It is normal to open our bowels anything from 3 times a day to every 3rd day. If, when you open your bowels, you are able to pass stool easily, even if it has been several days and this is normal for you, then this is fine. If you have not been for a few days or longer and you have to strain to empty, or the stool is very hard, then you are constipated.

Constipation can cause many issues such as:

- Pelvic organ prolapse 

- Haemorrhoids

- Worsening bladder symptoms

- Bloating

- Abdominal discomfort

- Hormonal imbalances (as excess hormones are removed in the stools)


What causes constipation?

- Pregnancy (bowels slow down)

- Overactive pelvic floor

- Change in diet

- Not enough water

- Poor quality diet

- Stress

- Change in routine


How to improve constipation?

- Have a good quality diet with plenty of fruit and veg. Adding a small amount of flax seeds to your breakfast or yogurt helps to increase fibre content.

- Ensure you are drinking plenty of fluids: ideally 1 ½ -2 Litres of water.

- A shot glass of prune juice before bed and a hot drink first thing in the morning helps to stimulate the bowels.

- Sitting correctly on the toilet to empty bowels: Use a small step or upturned bowl to put your feet on so your knees are higher than your hips and lean forward relaxing your elbows on your thighs. Relax your stomach and push with your diaphragm.

- Regular exercise helps to stimulate the bowels.

- If you are still unable to empty your bowels, see your GP as you may need some laxatives




If you have an unexplained change in bowel habits, are passing blood or have blood in your stool, you should contact your GP as soon as possible.