Signs you’re constipated include:
Constipation is a common condition. At any time, one in seven adults is constipated, with women twice as likely to be affected as men. It’s also estimated that one in three children suffers from constipation, often linked to toilet training. Irritable bowel syndrome can also cause constipation, and you can experience abdominal pain or anal pain.
You’re more likely to suffer from constipation as you get older. It's also common during pregnancy and after having a baby.
Constipation may happen suddenly and only for a short time (acute) or may be gradual and long-term (chronic). However, whether acute or chronic constipation, simple lifestyle and diet changes usually bring constipation relief.
It’s often difficult to pinpoint the cause of acute or chronic constipation, but common reasons include:
Very occasionally, severe constipation can be a symptom of a medical condition, including:
If you have severe constipation which is affecting your life or there’s blood in your stools, see your GP.
Your GP will discuss your symptoms and medical history with you and may carry out a physical examination.
Your GP may refer you for further tests, such as:
Your GP may also refer you to a gastroenterologist, a consultant who specialises in the digestive system.
In most cases, simple changes to your diet and lifestyle should bring constipation relief. Home remedies for constipation include:
If you continue to be constipated, your GP might prescribe laxatives or another medication. Your GP might also refer you to a dietitian for specialist advice about constipation relief.