Unfortunately, few people eat enough fibre each day. As such, fibre is often the first line of therapy for constipation. Patients should have a minimum daily intake of 10 grams of dietary fibre. This is best achieved by eating fruits, vegetables, and cereals. Most patients will see an effect after three to five days after the change in their diet. A trial of a high-fibre diet should continue for at least a month before the effects on bowel function are evaluated.
However, many patients will not be able to maintain a high-fibre diet and another intervention must be utilized. For patients with chronic constipation, fibre products (containing psyllium fibre) are the best choice for therapy. However, patients should be warned of an increase in abdominal distension and flatulence that can occur during the first few weeks of therapy.
Increased dietary intake of fibre results in: