Maintaining healthy bowel movements can prevent problems like constipation, hemorrhoids and anal fissures, or small tears in the anal opening. Prevention of these disorders involves dietary changes, regular exercise and several guidelines when going to the toilet. Keeping bowel movements healthy is easier than treating constipation once it occurs. Creating new habits to ensure the health of bowel movements will help you have healthy bowel movements frequently.
Choose a time of day that is most convenient to have a bowel movement when you are less likely to be interrupted or feel rushed. Having a bowel movement after a meal is often a good time because your body is more likely to naturally want to defecate during that time. Once you begin having a bowel movement at a certain time of day, your body will often pick up on that and begin to go around the same time every day.
Pay attention to the feeling that you have to use the toilet. Ignoring this urge can make your stools more compact and difficult to pass.
Change your diet to include high fiber foods, such as whole grains and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiber helps to bulk up the stool, keeping it soft and easy to pass.
Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water each day and avoid caffeine as much as possible. Water helps to keep stools soft and easy to pass while caffeine can pull water out of the colon and make stools hard and more difficult to pass.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise helps the bowels to move consistently and helps prevent constipation.
- University of Michigan Health System: Healthy Bowel Habits
- University of Washington Women's Health: Constipation: Diet Tips for Relief and Prevention