It’s not uncommon and shouldn’t be a surprise that men can become constipated too. Women are more prone to constipation, this could be because of their hormones, but if you get it, you’ll want to know how to relieve it. There may not be an actual reason; it could just be one of those things. Or it could be that you're:
Not eating enough fibre
We don't want to nag you about your eating habits, but if you don't eat enough fibre you could end up constipated. Get more fibre by eating fruit and vegetables, pulses and wholegrains.
Not exercising enough
You need to get up and get moving because the more you sit still, the worse it can get.
Getting stressed out
Feeling a bit stressed out? It might be affecting your gut. If you're struggling with money worries, relationship dramas or grief at work, it can have a knock on effect on your digestive system, as can long term stress.
Our bodies are creatures of habit and so a change in your normal daily routine can affect your toilet habits. If you've been stressing about going to the toilet on a long journey, it can have an effect. New places, eating different types of food or getting dehydrated when you're abroad can all leave you constipated too.
Getting older (and wiser!)
As you get older, the muscles in your gut might not work as well as they used to, which means food takes longer to pass through your system.
Constipation can be a side effect with some drugs, including painkillers, some blood pressure drugs and antacids.
If you're getting constipated after taking a new medicine, speak to your pharmacist or your doctor about your medication, but don't change doses or stop taking it without taking medical advice first.
What can I do about it?
Change your lifestyle
The first thing you need to do is look at your lifestyle, honestly, and see if you can make any changes, however small. Follow our diet and lifestyle tips to find out about the tweaks you can make to your everyday routine, and it's OK, you don't have to take up running or eat salad with everything!
If the lifestyle changes don't make any difference and you're still finding passing stools painful, uncomfortable, or are just not going to the toilet at all, you can treat constipation with medicine.
If you feel like you might need to take something you can use our Treatment Advisor to see what's best for you, and find out all about the Dulcolax range of treatments.
In a very few number of cases constipation can also be a symptom of an obstruction somewhere, so if you experience stomach pains or see traces of blood or mucus contact your doctor immediately.
Constipation alone is not a symptom of bowel cancer but if you are experiencing unusual or unexpected changes then you must first visit your GP. Although you might feel embarrassed to talk about them, it is important to get checked out by your doctor.
If you have worries then this organisation may be able to help www.BowelCancerUK.org.uk.