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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is constipation?
Constipation is when you are not passing stools on a regular basis, or they are difficult to pass. Most people will have constipation at some stage in their life and in most cases it is not serious. In general, passing a stool less than twice a week is considered …
Can constipation affect any age group?
Although constipation is more commonly seen in the elderly, it can affect anyone, at any age. Young children often get constipation; this usually passes when they drink more water and eat foods with more dietary fibre.
What are the symptoms of constipation?
Symptoms of constipation include: spending long periods of time on the toilet, having to push and strain to pass a stool; always feeling as if the stool isn’t 'complete' and is often hard or painful to pass; abdominal (tummy) bloating, pain, and …
Does my diet cause constipation?
A diet low in fibre and high in processed, refined foods such as cakes, dairy products and some meats can cause constipation. To help ease constipation, increase the amount of unprocessed fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods you eat. Try brown rice …
Can medication cause constipation?
Yes, some medications such as antacids (for stomach acidity), strong painkillers, antidepressants and iron supplements can cause constipation. Check with your doctor if you think this may be causing your constipation.
Can constipation be a warning sign of a more serious condition?
Very rarely, constipation is a sign of a more serious condition. Constipation with pain or bleeding when passing a stool could be a warning sign of colon cancer, especially in people over 50 years of age, but it is also a sign …
What medications are available for constipation?
If lifestyle changes don't help your constipation, many people turn to medications such as laxatives or enemas to help move their bowels. These should not be used all the time though, as they make your bowels become less efficient.
What if laxatives don't work?
If laxatives have not worked to move impacted (built-up) stools, your doctor may suggest physically removing these in a non-surgical treatment. This involves inserting a gloved finger into the anal passage to break up impacted faeces. An enema (liquid) will …
About this article
Author: Karen McCloskey BHSc
First answered: 23 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 08 Nov 2018
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Votes: 643 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: Irritable bowel syndrome