Fiber helps make stool (or feces) soft so that it moves smoothly through your colon. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is found in beans, fruit, and oat products. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is found in whole-grain products and vegetables. Both kinds of fiber help prevent constipation.
Depending on your age and sex, adults should get 25 to 31 grams of fiber a day. Older adults sometimes don’t get enough fiber because they may lose interest in food.
Talk with a health care professional, such as a dietitian, to plan meals with the right amount of fiber for you. Be sure to add fiber to your diet a little at a time so your body gets used to the change.
Consult with your physician about fiber supplements to aid in constipation relief. Instructions vary by type, method, and brand.
Side effects of fiber supplements can vary but can include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Rectal bleeding