Preventing and Treating Constipation 

By Emily Campbell, RD CDE MScFN 

Constipation is a condition where you may have: 

  • Fewer than three bowel movements a week 
  • Stools (poop) that are hard, dry or lump 
  • Stools that are difficult or painful to pass 
  • Or feeling that you are not able to empty your bowels fully 

Constipation is a common issue with kidney disease.  Some causes for constipation include:  

  • Eating a diet low in fibre 
  • Not getting enough physical activity 
  • Fluid limits 
  • Some medications 
  • Stress, depression or anxiety 
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement (poop) 

Tips to Reduce Constipation 

Here are some strategies to help minimize constipation: 

  • Eat enough fibre every day. Increase the fibre in your diet slowly with the foods below.  
  • Eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day. This keeps food moving through your bowels.  
  • Eat the whole vegetable and fruit (instead of juice). Include the skin or peel when possible.  
  • Drink as much fluid as you are allowed to drink.  
  • Increase your physical activity.  
  • Train your bowels by using the bathroom about the same time each day. Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement.  
  • Aim to have a bowel movement every 1 to 2 days.  

High Fibre Foods to Include 

Fibre helps to prevent constipation by making stools bulky and soft. When adding high fibre foods, start slowly and space it out throughout the day. Remember to drink as much fluid as you are allowed to help move the fibre through your bowels. After you start eating a higher fibre diet, it may take a few days to notice a difference in your bowels. If you have increased your fibre in your diet but still have constipation, speak with your doctor.  

Here are some high fibre foods to include:  


  • ½ cup blackberries 
  • ½ cup raspberries  
  • 1 small pear, raw with skin 
  • 1 small apple, raw with skin 
  • ½ cup blueberries  
  • ½ cup strawberries  
  • ½ cup applesauce  
  • 1 small tangerine 
  • ½ cup pineapple 
  • 2 prunes, dried 


  • ½ cup frozen peas, cooked 
  • ½ cup broccoli, cooked  
  • ½ cup green/yellow beans 
  • ½ cup carrots, cooked  
  • ½ cup cauliflower, cooked  
  • ½ cup corn, cooked  
  • ½ cup zucchini, cooked  
  • ½ cup red/green peppers 
  • 6 asparagus spears 
  • ½ cup cabbage 
  • ½ cup eggplant, cooked 

High Fibre Grains: 

  • 1 cup oatmeal  
  • ½ c. Bran Flakes 
  • ½ cup Spoon Size Shredded Wheat® 
  • ½ cup Corn Bran Square® 
  • ½ cup Mini Wheats® 
  • 1 biscuit Wheetabix® 
  • 1 sl. 100% Whole wheat bread  
  • ½ cup Bulgur, Barley, brown rice, cooked  

Other High Fibre Foods: 

  • 1 TBSP chia seed 
  • 1 TBSP ground flaxseed 
  • ½ cup beans, cooked 
  • ¼ cup unsalted nuts (e.g. pecan, walnut, macadamia)