Chronic Constipation

Discover what causes constipation—and what you can do about it.

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What is chronic constipation?

Constipation means you find it difficult to go to the loo. You may have a bowel movement—but you have to strain to do it. Or you may go days without passing anything at all.

It’s frustrating, uncomfortable and it can affect your mood. You may even find yourself becoming reliant on laxatives.

Fortunately, there are many evidence-based ways to tackle chronic constipation.

What causes chronic constipation?

There’s no single cause for constipation. Some factors are:


Small intestine bacterial overgrowth can produce gas that leads to constipation. Dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance in the large intestine) can influence constipation too.

Chronic stress.

Too much of the stress hormone, cortisol, can disturb the digestive system and contribute to constipation.

Low water intake.

If your body is dehydrated, it will take water from your large intestine (colon). This can make your poop dry and difficult to pass.

Low fibre intake.

Fibre bulks up the stool. Too little fibre can mean your poop is insufficiently formed, resulting in a slow transit time.


This is a condition in which you don’t have enough thyroid hormone available. This slows everything down, contributing to constipation.

Neuromuscular issues.

Your intestines move poop through (and out) via a series of signals that involve your nerves and hormones. If your nerves aren’t working properly, constipation can result.

Find out how to tackle your constipation, speak to our experts

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3 natural remedies for chronic constipation

Start with three simple steps:


Drink 2 litres of water daily.

It’s best to drink your first glass immediately on waking.

Water for hydration

Get moving.

Gentle exercise can help kick your digestion into gear.

Cycling for movement

Eat at least 30g of fibre daily.

This helps to bulk out your stool. Good sources include vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, beans and legumes.

Scales showing 30g of fibre

Or take our free online symptom survey:

Healthpath can help you to identify what’s going on:

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Related conditions

Constipation is associated with other conditions: