Constipation affects most people from time to time and can vary from being infrequent to being a chronic, long term condition.
A few different conditions and factors related to diabetes may increase the likelihood of experiencing constipation.Symptoms
Signs of constipation include passing stools infrequently, and passing hard stools that can involve straining.
Constipation can cause problems if it leads to:
- Stomach pains
- Discomfort or difficulty in passing stools
There are a number of possible causes of constipation.
A common cause is a change in diet, particularly related to a reduction in intake of insoluble fibre.
Other causes may include:
- Lack of hydration
- Autonomic neuropathy
- Coeliac disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Colorectal cancer
- Certain medications
Medications that may result in constipation include antidepressants, water tablets and calcium or iron supplements.
It is common for women in the early stages of pregnancy to experience constipation.Treating constipation with diet
Constipation can be eased through dietary changes. The NHS notes that many people in the UK don’t eat enough fibre. The recommendation is to eat between 18g and 30g of fibre a day.
Insoluble fibre, as found in whole grains, vegetables and fruit, is particularly recommended for helping to move food through the gut. Keeping well hydrated will help to keep stools softer.