Healthy bowel habits to prevent constipation

Healthy bowel habits include the following:

  • Eat a high-fiber diet.
  • Get plenty of fluid throughout each day.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Eat at regular times.
  • Try to have a bowel movement at the same time each day.
  • Don't strain.
  • Don't put off having a bowel movement. Doing so may make the stools drier and harder, which may make you strain more.
  • Give yourself plenty of time (at least 10 minutes).

Avoid taking medicines that slow the activity of the intestines, such as painkillers containing narcotics, certain antidepressants, and some medicines used to treat high blood pressure (calcium channel blockers). Talk with your doctor about medicines you can take that will not make you constipated.

Last Updated: July 30, 2008

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