What is Constipation?

Constipation is a very common condition that affects people of all ages, sizes and races. It usually means that your digestive system isn’t working as regularly or frequently as it should. The severity of constipation varies from person to person, and can reduce quality of life 1. The incidence of constipation typically arises with age 2,3.

One in five adults report that they have constipation.4

1. De Lillo AR and Rose S. Functional bowel disorders in the geriatric patient: Constipation, fecal impaction, and fecal incontinence. Am J Gastroenterol 2000;95(4):901–5. 2. Mugie SM, Benninga MA and Di Lorenzo C. Epidemiology of constipation in children and adults: A systematic review. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol 2011;25(1):3–18. 3. Fosnes GS, Lydersen S and Ferup PG. Drugs and constipation in elderly in nursing homes: What is the relation? Gastroenterol Res Pract 2012;2012: 290231. 4. http://members.gesa.org.au/membes/files/Consumer%20Information/Constipation.pdf

Feeling blocked? Let’s get you moving.
Try our Symptom Checker to find the best solution for you.
Start
Question 1
How many litres of water do you drink a day?
1L
2L
3L
person holding glass of water
Question 1

Women should have about two litres of fluids a day, and men about 2.6 litres.*

Dehydration due to reduced fluid intake, nausea and/or vomiting may result in fewer or more difficult bowel movements.**

* https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/water-a-vital-nutrient
** Shin GH, Toto EL and Schey R. Pregnancy and postpartum bowel changes: constipation and fecal incontinence. AM J Gastroenterol 2015;110(4):521–9.
Question 2
How many servings of vegetables do you consume a day? 1 standard serving = 75g
None
1-3 servings
3-5 servings
More than 5 servings
arrangement of vegetables on a table
Question 2
A minimum of 5 servings of vegetables per day for adults is ideal.*
* https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/dietary-behaviour/latest-release
Question 3
How many servings of fruit do you consume a day?
None
1 serving
2 servings
More than 2 servings
fruits and berries in yoghurt
Question 3

A minimum of 2 servings of fruits per day for adults is ideal.*

Most fruits will help ease constipation. Berries, peaches, apricots, plums, raisins, rhubarb, and prunes are just some of the fruits that may help. Do not peel fruits that have edible skins, because a lot of the fiber is in the skin.**

* https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/dietary-behaviour/latest-release
** https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000120.htm
Question 4
How often do you eat fast foods?
Never
Once a week
Twice a week
More than twice a week
fried unhealthy food including burger and donuts being picked at with hands
Question 4
Diets low in fibre and high in saturated fat can cause constipation.*
* Taba Taba Vakili, S., Nezami, B. G., Shetty, A., Chetty, V. K., & Srinivasan, S. (2015). Association of high dietary saturated fat intake and uncontrolled diabetes with constipation: evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Question 5
How often do you exercise?
None
1-2 times a week
More than twice a week
At least 5 days a week
two women running on a racing track
Question 5
Regular exercise is important for regular bowel movements.*
* https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/common-causes-of-constipation
Question 6
Are you currently taking any medications that can cause bowel irregularities?
Yes
No
hand holding pills
Question 6
Constipation can be a common side effect of some medicines. Talk to your healthcare professional for advice on how to manage medicine induced constipation.
Question 7
In the last 3 days, has your bowel movement been consistent with your ordinary patterns?
Yes
No
roll of toilet paper held in a hand
Question 7
There is no generally accepted number of times a person should poop. As a broad rule, pooping anywhere from three times a day to three times a week can be considered normal.
Question 8
Are you pregnant?
Yes
No
woman holding her pregnant belly
Question 8
Around 40% women in their second or third trimester experience constipation.*
* Kuronen M, Hantunen S, Alanne L et al . Pregnancy, puerperium and perinatal constipation – an observational hybrid survey on pregnant and postpartum women and their age-matched non-pregnant controls. BJOG 2021;128(6):1057–1064.
Question 9
Do you have issues consuming tablets?
Yes
No
We recommend Prunelax Tablets for predictable relief of mild constipation.
buy now
Prunelax regular
This medicine may not be right for you. Please read the label before purchase. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.
We recommend Prunelax Smooth for predictable relief of mild constipation.
buy now
Prunelax smooth
This medicine may not be right for you. Please read the label before purchase. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

Symptoms

  • Few bowel movements
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Hard or small stools
  • Sense of incompleteness
  • Swollen or abdominal pain

Some foods that increase constipation

  • Dairy products
  • Red meat
  • Fast food
  • Frozen meals
  • Processed food
  • Caffeine
  • High-carbohydrate diet

Causes

  • Drastic changes in diet or activities
  • Not enough time
  • Resisting the urge
  • Pregnancy
  • Low-fiber diet
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Some medications (ask your healthcare professional if you are in doubt)
  • Hormonal changes (e.g. menopause)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Stress and anxiety

If you have suffered from constipation for a long time, we recommend you visit your healthcare professional.