What is constipation?


Constipation is when your stools (poo) become hard, dry and difficult to pass. You may feel you’re having to strain or sit on the toilet for much longer than usual. Not everyone has a bowel motion every day and there’s no clear ‘normal’ when it comes to how often you go. Bowel habits vary from more than once daily to 3 times a week, but people complain of constipation when they can’t go as easily or as often as they would like – which is generally fewer than 3 times a week.

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Constipation is a common condition

Constipation in adults is a common complaint that affects a lot of people. Anyone can be affected by constipation, but it’s more likely to occur as you become older or if you are pregnant. Even children experience constipation, particularly around the time of toilet training.

1 in 5 icon

Up to 1 in 5 adults
experience constipation
at some point.

While it’s not usually a serious condition, being constipated can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. It may be resolved simply by adjusting your diet to include more fibre and fluid and ensuring you have good bowel habits, however sometimes using a laxative such as a stool softener or bowel stimulant for a short time may be helpful.
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