Supporting People With Constipation

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Constipation can affect people of all ages, though it is more common in people over 65.

Constipation is having the following two things:

  • not having bowel movements (known as faeces, stools or poo) more than twice in one week
  • having to strain (push) hard stools or feeling that the bowel movement wasn’t complete

Making sure you poo often is important for staying healthy. It plays a big role in how you feel (physically and emotionally) whilst also removing waste from your body.

Preventing constipation

Simple changes to diet and lifestyle can help treat and prevent constipation. These include:



Drinking waterDrinking water<div class="ExternalClassA29315F7D94C4895B1684ECA6B1B630B"><div class="text"><p>Not drinking enough water (being dehydrated) is one of the reasons why people may become constipated.</p><p>It's recommended that an adult should be drinking between six and eight glasses of water a day (this may increase in hot weather).</p> </div></div>
Eating the right foodEating the right food<div class="ExternalClass5E16999294DB42F0BA38B487103E3268"><div class="text"><p>Food that contains a lot of water like fresh fruits, vegetables and some dairy products, can be an important part of a persons fluid intake, as can drinking tea or coffee.</p><p>Encouraging people to eat the right kinds of food is important too. Foods like Weetabix and prunes can help people go to the toilet.</p></div></div>
Being activeBeing active<div class="ExternalClass5D7769D105CC4C389B15E709F68CB530"><div class="text"><p>Remember to be active. Helping residents to move about as much as possible will help their digestion.</p> </div></div>
Going to the toiletGoing to the toilet<div class="ExternalClassB5EC50E5E57F4C06B1B1E5936BC05769"><div class="text"><p>It’s important to remember that when a person needs to go to the toilet, then they probably need to go there and then. Don’t delay. </p><p>For some people it may help to squat rather than sitting on the toilet. Using a small footrest can help with this.</p> </div></div>

Changes in poo

If anything appears unusual or different (like blood in the poo, or a change in the poo) make sure to tell a senior member of staff.

It may help to record when a resident has a stool movement and the type of stool that they had. A teaching hospital in Bristol created a guide to record this. However this should only be done if it is in their care/support plan.

If a person is taking a prescribed medication to help with the constipation, make sure that the guidance is followed to help with this.

Resources to help support a person with constipation

NHS website - support for constipationExternal link Nice Guidance of managing constipationExternal link