.  Irregular eating and sleeping patterns lead to irregular bowel movements.
    • Listening to your body.  By responding to your body's urges promptly, your bowel reflexes are more likely to become normal and regular. Familiarity with local facilities is important so that when you feel the urge to pass stools, there is no delay.
    • Avoiding overuse of laxative.  There are different kinds of laxatives. The regular use of some stimulant laxative will decrease tone in the bowel leading to poor bowel function. Other laxatives, simply retain more water in the stool and are safe for regular use. Regular use of laxatives shoulds be approved by your doctor.

    Treatment Options

    Bulking agents such as psyllium, methylcellulose or Metamucil help hold water in the stool and add bulk to it. This stimulates normal bowel contractions. Sometimes a stool softener can be helpful. If this does not work, then you can use a stimulant laxative. Stimulant laxatives are not a long term solution. If this do not work, it may be necessary to try a osmotic laxative that tend to draw fluid into the bowel to help lubricate and move the contents.  Sometimes enemas or suppositories are used to help emptying of the bowel.

Enhancing lifelong health

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation believes our ability to help establish, enrich and protect a healthy gut microbiota is the key to lifelong health