Increasing fiber intake, exercising regularly and taking laxatives and other supplements may be effective in relieving bouts of constipation, according to Mayo Clinic. Additionally, a doctor may prescribe medications to assist in drawing water into the intestines to soften the stool.
Fiber helps to add bulk to the stool and push it through the body to be expelled, states Mayo Clinic. Vegetables, fruits and whole-grain breads and cereals are natural sources of fiber that should be incorporated into the diet. A general recommendation is 14 grams of fiber per every 1,000 calories of food; however, it is important not to make a drastic increase too quickly. Bloating and gas can occur from a sudden jump in fiber intake. Slowly adding more fiber over a period of time is best.
Laxatives may be helpful to relieve constipation, reports Mayo Clinic. Stool softeners draw water from the intestines to moisten the stool. Lubricants, such as mineral oil, help with easing stool through the colon. Osmotics, such as milk of magnesia, lactulose and sodium phosphate enema, are helpful with assisting fluids through the colon. Fiber supplements may support additional fiber intake.
A doctor may recommend prescription medications if over-the-counter medications do not remedy the condition, according to Mayo Clinic. Additional options include biofeedback pelvic training, which helps develop the pelvic floor muscles. Surgery is also an option in cases of chronic constipation relating to other conditions, such as anal fissure, rectocele or stricture.