Making changes to diet and lifestyle should be the first point of call for treating constipation:
Make changes to your diet:
- Try high-fibre recipes, to bulk-up your stools and make them easier to pass
- Drink plenty of water and try to avoid alcohol
Increase your physical activity:
Try to introduce some light exercise into your daily routine; whether that is a 30-minute walk, a session at the gym, or some relaxing yoga; whatever works for you.
Helpful toilet routines:
- Try to keep to a regular, unhurried toilet routine, giving yourself plenty of time to use the toilet
- If you feel the urge to poo, do not delay it and prioritise going to the bathroom as soon as possible
- To make it easier for you to poo, try resting your feet on a low stool while going to the toilet. If possible, raise your knees above your hips.
If you have tried all the above and are still feeling constipated, your doctor may recommend that you treat with what's called a 'bulk-forming' laxative first. An example of bulk-forming laxatives are ones that contain an active called Ispaghula Husk. Ispaghula husk adds bulk to your stool and makes it easier to pass, working with your body to gently relieve constipation. Remember to also drink plenty of water.
If your stools are soft, but are difficult to pass, consider using an osmotic laxative, which contain actives such as Macrogol.
If you are still showing symptoms of constipation after trying ‘bulk forming’ and ‘osmotic’ laxatives, you could try a stimulant laxative1. For example, laxatives that contain Senna. These are for short-term use only. If symptoms persist after 3 days of using, consult your GP.
You should not be afraid to seek help from your doctor, nurse or pharmacist as there are many types of constipation remedies available.