I feel as though there’s razor blades coming out of my bum!

CONSTIPATION is defined as fewer than three bowel movements per week. We disagree.

Woman with constipation or diarrhoea

We should be emptying our bowels at least once a day, and it should be a big, soft poo, easy to pass, no straining, and a medium brown colour. It shouldn’t have smooth surfaces. If it has, then there’s not enough fibre in your diet. You should be able to see the roughage in your poo.

If we are eating three meals a day, we should be emptying our bowels three times a day. However, how many of us actually achieve that. For most women, they’re lucky if they have one bowel movement every other day. This is not just down to low fibre, low fluid diet, but could be associated with the fact that we have different hormones to men, and we have more organs in our abdominal cavity – ovaries and uterus, so there’s quite a lot squashed in there.

The most common causes of constipation are lack of fibre, so aim to eat at least 5 portions of vegetables daily, and increase your fluid intake (water and herbal teas – tea and coffee don’t count) to 1.5 – 2 litres daily.

Don’t forget exercise too, such as walking or swimming to stimulate bowel activity.

A magnesium supplement can help relax the bowel muscles enabling them to empty wastes, and a daily probiotic that contains the bifidobacteria and lactobacilli strains. These help lower the pH of the bowel, stimulating contraction of the bowel, and helping to push wastes along.

When sitting on the loo, get your feet up on a stool or step, at least 6″ off the floor. This will help straighten out the rectum, allowing the poo to move through and out.


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