How to Prevent Constipation

There are few things more uncomfortable than constipation -- you can't get settled if there's a blockage in your gut. Constipation means that you're having three or fewer bowel movements in a week. Read on to learn what you can do to prevent constipation and keep your bowels moving smoothly [source: MedlinePlus].

  1. Drink lots of fluids throughout the day. Water, juice, clear tea and soup are great. Caffeinated beverages don't count.
  2. Exercise. Having an active lifestyle keeps your digestive system healthy. Exercising 20 to 30 minutes each day will work toward overall wellness and help prevent constipation [source: NDDIC].
  3. High-fiber foods help to form soft, bulky stools that are easier to eliminate. If you're not used to eating fiber, introduce it slowly so that it doesn't cause gas or bloating. Fiber is found in grains, fruits and vegetables. Foods like whole-grain breads or cereals, beans, carrots, cauliflower, prunes and apples can help your body form soft stools [source: NDDIC].
  4. At the same time, try to eat fewer low-fiber foods -- especially those that are high in sugar and fat, such as ice cream, processed foods and pizza [source: Mayo].
  5. When you feel the need to have a bowel movement, try to find a restroom. Try to relax and concentrate on the feeling in your bowels. If nothing happens, leave the restroom and return when you get the urge again. Some people plan to spend time in the restroom at a regular time of day, waiting for their body to indicate its need.
  6. If you're taking medications, read the list of side effects. If constipation is one of them, speak to your doctor about your problem.