5 methods to stop constipation

Feeling like you need to go but struggling when the time comes? You may be constipated.

The good news is you are not alone.

“Approximately 80% of people will experience constipation at some point in their lives,” says Laura Robbins, PT, DPT, Pelvic Health Program Manager, Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network.

When constipation becomes a regular problem, Dr. Robbins provides insight into common causes and some home remedies.

> Connect to the Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network

When constipation becomes a problem

Constipation is defined as having (less than three) bowel movements per week.

While brief bouts of constipation are normal, signs of a problem can include:

  • Decreasing amounts of stool.
  • The need to strain or strain during a bowel movement.
  • Not feeling completely empty after walking.
  • You need enemas, suppositories, and laxatives to help you walk.

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Simple solutions to try at home

It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to complete a bowel movement. If your trips to the toilet are taking longer, Dr. Robbins suggests these five ways to treat constipation:

  • Increase the fiber in your diet. Make sure you’re getting a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber. Examples of soluble fiber include broccoli and avocado, and insoluble fiber includes corn and green beans.
  • Drink more fluids – mostly water. Stay away from sugary drinks whenever possible.
  • Try rotational exercises that help stretch and strengthen muscles. First, lie on the floor, cross your left leg over your right at a 90-degree angle, place your right hand on your left knee, and apply pressure. The left arm and right leg must remain on the ground.
  • Change your toilet positioning. Try mimicking a squat position, or use a stool that fits under your feet to help you get into position.
  • Don’t resist the urge to leave. Urges usually appear 30 minutes after a meal.
  • Try to avoid straining and holding your breath. This not only applies to the toilet, but also in everyday life.

When to the doctor

If constipation is a problem over a long period of time, it may be time to see a doctor.

The Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network provides pelvic health rehabilitation for constipation statewide. This type of physical and occupational therapy includes an assessment of your symptoms. After the consultation, your provider will create a plan to improve your constipation.

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