Occasional idiopathic constipation usually responds to exercise and dietary changes, according to WebMD. Sufferers may also need to add fiber to their diet, according to MedicineNet, including eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Laxatives are also helpful.
Other additions to the diet can include wheat or oat bran, psyllium seed, or polycarbophil with calcium, claims MedicineNet. Fiber adds bulk and water to the stool, which softens it. However, some people find that they have increased flatulence when they eat foods rich in fiber and may want to experiment to see which types of food do not increase gas. Other people may need to take lubricant laxatives to help soften the stool. One caveat is that some of these laxatives contain mineral oil, and since mineral oil should not be taken long-term, neither should these laxatives.
Other people who suffer from idiopathic constipation may also take stool softeners, MedicineNet explains. These are different from lubricant laxatives because they have a chemical called docusate that allows water to penetrate the stool and soften it. However, stool softeners can take as long as a week to work. Other laxatives help constipation by containing indigestible and nonabsorbable chemicals such as sorbitol, polyethylene glycol and magnesium compounds.