Everyone can become constipated from time to time, which means that your bowel movements happen less often than normal or are tough to pass when you do go. Discover fast and effective relief with our range of treatments.
What is constipation?
Constipation is when bowel movements happen less often than normal, which varies from person to person. There is no blanket “normal” frequency for going to the toilet, so it’s up to you to decide whether you’re going your regular amount or not. In any case though, going 3 days or more without bowel movements is generally too long and you should consider constipation medication after this point.
Being constipated is not only about the regularity of your bowel movements but also about the consistency when you do go. Your stools can often become hard and tough to pass, leading to straining and discomfort.
Although it’s not serious or dangerous, constipation can be uncomfortable and can cause bloating, stomach ache or a feeling that everything didn’t come out when you pass a stool.
What causes constipation?
The causes of constipation vary and can be down to many differing factors. Largely, it can be brought on by diet; a change in diet, not having enough water, not getting enough fibre, eating a lot of dairy. This would include eating disorders and irritable bowel syndrome too, but constipation would likely only be one side effect of these conditions.
Constipation can also be caused by not being active enough, by pregnancy or by stress. Other underlying conditions can leave sufferers feeling constipated, including colon cancer, problems with the digestive system, neurological conditions or an underactive thyroid. Certain medications are another common cause; mainly strong pain drugs and antidepressants.
If you attempt to change your body’s natural bowel movements, this can lead to constipation. If you often resist the urge to go to the toilet when your body tells you it needs to, or if you regularly use laxatives then this could upset your natural rhythm. Try to listen to what your body tells you and you’ll notice fewer symptoms.
How can I treat constipation?
Treating constipation is quick and simple with our available treatments, meaning that you’ll be able to get back to normal and avoid any discomfort. You should also try drinking plenty of water, avoid caffeine (as it’s dehydrating) and up your activity levels.
The key with constipation though is to take measures to avoid it, rather than to wait until you require treatment. Eat your recommended 5 portions of fruit and veg every day and ensure to incorporate plenty of whole grains, cereals and other sources of fibre into your diet. Drink at least 2 litres of water a day, moderate your dairy intake and always go to the toilet when you get the urge.
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