- Less than three stools weekly
- The stools are hard and dry
- A lot of time is spent sitting on the porcelain throne and strain is involved to complete a bowel movement
If any of the aforementioned symptoms apply to you, consider the following recommendations to reduce and hopefully eliminate constipation:
- Eat more fiber (i.e., strive to take in 20 to 35g of fiber daily)
- Limit dairy consumption if you're lactose intolerant
- Reduce stress levels (i.e., meditation, yoga, massage, etc.)
- Limit calcium supplements
- Get more exercise (i.e., perform physical activity most days of the week for 30 to 60 minutes per day)
- Drink more water (i.e., if you're a man, drink up to 4L daily; if you're a woman, drink up to 3L daily)
BOTTOM LINE: Since constipation entails a relatively slow transit time of food passing from the mouth to the anus, the goal is to reduce this transit time to eliminate constipation. The recommendations include increasing exercise, fiber consumption and fluid intake. Any of these recommendations will quicken food transit time for a normal duration between 18 to 72 hours.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."