Self-care advice

Role of diet in preventing and treating constipation 4.

  • In general, the diet should be balanced and contain wholegrains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Fibre intake should be increased gradually (to minimise flatulence and bloating) and maintained for life. Adults should aim to consume 30g fibre per day. Although the effects of a high fibre diet may be seen in a few days, it may take as long as several weeks.
  • Adequate fluid intake is important (particularly with a high fibre diet or fibre supplements) but can be difficult for some people (for example the frail or elderly).
  • Fruits high in fibre and sorbitol and fruit juices high in sorbitol can help prevent and treat constipation.
  • Natural laxatives may be a good source of dietary fibre.
  • Avoid drinks containing caffeine (tea, coffee) or alcohol as they can make constipation worse 1.