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Constipation in Adults

Get some fiberĀ in your diet!

Definitely, increased fiber in the diet can improve constipation. Since it passes through your bowel undigested, fiber helps to enlarge the stool. Larger masses of stool are easier for the colon to push against and to propel forward. You can increase two separate types of fiber in your diet.

"Insoluble" fiber (the straw-like material and binding matter found in many natural foods) promotes contractions within the colon. Good sources include:

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Whole grains

"Soluble" fiber can soften the stool by absorbing water and forming a gel. Good sources include:

  • Breads

  • Cereals

  • Oats

  • Lentils

  • Barley

  • Apples

  • Over-the-counter fiber supplements

Examples of over-the-counter fiber supplements include psyllium (Metamucil), methylcellulose (Citrucel), and calcium polycarbophil (Fibercon). These fiber preparations are sometimes named "bulk laxatives."

Drink plenty of fluid! Your stool will be softer if it contains more water. Increasing your water intake is especially important if you increase your fiber with diet or supplements.

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