Constipation:Constipation is characterised by difficulty or infrequency in opening your bowels1. You may be suffering from constipation if you2:
- Open your bowels less than 3 times per week
- Pass large and dry, hard or lumpy stools
- Regularly strain or are in pain when passing a stool
This may be accompanied by stomach aches, feeling bloated or sick.
There are several causes of constipation, that can be categorised as1:
- Primary, where there is no underlying medical cause. This type of constipation is largely associated with lifestyle factors.
- Secondary, caused by medical conditions such as cerebral palsy or diabetes mellitus
- Iatrogenic, caused by side effects of medications
VSL# Fibre is specifically designed for people with primary constipation (e.g. related to lifestyle factors), and could be especially useful for those experiencing recurrent episodes of constipation. If you are unsure about the cause of your constipation, you should seek advice from a healthcare professional. For more information and general advice on constipation, visit Constipation | Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Support | Guts UK (gutscharity.org.uk)
Lifestyle management of constipation:
Constipation can be caused or exacerbated by any of the following lifestyle factors2:
- Lack of fibre in the diet (e.g. from fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals)
- Dehydration, or not drinking enough fluids
- Lack of exercise, activity, not moving enough
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- Making changes to your diet or daily routine (for example when you’re on holiday)
- Ignoring the need to go to the toilet
Constipation is also common in pregnancy, for 6 weeks after giving birth, and while breastfeeding.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to help manage your symptoms of constipation2-3:
For more information on how to manage constipation through lifestyle changes, visit Feeling bunged up? Don’t let poo be a taboo | British Dietetic Association (BDA)
- Public Health England: Constipation: making reasonable adjustments - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) (accessed May 2022)
- NHS Choices: Constipation - NHS (www.nhs.uk) (accessed May 2022)
- British Dietetic Association Feeling bunged up? Don’t let poo be a taboo | British Dietetic Association (BDA) (accessed May 2022)