There are several things you can do to help relieve mild symptoms of constipation.
It's important that you include plenty of fibre in your diet as this can help to prevent constipation. Insoluble fibre absorbs water and increases the bulk of waste matter in your bowel, which helps to move digested food through your bowel more easily. Only food that comes originally from plants contains insoluble fibre. Good sources include:
- wholegrain breakfast cereals
- wholegrain bread
- brown rice
- wheat bran
Soluble fibre, such as oats, beans and pulses can also reduce cholesterol in the blood.
It is recommended that everyone eats five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This can go a long way towards increasing the amount of fibre in your diet, which will improve symptoms of constipation. It may also help to protect you against other health conditions such as heart disease and some cancers. Sprinkling bran onto your food is another easy way to eat more fibre.
If you don't currently eat much fibre, increase the amount in your diet slowly, otherwise you may get bloating and wind. It's important to continue with a high-fibre diet even if your symptoms don't immediately improve as it may take up to four weeks to have an effect.
You may also need to increase the volume of fluid that you drink, especially if you are increasing the amount of fibre you eat. Speak to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or the amounts that you eat and drink.
Increasing the amount of exercise you do will probably help to ease constipation too.