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10 Tips for Managing Constipation

From the Pelvic Floor Articles List

What are some tips I can follow to minimize constipation so my symptoms are not worsened?I have been dealing with constipation which is affecting my pelvic floor. What are some tips I can follow to minimize constipation so my symptoms are not worsened?

Constipation can be a risk factor for pelvic organ prolapse. It can occur for a number of reasons including inadequate water intake, not enough fiber, and inactivity. Stress, depression, and several other health issues can also cause constipation. Medications and supplements used following a surgery or for pain may also contribute to constipation.

Managing constipation is important for a healthy pelvic floor and preventing or worsening pelvic prolapse. It can also be important following a surgery such as a hysterectomy or pelvic floor repair. Below are 10 tips you can follow to help manage your constipation issues.

1. Drink plenty of water.

It is very important that you drink an adequate amount of water every day. A rule of thumb is eight glasses a day, but your doctor may recommend a different amount based on your size and activity level. To help you drink enough water each day, make it part of your daily routine. You can try drinking a glass of water with each meal, before leaving for work, on your drive home, while watching TV, etc.

2. Add fiber to your diet.

Adequate fiber is necessary for digestive health. Soluble fiber makes stool softer and easier to pass, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to hasten stool through the bowel. Fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds all have fiber which can be helpful. You can make some simple changes to your diet that can have a positive impact. Add nuts and dried fruit to salads, yogurt, and cereal. When baking, choose whole-wheat flour to replace half of the white flour. Add more veggies and legumes when making soups. For snacks, choose dried or fresh fruit, nuts, and popcorn.

3. Don’t overuse laxatives.

It can be easy to want to use a laxative when dealing with constipation, but overuse of them could worsen your symptoms. Your bowel could become damaged or reliant on the laxatives if you take them too often and for long periods of time.

4. Don’t overuse pain medications.

Some over the counter and prescription pain medications can cause constipation. If you need to use pain medications on a long term basis, work with your doctor to either choose ones that are less constipating or ask about ways to combat the constipation they might cause.

5. Be careful with iron, calcium, and antacids.

Iron supplements, calcium, and antacids can all contribute to constipation. To help minimize constipation, take Vitamin C with iron, use magnesium with calcium, and ask about alternatives for antacids. You should as well drink plenty of fluids and eat lots of fiber when taking any of them.

6. Exercise regularly.

Inactivity can contribute to constipation, and activities such as walking can help the bowel function better. Work with your doctor to find an exercise plan that is safe for you and will help minimize constipation issues. If your current lifestyle is mostly sedentary, work to add activity into your daily routine, too.

7. Manage underlying health issues.

If you have underlying health issues which can cause constipation, be sure you are treating those conditions effectively. Some health issues that may need treated include hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

8. Evaluate your medications.

Many medications can cause constipation. These can include your blood pressure medications, antihistamines, and antidepressants. Make a list of all your medications and supplements so you can discuss them with your doctor and pharmacist. They can then help you determine if you need to change some of your medications or if there are steps you can take, like using a stool softener, to minimize the constipation risks.

9. Learn to manage stress.

Stress can wreak havoc on your entire body, and it can also contribute to constipation. Stress can cause constipation by disrupting bowel function and causing poor lifestyle choices. You may also choose to use medications, drugs, and alcohol which could have constipation side effects if you are under a lot of stress. Managing stress can help prevent the trickle down effect that can lead to constipation.

10. Work with medical professionals.

Work with your medical team to manage constipation and minimize its risks for you. Your physicians can look at your overall health situation to help you make safe and informed decisions so that treating constipation won't worsen or create other issues for you.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

02-22-2015 - 01:59 PM


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