What causes constipation?
Your stools are mostly made up of fibre, so rapid changes in the amount of fibre you eat can vary the frequency and hardness of your stools.
You may experience constipation just from eating more takeaways, or by significant changes to your diet such as going vegetarian or trying a gluten-free, paleo or low-carb diet. Going on holidays and eating different food can also cause constipation.
Fibre draws water into your bowel to soften the waste products. Increasing the fibre you eat without drinking more water can cause your stools to harden and become more difficult to pass.
Stress is also a common trigger for constipation. During times of anxiety, blood flow is redirected away from your gut, which slows down digestion and sometimes leads to constipation.
You may also become constipated by sitting for long periods; or by taking medications, such as antidepressants, diuretics and anti-epileptics. Iron or calcium supplements can have this effect, too. Drink more, but only in the morning to early afternoon, to avoid visits to the bathroom during the night.