Doctor Answers (2) on Constipation
The problem often happens because of a low-fiber or high-fat diet, lack of exercise, and not drinking enough fluids. Certain medications, not going when you feel the urge, laxative abuse, can lead to constipation.
If your bowel habits get sluggish, you don't have to rush out to buy a laxative. Most people don't need them for mild constipation. Instead, look at your diet. Are you getting enough fiber?
Fiber is the part of plant foods that the body can't break down. When you eat foods that have a lot of it, the extra bulk helps keep stools soft and speeds digestion.All plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, have fiber. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 25 grams per day for women and up to 38 grams for men. After age 50, we need less fiber -- about 21 grams for women and 30 grams for men. Unfortunately, most of us only get about 15 grams per day, which may help explain why so many people get constipated.Examples of high-fiber foods include:1/2 cup navy beans: 9.5 grams-1 small pear: 4.4 grams-1/4 cup dates: 3.6 grams-1 medium apple: 3.3 grams- 1 medium sweet potato: 4.8 grams