What to Do About Constipation
It is quite common and normal for a baby to go for a week without emptying its bowels, but with adults, when waste material stays in the rectum for several days, it becomes difficult to pass – and this is constipation. Lack of exercise, dietary fibre and fluid intake-or too much nervous tension – can all cause constipation, which in turn can lead to piles (haemorrhoids).
• Walking, jogging or swimming are good exercises for stimulating the bowel muscles.
• Eat plenty of dietary fibre, such as bran, wholemeal bread, leafy vegetables and fresh or dried fruits.
• Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, fruit juice and milk.
• Laxatives that stimulate the bowel can be taken to get over an immediate problem, though you should stop as soon as normal habits are restored. Suitable short-term laxatives include castor oil, cascara, syrup of figs, senna and Epsom salts.
• If you think the cause is nervous tension, or if constipation persists for more than two weeks, see your doctor.