Constipation is a common condition that is often the result of a poor diet and lack of exercise. In fact, it is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States. A person who is constipated may have difficult and painful bowel movements of dry, hard stool; bloating is another common symptom.
Most people can relieve constipation and prevent its recurrence by taking simple steps such as:
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Eating a well-balanced, high-fiber diet
- Not ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
- Setting aside time after breakfast or dinner for undisturbed visits to the toilet.
In most cases, laxatives are unnecessary. However, if a person has chronic constipation, their healthcare provider may recommend laxatives until it goes away.
(For more information, click Constipation. This full-length article goes into more detail about possible causes, symptoms, and treatment options.)