• Constipation is very common – one in seven people report symptoms of constipation.
  • If you struggle to empty your bowels or you open your bowels infrequently, you may be constipated. Dry, hard and small pellet-shaped stools are another sign of constipation.
  • Constipation can lead to stomach discomfort, nausea and fatigue.

Constipation: All Tied Up?

Constipation can be caused by…

Lack of Dietary Fibre

A special type of fibre called insoluble fibre absorbs water in your bowel and adds bulk to your stool. This is what keeps you regular – without enough insoluble fbre, you may become constipated.

Insufficient Water Intake

You may be constipated if you don’t drink enough water, even if your diet is high in fibre. Fibre draws water into your digestive tract and softens the stool. Without enough water, the bulk in your digestive tract will be hard and difcult to move.

Inactivity

Exercise strengthens the muscles of your digestive system and gets them working, speeding up the transit time of the contents in your bowel.

bristol-stool-chart

Six Tips to Get Things Moving with Constipation

1. Switch to wholegrains.

Rolled oats, brown rice, and wholemeal pasta are higher in fibre than their refined white counterparts. Choose wholegrain options wherever possible.

2. Aim for two and five.

Fruit and vegetables are particularly rich in fibre, especially the skins – so throw away your veggie peeler! Your target is two fruits and five veggies a day.

3. Try psyllium.

With more than 80% fibre, a little bit of psyllium goes a long way. Sprinkle a small amount over your cereal, add it to a smoothie, or fold it through banana bread batter.

4. Opt for legumes.

Beans, chickpeas and lentils are high in fibre and super economical, so they’re a win-win. Try baked beans for breakfast, a chickpea salad for lunch or dhal made from lentils for
dinner.

5. Drink enough water.

Females should aim for eight cups a day, and for men, that quota is bumped up to ten.