Constipation is a common disorder characterized by retention of faeces in the colon beyond the normal emptying time. The frequency of bowel movement varies considerably from person to person and the normal cannot be precisely defined.
There are a number of causes of constipation:
- Low fibre diets.
- Nervous tension.
- Changes in routine e.g. travel.
- Prolonged use of laxatives.
- Inadequate fluid intake.
- Lack of exercise.
General measures such as improved dietary habits are usually sufficient to remedy the situation.
The diet should include:
- Whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables
- Sufficient fluid.
However, if chronic constipation persists, supplemental products that increase stool bulk may be necessary. Using laxatives and enemas on a regular basis should be avoided.