Understand and take control of your constipation
What is constipation?
Constipation is a common condition that can affect people of all ages. It can mean that you’re not passing stools regularly, or you’re having difficulty passing them.
What causes constipation?
Constipation usually happens when stool have been in the bowel for too long, and water from them is re-absorbed by the body.
Can stress cause constipation?
Thoughts and emotions that are triggered by stress are thought to have an impact on your digestive system and may contribute towards constipation.
Travel and constipation
A change of routine, such as being on holiday with a different diet and time zone, and using facilities in public places, can affect your bowel habits.
Lifestyle changes can help with constipation
Our busy lifestyles can play a role in constipation, with many contributing factors.
If constipation is interfering with your life, don’t worry.
There are plenty of things you can do to help.
The first thing you should do is to make some simple changes, such as:
Make changes to your diet1
- Includes enough fiber in your diet can keep your bowel movements more regular by helping food pass through your gut more quickly
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Try to cut down on the amount of alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks you consume.
Increase your activity1
- A daily walk or run can help ease constipation. And there are many other health benefits because exercise can help make you feel healthier and it may improve your mood, energy levels and general fitness.
Improve your toilet routine
- Try to keep to a regular time and place and give yourself plenty of time to use the toilet. 30 minutes after eating a meal is usually a good time to go.8
- Don’t ignore the urge to go as this can make constipation worse.1
- Try resting your feet on a low footstool while going to the toilet. If you can, raise your knees above your hips. Relax and breathe normally, tighten your stomach muscles and push down whilst trying to relax your back passage.8
If these lifestyle changes aren’t helping, treatment is available. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Constipation in babies
Constipation in babies is very common, affecting up to 40% of infants11 and there are many possible causes.
Constipation in children
Are they have a bowel movement less than three times a week? If yes, they could have a constipation. How’s the treatment?
Constipation in adult
Constipation becomes more likely as you get older, and women are more likely to suffer constipation compared to men.
Constipation in pregnancy
If you’re a Mum-to-be and you think you might be constipated. here are many reasons why constipation is common during pregnancy.
1. NHS Inform. Constipation. Preventing constipation. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/stomach-liver-and-gastrointestinal-tract/constipation#preventing-constipation. Accessed 12 Nov 2019.
2. Information from your family Doctor. Constipation. Am Fam Physician. 2010;15:82(12):1440-1441.
3. NHS. Constipation. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/constipation/. Accessed 12 Nov 2019.
4. Lewis SJ, et al. Stool form scale as a useful guide to intestinal transit time. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1997 Sep;32(9):920-4.
5. Cullen G, O’Donoghue D. Constipation and pregnancy. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol 2007; 21(5): 807-18
6. Devanarayana, NM and Rajindrajith S, Association between Constipation and Stressful Life Events in a Cohort of Sri Lankan Children and Adolescents. J Trop Ped. 2010;56(3):144-8.
7. NHS. How to deal with stress. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-stress/. Accessed 2 Oct 2019.
8. Healthy bowel guide: Information for patients. Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. April 2015. https://www.cnwl.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/Healthy_Bowel-_Patient_Information_leaflet.pdf Accessed 12 Nov 2019.
9. Arnaud MJ. Mild dehydration: a risk factor of constipation? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003;57(2):S88-S95.
10. Hayat U, et al. Chronic constipation: Update on management. Clev Clin J Med. 2017;84(5):397-408