Constipation is a condition which provides a source for much toilet humour. But be careful where you direct your wit: constipation is believed to affect one in seven adults in the UK, and your joke might hit closer to home than intended.
The causes of constipation can be broadly split into ‘functional’, such as blockages and obstructions, and ‘neurogenic’, brought on by conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or spinal cord injury. Many medicines also have constipation as a side-effect.
If you have occasional problems, a visit to your local pharmacy may provide a solution. Reviewing your diet and using a bulking agent, such as ispaghula husk, taken with plenty of water, might help move things along.
But if you have two or more of the following symptoms for over three months, then it’s best to make a visit to your GP. Symptoms to watch for are: straining when on the loo, lumpy or hard stools, a feeling of incomplete evacuation, or of blockage.
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