How to Relieve Constipation

Making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can help relieve constipation:

  • Eat more fiber! Foods with dietary fiber add bulk to your stools and soften them to help move things along.
  • Move regularly. Exercise has been shown to help with peristalsis. Ensure you get some sort of daily movement.
  • Drink a lot of water! Your stools get through better when they’re hydrated.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and cola drinks. They can worsen constipation by causing dehydration.

You may notice a difference within a few days. Though it can also take a few weeks before your symptoms improve.

Although some people may resort to laxatives, this isn’t a recommended option.

When to get Medical Advice

If it’s a very recurring issue, it’s best to address with a medical doctor. Your doctor will take an overview of your medical history, perform a physical examination and may order routine or specialised tests to confirm the cause. These tests can include blood tests, abdominal X-ray, colonoscopy and colonic transit studies. They may also use the Bristol Stool Scale to differentiate it from diarrhea, and monitor your treatment response.1


  1. Wilkins T, Pepitone C, Alex B, Schade RR. Diagnosis and management of IBS in adults. Am Fam Physician. 2012;86:419-426. 

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