When you start talking about constipation you're sure to hear one of these...
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding constipation and the use of laxatives, and this can be really confusing. Some are true, but some are not, and here we try and provide some simple advice on the most common myths!
1Eating more fibre can help prevent the symptoms of constipation
Although some people find that eating lots of fibre rich foods helps prevent constipation, some people with severe constipation actually find it gets worse if they up their fibre intake. See what works for you.Close
2Not getting enough exercise can make you constipated
Older people especially tend to find that being inactive can lead to getting constipated, or make it worse. There are usually other factors as well though.Close
3Being constipated causes toxins to build-up in your body
Don't worry - experts say constipation doesn't cause a build-up of toxins in the body.Close
4Constipation can lead to bowel cancer
There's no evidence that constipation leads to bowel cancer either, but in some cases it can be a symptom of an obstruction somewhere in your intestines, so if you experience stomach pains or see traces of blood or mucus or in your stool, contact your doctor immediately. You could also contact www.BowelCancerUK.org.uk for adviceClose
5Women get constipated before their period
The experts say that hormones only play a small part in constipation, but some women swear that the time of the month affects how often they go to the loo.Close
6Women get constipated when they are pregnant
Pregnancy hormones do seem to affect the speed that food and waste travels through the gut, slowing it down and sometimes leading to constipation.Close
7It's possible to get dependent on laxatives
It's unlikely that taking the recommended number of laxatives will do you any harm. Although some people with chronic constipation find that they need laxatives to be able to go, most of the time, it's not because they've become 'tolerant' to them.Close
8Using laxatives can lead to 'rebound constipation'
There's no evidence that constipation comes back as soon as you stop taking laxatives for constipation.Close
9Laxatives are addictive
Some people can misuse laxatives but they aren't addictive.Close
10Laxatives help with weight loss
Categorically NO - they are used to treat constipation and do not cause weight loss. Taking a laxative where there is no need for constipation relief will merely result in the loss of water, salts and nothing more. Please talk to your GP if you have any concerns regarding the use of laxatives.Close