10 FAQs about constipation answered

We will all suffer from constipation at some stage in our lives. Whether it’s once-off or chronic, you might feel embarrassed to talk about it. Here are some frequently asked questions we addressed in previous articles:

1. When should I use laxatives?

Most cases of constipation do not last long, but it can still be uncomfortable and you might wonder if you should be taking something to clear up the problem. Luckily, most cases of constipation can be relieved without a laxative. Here are some tips on when you should and shouldn’t use laxatives.

2. When should I go to the doctor?

A case of constipation is hardly something that warrants a trip to the emergency room, but in some cases it may signal a serious digestive issue. Not sure when you should visit the doctor? This guide may help.

Woman consulting her doctor

3. How often should I poo?

This is a question many people may ask and there is no straight answer. The frequency of your bowel movements depends on many factors such as your diet. Here, a medical expert discusses how you should measure what’s normal for you – and what to do when it’s not.

constipation

4. What natural laxatives can I use?

Feeling slightly backed up and wanting to deal with it without heading to the pharmacy? In most cases of mild short-term constipation you can use natural remedies that are milder than over-the-counter versions to get your bowel movements back on track. This article can help you choose the remedy that's best for you.

woman drinking herbal tea

5. What can happen if I simply ignore my constipation?

Untreated constipation can have unpleasant consequences. While constipation usually clears up by itself; with the help of simple over-the-counter treatments, such as laxatives; or by dietary measures, such as a higher intake of fibre, it can become serious if not treated effectively. Here’s what could happen.

6. Is it normal to be constipated during my period?

Periods have a number of side-effects, which may differ from person to person. Apart from cramping and bloating, constipation may also pop up during that time of the month. Good news – you are not alone. This is nothing to be alarmed about, and there are some measures you can take to manage the problem.

7. I’m pregnant and constipated – what can I do?

Pregnancy is meant to be a happy, exciting time, but there are some unpleasant side-effects women may have to contend with. Constipation occurs in up to half of all pregnant women. Here’s a handy guide to help manage the situation.

8. What foods or drinks cause constipation?

There are a number of culprits that can interfere with your digestion. If you often experience constipation, you might want to take a look and see what to cut back on.

9. I eat loads of fibre, but I'm still constipated?

We are told that you should include more fibre in your diet. You are eating loads of oatmeal, vegetables and fresh fruit during a normal day, but you are still constipated. How is that possible? Too much fibre can indeed cause constipation. This is how it happens.

Fibre rich food

10. I recently started cutting out carbs and I’m constipated. Is it normal?

If you’re eating fewer carbohydrates than you’re used to, you’re probably also skimping on the insoluble fibre found in fruit, vegetables and whole-grain foods – the kind that adds bulk to your digestive tract and keeps things running smoothly. Here’s what you can do about constipation when you're following a low-carb diet (such as the keto-diet).

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