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Constipation is the retention of feces, or the inability to have a bowel movement. If your bowel movements are difficult or less frequent, chances are you have constipation. While it is not a serious condition, it can be downright uncomfortable and inconvenient for the individual dealing with it. Thankfully, it is a condition which can be easily remedied.
Get your fiber. Fiber keeps you regular, and if you're not getting enough of it in your diet, chances are, you're going to become constipated. Fiber can be found in a variety of different foods including bran, fruits with skins, green veggies, nuts, grains and seeds. Nuts and grains are particularly important since they contain essential fatty acids which are great for keeping you regular. Just don't expect to see immediate results. It will take 14 to 21 days before you see a significant change.
Avoid constipation culprits. If your diet is full of fried foods, refined sugars, white flour, alcohol, soft drinks and even cheese, you're bound to get backed up. Avoid these foods. You'll be surprised at how much more regular your bowel movements become.
Drink liquids. A person should drink 1.5 to two quarts of water or other fluids every day. If you're not getting enough liquid, it will slow down your bowel movements. Caffeinated drinks don't count. They'll just dehydrate you and slow down the process even further.
Eat yogurt with live cultures. This kind of yogurt can get you moving again. Just make sure that the yogurt contains live cultures. Otherwise, it won't do much for you.
Exercise. You'd be surprised at how quickly you can regulate your system just by getting a little physical.
Take a very mild stool softener. Make sure it's mild because harsh laxatives will normally just aggravate your symptoms and keep you from getting the relief that you need.
Some people suggest drinking warm liquids in the morning to get you moving. Many people have bowel movements first thing in the morning. If you're backed up, hot liquids might just do the trick.
Don't use a laxative for longer than two weeks without calling your doctor. Laxatives can do more harm than good.
If your bowel movements are such that you find blood in your stools, or you're going less that two times a week, it's time to see the doctor. There might be an underlying cause for your constipation.