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About constipation

Click on each question below to find out more about constipation and its causes.


Constipation means having less frequent bowel movements than usual (and fewer than 3 per week), having difficulty passing stools or feeling like the bowel doesn't empty properly.

The stools may be dry, hard and lumpy, or much larger than usual. Customers may say that they feel bloated or sick, and may have stomach pain.


There are many potential causes including:

  • Low fibre diet
  • Changes in routine
  • Ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Certain medicines e.g. iron supplements, opioids
  • Medical conditions e.g. IBS, stress, anxiety, depression
  • Pregnancy

Did you know that constipation is more common in women, the elderly and during pregnancy?1