Today we are talking about constipation

lady with tummy upsetConstipation is a common problem. It means either going to the toilet less often than usual to empty the bowels, or passing hard or painful stools. Constipation may be caused by not eating enough fibre, or not drinking enough fluids. It can also be a side-effect of certain medicines, or related to an underlying medical condition.

Known causes of constipation:

  • Not eating enough fibre is a common cause. Foods high in fibre include: fruit, vegetables, cereals and wholemeal products.
  • Not drinking much may make constipation worse.
  • Some medicines can cause constipation as a side-effect. Examples are painkillers, some antacids, some antidepressants and iron tablets
  • Various medical conditions can cause constipation. For example, an underactive thyroid, irritable bowel syndrome, some gut disorders, and conditions that cause poor mobility, particularly in the elderly.
  • Pregnancy. About 1 in 5 pregnant women will become constipated. It is due to the hormone changes of pregnancy that slow down the gut movements. In later pregnancy, it can simply be due to the baby taking up a lot of room in the tummy and the bowels being pushed to one side.

What can I do to ease and to prevent constipation?

Toileting routines

  • Do not ignore the feeling of needing the toilet. Some people suppress this feeling if they are busy. It may result in a backlog of faeces that is difficult to pass later. When you go to the toilet, it should be unhurried, with enough time to ensure that you can empty your bowel.
  • Positioning on the toilet is also important, especially for elderly people with constipation. Squatting is probably the best position in which to pass stools. Putting a small footstool under your feet is a simple way to change your toilet position to aid the passage of stools. Relax.  You should not strain and hold your breath to pass a stool.

Finding the cause and making changes for life – is within your reach – discuss your concerns with our consultant therapist – request a callback now