Important changes in diet and lifestyle that can help with constipation


A layperson’s understanding of constipation

may just mean not having frequent enough bowel movements, but the reality - as it always is - is more complex and nuanced than that. There are actually a range of symptoms, some of which are easy to miss. You can have constipation if you have just one of these four symptoms:

  • Fewer than three bowel movements per week
  • Having difficulty in starting or completing a bowel movement
  • When the consistency of your stool is hard, and looks like rocks or pebbles
  • A feeling of not fully emptying your bowels [1]

Constipation is actually more common than most people realise – according to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, 1 in 4 Canadians has the symptoms of Constipation. [2] So, for all the people who’re having a hard time but would love to be easy going, here are some simple changes that one can make to help with constipation. These changes are in two major categories – Diet and Lifestyle

1. Diet (Food and Drinks)

Food: Ideally, an adult should be having about 30 grams of fibre per day. To start with, you can aim for 18 grams, and gradually increase it from there. Food labels usually mention their fibre content, which is a good place to start. [3]

Fibre-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, all help improve gut function and prevent constipation. However, bear in mind that high-fructose fruits like apples, pears, and watermelon are not ideal choices as they can cause gas. [4] You can also consider adding some wheat bran, oats, or linseed to your diet. [5]

Fibre should be added to your diet slowly – too much all at once can cause bloating and constipation. One way is to have more fibre only on some days of the week, by increasing how much is consumed of the following types of food:

  • Vegetables and fruits, ideally with the skin on
  • Whole-grain breads, cereals and pastas
  • Legumes such as beans and peas
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds

Drinks: As far as drinks are concerned, besides slowly increasing your fluid intake (mostly water and broths) you should cut down on caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks. [6]

2. Lifestyle Changes

Exercise: For many people, regular exercise can help improve symptoms of constipation, besides the well-documented improvements in mood, energy, and general fitness. 30 minutes of walking or other physical activity five times a week should do the trick.

Toilet Habits: Another major change one can make, lifestyle-wise, is to have a specific time that they go to the toilet. This should either be in the morning, or 30 minutes after a meal.

Not ignoring the urge to go: Ignoring the urge to empty your bowels can significantly increase your chances of having constipation. Another thing to do in this regard is to not be rushed and give yourself enough time to pass stools comfortably.

Daily Routine: Consistency is key in this regard, so the more regular you are with your eating and sleeping habits, the more likely you are to avoid constipation.

General Well Being: The basics here involve limiting smoking and alcohol intake, as well as finding time and strategies to cope with stress. [7]

Diet and Lifestyle changes take time to implement, so if you suffer from occasional constipation in the meantime, you could consider solutions from the maker of Lax-A Day® Canada’s No. 1 clinically proven, doctor-and-pharmacist-recommended Laxative. [8]

For gentle relief from occasional constipation, there’s Lax-A Day®, which provides gentle and effective relief from occasional constipation.

For overnight relief, Lax-A Senna® might be right for you.

For daily use or if you’re not getting enough fibre, you should consider Lax-A Fibre®.

And for immediate use, Lax-A Nema®, which is a single dose rectal solution that provides fast-acting relief.

These products may not be right for you. Please read and follow the label before use for a list of contraindications, warnings, precautions, and adverse reactions.

Lax-A Day®, Lax-A Senna®, Lax-A Fibre® and Lax-A Nema® are the registered trademarks of Norwell Consumer Healthcare Inc.


  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine:
  2. Canadian Digestive Health Federation:
  3. Canadian Digestive Health Federation:
  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine:
  5. NHS UK: Source:
  6. Canadian Digestive Health Federations:
  7. Canadian Digestive Health Federations:
  8. Profession Santé and Pharmacy Practice + Business 2022 Survey on OTC Counselling and Recommendations (pharmacists) and The Medical Post and Profession Santé (physicians) in the Laxative category. IQVIA Nielsen 2022