Some self-help methods of treating constipation are listed below:
- Increase your daily intake of fibre. You should eat at least 18-30g of fibre a day. High-fibre foods include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and cereals.
- Add some bulking agents, such as wheat bran, to your diet. This will help to make your stools softer and easier to pass.
- Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water.
- Exercise more regularly – for example, by going for a daily walk or run.
- If constipation is causing pain or discomfort, you may want to take a painkiller, such as paracetamol. Always follow the dosage instructions carefully. Children under 16 shouldn’t take aspirin.
- Keep to a routine (a place and time of day) when you’re able to spend time on the toilet. Respond to your bowel’s natural pattern: when you feel the urge, don’t delay.
- Try resting your feet on a low stool while going to the toilet, so that your knees are above your hips; this can make passing stools easier.
- If medication you’re taking could be causing constipation, your GP may be able to prescribe an alternative.
Read about preventing constipation for more ways to change your diet and lifestyle