What is it?
Constipation is the infrequent passage of hard faeces, usually with some difficulty or pain.
Symptoms: Difficult and infrequent passing if feaces. Abdominal discomfort.
Causes: A diet low in fibre is the most common cause. Low fluid intake, certain medicines, particularly medicines containing codeine or iron. Pregnancy, Piles, anal Fissures, laxative abuse and lack of physical movement and exercise.
Treatment in the home: Increase the fibre in your diet by including foods such as high-fibre cereals, wholewheat bread, peas, beans, apricots and bananas. Drink more fluids. Laxatives are one of the most commonly used medicines. Although helpful, do not use regularly without consulting your doctor.
Possible complications: Piles, anal fissure, diverticular disease.
When to consult a doctor: If constipation does not respond to home treatment. If faecal blockage occurs
What the doctor may do: Prescribe bulking supplements, laxatives or suppositories. Give dietary advice.