Constipation: common causes and 5 ways to combat them

15th May, 2023
Common causes of constipations - 5 ways to combat them

Most of us have felt that uncomfortable feeling of being backed up at some point. Whether it’s a temporary tummy trouble or a longer-term issue.

If you’re struggling with your stools or you find yourself straining, we’ve got you covered.

What actually is constipation?

Constipation is essentially when you don’t poo often enough, or fully enough, or you have trouble when you do. If you poo less than 3 times in a week, it’s considered to be constipation (but going anywhere from 3 times a day to 3 times a week is considered normal!).

It varies from person to person. But there are two main types of constipation:

‘Slow transit’

This is when your food moves through your gut slowly. That means more water is taken out and absorbed into your – making your poo dry and hard.

‘Evacuation issues’

This is when your food moves through your tummy just fine, but your poo gets stuck at the final hurdle – meaning you struggle to actually ‘go’ at crunch time.

How do you know if you’re constipated?

Aside from the obvious sign that you haven’t delivered a poo to the loo recently, if you’re backed up, you might be feeling bloated, sick or have pain in your tummy. Constipation could also make you lose your appetite.

Constipation culprits

What’s causing your constipation? Well, this won’t be the same for everyone – so it’s super important to suss out your own triggers, based on your own body, lifestyle and diet.

Some of the common culprits include:

An imbalance of microbes in your tummy

Pelvic floor issues (like weak muscles or problems with the structure)

Side effects of some medications and supplements

IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)


Not doing enough exercise

Anxiety or stress

Ignoring the urge to poo

An unfamiliar environment




Not eating enough fibre

Not drinking enough liquid

A change in your eating habits


5 ways to combat constipation

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Water is essential for keeping everything moving   smoothly. Make sure you drink enough water   throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated. A   good way to tell if you’re drinking enough is to check the colour of your wee – if it’s pale, you’re on the right track!

2. Fill up on fibre

Fibre is your friend when it comes to combating constipation, as it helps to bulk up your stool and support smooth sailing through your digestive system. Aim to get plenty of fibre from plant foods like whole grains, veggies, fruit, and beans.                                                                                               

3. Kiwis are king

 Eating kiwis per day (without the skin) is one of the best ways to manage constipation and abdominal discomfort according to studies. If you don’t like kiwis, prunes are a great snack option when you’re feeling a bit backed up. Not only are they packed with fibre, but they also contain a sugar called sorbitol, which can act as a natural laxative.

4. Move your body

Getting regular exercise is important for so many parts of your health, including your digestion. Not getting enough exercise can put the breaks on your bowels, while moving your body helps to get your tummy muscles moving too.

5. Put your feet up

And we’re talking while you’re on the loo! The position you’re in when you’re on the porcelain throne can make a big difference when it comes to constipation. Putting your feet up on a stool gets you into a squatting position that can help to make it easier to pass your poo without straining.


*If you’re constipated for more than a few days or you’re getting any nasty pain, make sure to check in with your doctor. Don’t be embarrassed or let poo taboos get in your way - they’ve heard it all before!*

Read on to get more clarity on your constipation and how to check the causes…


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