Are you feeling backed up? Follow this advice on how to relieve constipation, and when to go to the doctor about it
As many as one in ten people in the UK are suffering in silence with chronic constipation, despite it being a preventable and easily manageable illness.
"As many as one in ten people in the UK are suffering in silence with chronic constipation"
Coloplast, the continence and ostomy care specialist, has spoken to medical experts and consultants. They share their advice on how you can take better care of your bowels, and what to do if you think you could be suffering from constipation.
Assess your lifestyle
A balanced diet full of fresh fruit and veg can help prevent constipation
Small and simple diet and lifestyle changes go a long way. Aim to maintain a daily routine, to help establish a pattern when passing bowel movements.
Eating a balanced diet including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as keeping active will help your body digest. It is also important to try to eat regularly and not just have one meal a day.
Know what is "normal" for you
One person’s normal bowel movements might not be the same as another’s, but it’s important to spare a thought for how regularly you are going to the toilet and if there is any discomfort. Infrequent bowel movements, straining or passing hard stools often could indicate you are constipated.
Don’t ignore it
Ignoring the occasional urge to go to the toilet can result in your developing more permanent constipation later. Make sure you have enough time and privacy to pass stools comfortably when doing so.
See your GP sooner rather than later
If you have tried diet and lifestyle changes but are still suffering, it is a good idea to see your GP. Coloplast found that one in five people (19 per cent) said they would be embarrassed talking to their GP about constipation.
"Seeing your GP earlier can avoid an unnecessary trip to the hospital later down the line"
It’s important to not ignore bowel problems as they play an important role in your overall health and wellbeing. Your GP can offer advice about medication, products and methods suitable for you. Seeing your GP earlier can avoid an unnecessary trip to the hospital later down the line.
Know what can increase your risk
Check the side effects of your medications, as some can cause constipation
Constipation can be an unfortunate side effect of certain medications, as well as being a symptom of non-intestinal diseases (like thyroid problems, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc).
You're not alone
Constipation can happen to many of us, and around 2 million people suffer from chronic constipation. A third of women will experience constipation when pregnant and one in three children are affected at any one time. Don’t keep the problem to yourself, as there will be medication or products to help you.
Read more: Abdominal pains: When to see a doctor
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