Although it is the subject of many jokes, there is nothing funny about constipation. It is uncomfortable, can leave you feeling miserable, and in certain cases can even be dangerous. If you’re suffering from constipation, don’t be shy. Our friendly and discreet pharmacists know how distressing constipation can be, and can help you find the right treatment.

Have a read below to find out more about constipation.

What is constipation?

Constipation is characterised by bowel movements that are infrequent or difficult to pass. Constipation can vary greatly, most people only experience constipation for a brief period of time - with complications and long-term health problems very unlikely to occur. The number of bowel movements generally decreases with age, most adults have one bowel movement a day but this pattern varies greatly.

What causes constipation?

Constipation is a very common condition that most people become familiar with at some time in their lives. Constipation has several causes including;

  • Many medications including antidepressants, antipsychotics and iron supplements and laxatives
  • Not eating enough fibre such as vegetables and fruit
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Ignoring the urge to pass stools
  • Immobility or lack of exercise
  • Anxiety or stress

What relieves constipation?

Thankfully most constipation can be treated by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle.

  • Increase your water intake by two to three glasses a day
  • Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables over time
  • Exercise at least three times a week
  • Never ignore the urge to go to the toilet

If these changes do not help, you can try over the counter medications such as;

  • Stool softeners – these help draw water into the bowel, softening and bulking stool and making it easier to pass
  • Laxatives – these speed up the movement of your bowels by stimulating the nerves that control the muscles lining your digestive tract
  • Suppositories or enemas – these are inserted up the back passage and may contain lubricating and stimulating agents, which will help the passage of hard, impacted stool

Have a private chat with your local CarePlus Pharmacist to find out which treatment is best for you.