What causes it?
  • Side effects of drugs, especially painkillers
  • A low-fibre diet
  • Not drinking enough fluid
  • Not eating enough
  • Being less active
How to treat
  • Drink more fluids
  • Increase the amount of fibre in the diet
  • Treatment with oral laxatives
  • Suppositories or enemas (if required)
  • Gentle exercise

Tips to help prevent and relieve constipation

The following tips are based on the experience of health professionals and women themselves:

  • do gentle exercise – ask your doctor, nurse or physiotherapist about exercises you can do even if you are in bed or sitting down for much of the day
  • eat fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains
  • abdominal massage can be helpful
  • drink more water or other fluids.