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How does fiber help treat constipation?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Inadequate fiber is one of the main causes of constipation. Populations that consume more dietary fiber have less chronic disease. When you consume enough fiber, this helps soften and bulk up your stools, allowing for regular and normal bowel movements. Adequate fiber is also one of the best ways to prevent constipation. Ask your doctor how much fiber you should get every day. Everyone's needs vary, but experts recommend getting 15g to 35g of fiber each day. The best sources of fiber are whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Fiber supplements are also available.

You don't necessarily need a fiber "supplement," but all of us do need to eat fiber in order to maintain our health. Fortunately fiber is found in many foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Unfortunately, the typical American diet does not include enough of these foods to meet the recommended amount of fiber (about 20-30grams/day for adults). The benefits of adequate fiber intake (in addition to regulating bowel movements) include improved heart health and a lower risk of diabetes, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.