This images shows a box of Laxido laxative sachets. The colours are a light orange for the wording on a white background

What Causes Constipation?

This images shows a box of Laxido laxative sachets. The colours are a light orange for the wording on a white background

What causes constipation?

What causes constipation is probably something we have all questioned at some point in our lives.

Most, if not all of us will have had the occasional bout of constipation. That bloated, full, uncomfortable feeling of needing to go for a poo but not being able to. The feeling is overwhelming really, causing discomfort and loss of energy and appetite.

Constipation in the elderly is commonplace and they tend to worry about it more than younger people would.

Our bowel movement habits differ.

Our bowel movement habits are all different and vary from twice a day to three times a week.

When you eat food it passes through the colon or large intestine and absorbs water. It does this whilst forming stools (AKA poos)
The muscle contractions in the colon push the stool toward the rectum. Constipation occurs when the stools are too hard and dry to move there.

What causes us to get constipated?

The leading cause is lack of water, our bodies dehydrate easily. To avoid constipation you need to up your fluid intake, preferably water.
Lack of dietary fibre, fibre is found in green veg, wholemeal foods, nuts and fruit such as oranges.
A lack of exercise. Long periods of inactivity and sitting increase the chances of becoming constipated.
Some medications including those with codeine and morphine derivatives.
Alcohol – Alcohol dehydrates your body.

Solutions to Constipation and  How to avoid it. 

Drink more fluids, water is always best

Eat more fruit and veg if possible. Apricots, prunes and figs are very high in fibre
Increase your activity levels.
Add olive oil to salads

Over-the-counter solutions to relieve constipation.

If you cannot relieve your constipation with diet, exercise and increased fluid intake you may want to try an over-the-counter remedy. There are several available ranging from Fybrogel which is a powder you add to water and drink to syrup of figs

If your constipation is causing distress or pain and the over-the-counter products don’t help, contact your GP.


Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.


  1. Thanks very much for your article on constipation. I shall certainly take your advice. (Being 74, I think I’ve reached that elderly bracket)!

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