Constipation is a very common problem

Constipation is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It can mean that you're not passing poo regularly or you're unable to completely empty your bowels.

Some of the symptoms of constipation are:

  • Pain in the tummy or back passage
  • Feeling bloated
  • Straining to pass hard or lumpy poo
  • Feeling like you haven't emptied your bowel properly
bristol stool form scale

Distributed with the kind permission of Dr K. W. Heaton; formerly reader in Medicine at the University of Bristol. Reproduced as a service to the medical profession by Norgine Ltd. ©2017 Norgine group of companies.

What causes constipation?

Constipation in adults has many possible causes. Sometimes there is no obvious reason.

The most common causes include:

vegetables and cereals

Not eating enough fibre – such as fruit, vegetables and cereals


Not drinking enough fluids


Not exercising or being less active


Often ignoring the urge to go to the toilet


Changing your diet or daily routine

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Stress, anxiety or depression


A side effect of medication

please speak to your doctor before stopping any medication


A medical condition

How can you help relieve constipation?

These are some of the ways you can help yourself by making changes to your diet or lifestyle:


Eating more foods high in fibre


Drinking lots of fluid


Taking more exercise, if possible


Never ignoring the urge to go to the toilet

toilet seat height

Ensuring that the toilet seat is at the correct height i.e. your feet should be firmly on the floor

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Not rushing going to the toilet


Try to establish a daily routine – this is what your bowels naturally do

correct position for opening your bowels

Reproduced and distributed with the kind permission of the co-authors, including Wendy Ness, Colorectal Nurse Specialist. Produced as a service to the medical profession by Norgine Ltd. © Norgine group of companies.

Please speak to your GP, Nurse or Pharmacist for further advice.

Please always read the patient information leaflet in the pack of your medication.


  1. NHS. Constipation 20/12/2017.

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