To help prevent constipation:
� Don't skip meals
Balanced, regularly scheduled meals promote regular bowel function.
� Eat high-fiber foods
Emphasize fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains at every meal. Increase fiber even more by adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of wheat bran to cereals, casseroles and baked goods.
� Drink plenty of fluids
Drink eight or more 8-ounce glasses of liquid daily in the form of water, juice, milk, tea or soup.
� Increase your physical activity
Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise such as walking, biking or swimming on most days of the week.
� Answer the urge
When you feel the urge to go, don't delay. Holding a bowel movement can foster constipation.
� Be flexible about 'normal regularity'
Don't fret if you're not a once-a-day person. Some people have bowel movements several times daily, while others have them only three times a week.
� Ask your doctor about fiber supplements
If you're having difficulty getting enough fiber in your diet, your doctor may recommend a fiber supplement. Over-the- counter products such as Citrucel and Metamucil promote regularity similar to the way that fiber in food does. But food is still the best source of fiber.
� Don't rely on stimulant laxatives
These include products such as Dulcolax and Senokot, which work by irritating the walls of your intestines. Habitual use can make constipation worse. For occasional relief, try osmotic agents, such as milk of magnesia. Don't use laxatives regularly without consulting your doctor.