Constipation can be a common problem, but many people find it embarrassing to discuss. Loss of appetite, poorly controlled pain and nausea can all lead to constipation. A lack of fibre (roughage) in your diet, low fluid intake and being less mobile can also contribute. Some medicines can cause constipation, particularly the painkillers morphine and codeine. If you’re taking regular painkillers, you may need a laxative to help prevent constipation.
Everyone’s normal bowel pattern is different, but as a general guide you should let your doctor or nurse know if you’ve not had a bowel movement for three days, unless this is usual for you.
Signs of constipation include:
- Having less frequent bowel movements
- Your stools becoming harder
- Straining to pass motions
- A feeling of not having emptied your bowel but being unable to pass any more stool
- Your tummy becoming bloated or uncomfortable