The most common cause is a poor diet. Here
are some tips to help manage constipation with dietary and lifestyle changes.
Following these tips after treating the constipation will help in preventing
constipation in the long run.
1. Drink more water.
is important to drink lots of water to prevent constipation. Water really helps
to bulk up the gut and move the contents along better.
Aim to drink at least 2L of water each day.
Purchase a few bottles of still water, and
leave in spots that you visit often, such as your desk at the office, your gym
On cooler days, drink a cup of hot water with
a squeeze of lemon.
Rooibos tea (without milk) and hot water with
lemon juice/slices or mint can be counted as water intake.
Caffeine-containing drinks like coffee, tea
and soft drinks are dehydrating so should be limited. Also, the concern is that
these drinks displace water intake which further worsens dehydration.
2. Up the fibre intake.
Fibre acts like a broom in the intestines
and helps sweep them clean. Foods that are high in fibre include:
whole-grain products: brown or whole-wheat bread, brown rice, whole-wheat
pasta, oats, high fibre cereals e.g. All-bran flakes, Special K
fruits: eat 2 fruits per day
vegetables: 3 portions per day
fruits and vegetables with edible skin, pips and seeds
fruits (especially prunes and pears)
beans, peas and lentils
3. Eat less processed foods.
Avoid food products that are refined as
these have the fibre taken out during processing. Rather chose
wholegrain/wholewheat options of these foods. For example:
bread à wholegrain bread, rye bread
pasta à wholewheat pasta, couscous
rice à brown rice, wild rice
and Rice Crispies à All bran flakes,
Special K, muesli, oats
cake flour à wholewheat flour
4. Get active.
helps get the gut moving because you exercise the muscles of t he body you also
exercise the muscles of the gut.
for 3-4 days a week of physical activity.
Make exercising interesting and fun to keep
Print out the timetable of your nearest gym
and highlight all the classes that you could enjoy.
Google a running club in your area. Try the
Nike Run Club in Rosebank (Wednesdays 5pm) and Centurion (Thursdays 5pm), or
Wanderer’s Running Club (Thursdays).
Grab a friend for a workout at the gym.
Join an exercise program like Adventure Boot
Camp, Transformhers, Run/Walk for Life, Cross fit, Sweat 1000, etc.
5. Be wary of medication.
chronic medications may contribute to constipation so take note of the side
effects of any medication you are on.
supplements may cause constipation, as can calcium supplements. Also, antacids
(to prevent heartburn) if used often may also affect bowel movements.
all these tips before using laxatives.
you are on a laxative or any other medication for colon movements, slowly wean
yourself off the medication rather than stopping abruptly. This may worsen the
constipation. Always consult with your GP before doing so.
I hope this helps answer your question.