Constipation is a reduction in the number of defecations (bowel movements), accompanied by hard, dry, small stools, relative to the norm for the individual. Normal frequency varies from three bowel movements per day to three per week.

‘Normal’ Stools

There is a wide ‘normal’ range – a thing many people, especially the elderly and young mothers, do not understand. Hard, uncomfortable stools are a better indication when deciding that a person is constipated.

Changes in Bowel Habit

Any sudden change in bowel habit that has lasted for 2 weeks or more should not be treated lightly. Try to determine what exactly the bowel habit is NOW and how this differs form what is USUAL.

Other Symptoms

Note the presence of any other symptoms (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, blood in stools) and discuss these with the pharmacist. Think about any recent diet change, and if in doubt about how to improve your diet talk to any member of staff in one of our pharmacies.