About Constipation

Constipation occurs when a person's digestive system for one reason or another fails to function properly resulting in the disruption of regularity. Constipation can affect people of all age groups and is more common than some people may believe. In fact, nearly 20% of Australians suffer often or very often from constipation1. In most circumstances a balanced diet is all that is needed to stay regular and avoid constipation. But, no matter how healthy the lifestyle, at times we may experience constipation.


  • About Constipation
  • Constipation Symptoms
  • Causes of Constipation
    • The causes of constipation may vary for each individual. The following points outline the main causes of constipation.

      A Poorly Balanced or Low-fibre Diet

      Regular consumption of fibre rich foods like fruit & vegetables, cereals, bran and bread helps to maintain regularity. The body does not absorb fibre so it travels through the system to the bowel, where it provides 'bulk' for the bowel motion. Fibre also absorbs water, making the motion soft and easier to pass.

      Insufficient Fluid Intake

      Water makes the bowel motion soft and easier to pass. With insufficient fluid intake, bowel motions become hard and dry, causing pain during a bowel motion.

      A Lack of Exercise

      Exercise helps the muscles work to move the waste through the system. Often when people are sick or in hospital, they experience constipation due to lack of exercise.

      Certain Medications

      Some medicine may cause constipation eg analgesics, such as codeine and morphine, some antacids, iron and calcium supplements. Please seek the advice of your GP or pharmacist.

      Change in Routine

      When the normal body clock is disrupted, e.g when travelling, this can upset the routine bowel habits and result in constipation. Suppressing the need to go to the toilet can also lead to constipation.

  • Tips to Prevent Constipation
  • Constipation Treatment Options
  • When to See Your Doctor
  • What is Normal?
  • Travel tips
  • Constipation During Pregnancy & While Breastfeeding
1. BPT Boehringer Ingelheim, 7/15 -12/15. Constipation/Irregularity sufferers.

Causes of Constipation

The causes of constipation may vary for each individual. The following points outline the main causes of constipation.


A Poorly Balanced or Low-fibre Diet

Regular consumption of fibre rich foods like fruit & vegetables, cereals, bran and bread helps to maintain regularity. The body does not absorb fibre so it travels through the system to the bowel, where it provides 'bulk' for the bowel motion. Fibre also absorbs water, making the motion soft and easier to pass.


Insufficient Fluid Intake

Water makes the bowel motion soft and easier to pass. With insufficient fluid intake, bowel motions become hard and dry, causing pain during a bowel motion.


A Lack of Exercise

Exercise helps the muscles work to move the waste through the system. Often when people are sick or in hospital, they experience constipation due to lack of exercise.


Certain Medications

Some medicine may cause constipation eg analgesics, such as codeine and morphine, some antacids, iron and calcium supplements. Please seek the advice of your GP or pharmacist.


Change in Routine

When the normal body clock is disrupted, e.g when travelling, this can upset the routine bowel habits and result in constipation. Suppressing the need to go to the toilet can also lead to constipation.

Learn more about these common constipation-related topics