Medical Conditions

Constipation

Constipation affects everyone differently. This is because 'normal' bowel habits differ from person to - for some, passing a stool twice a day is completely normal, while for others, three times a week is the norm. For this reason, changes from your 'normal' habit can be the best way to tell whether or not you are constipated.

What causes constipation?

After food is digested in the stomach and the nutrients absorbed in the intestines, the remains pass down the colon, where they are transformed into faeces. If they remain in the colon too long, they can dry out and harden, resulting in hard stools that are difficult to pass. This can be caused by:

  • Irregular eating habits, or eating very small portions
  • Not visiting the toilet with the urge arises
  • Insufficient exercise or ill-health
  • Dehydration or insufficient intake of liquids
  • Lack of fibre-rich foods
  • Stress

Also, some medications or other factors can cause constipation. You should consult your GP if this is the case, if you suffer from constipation for a prolonged period of time, if there is blood in your stools, or if you also experience sudden weight loss or severe stomach pain when you have constipation.

How should constipation be treated?

If you suffer from constipation on a regular basis, here is a useful list of guidelines you can follow:

  • Drink 1 to 1.5 litres of liquid daily - water, juice, etc.
  • Eat plenty of fibre - brown bread (wholemeal, granary), fibre bread, crispbread, oatmeal, dried fruits, etc.
  • Eat less red meat and processed food
  • Be active - go for a walk, swim, jog, bike ride or something similar, every day
  • Practise good toilet habits - go at the same time every day and take your time
  • Sit correctly on the toilet

There are also medications available to treat constipation, such as Molaxole. See your pharmacist or doctor for further advice. Constipation medications should be used in combination with a long-term natural constipation remedy plan to avoid unnecessary suffering in the future. This includes a well-planned, fibre-rich diet and regular exercise.