Causes of Constipation

Published on January 26, 2022

Constipation is a very common digestive condition that affects 1 in 5 Australians. It can cause symptoms such as straining to pass a stool, passing a hard stool and the sensation that your bowel hasn’t fully emptied after going to the toilet.

What causes constipation?

Multiple factors may cause constipation; these can range from structural issues with the bowel, stress, medication use and diet.

Lifestyle causes of constipation

Several lifestyle factors can have a negative influence on your digestion. These include:

  • Not enough fluids— Not drinking enough fluids or drinking the wrong types of fluids can dehydrate your body and lead to a harder, drier stool, which can be painful and difficult to pass. Avoid excess alcohol or caffeine as they can contribute to dehydration.
  • Inactivity — When your body is sluggish, so is your bowel. This can lead to the stool spending a longer time in your gut, where it becomes drier and more compact.
  • Ignoring the urge — Not going to the toilet when the urge strikes means the stool spends a longer time in the gut, where it becomes more compact and harder to pass.
  • Low-fibre diet— Eating a diet high in processed foods usually means you’re eating a diet low in fibre. Fibre is important to help add bulk to the stool and help the stool’s transit through the bowel.

Medical causes of constipation

Certain medical conditions can increase your susceptibility to constipation. Some of these conditions are:

  • Slow transit — Some people naturally pass motions less often than most people, as it takes food longer to move through the bowel. Minor changes in routine are more likely to cause constipation in these people.
  • Anorectal issues — A tear in the lining of the anus (anal fissure) or an obstruction of the rectum or anus (such as haemorrhoids) can lead to constipation.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) — IBS symptoms can include constipation.

How to Relieve Constipation

Start to relieve constipation with diet and lifestyle changes such as regularly eating fibre-rich foods and fitting more exercise into your routine. It’s recommended to always check with your doctor or dietitian before increasing fibre intake.

If constipation affects you or any family member, the Dulco range of products could be helpful. The Dulco range includes Dulcolax Tablets and Dulcolax SP Drops that provide clinically proven relief from constipation. Dulcolax are effective in 20-45 minutes [PP1] [NN/2] [NN/3] for predictable relief from constipation and DulcoSoft Oral Solution Powder, a powder clinically proven to relieve constipation, that softens hard stool and gently relieves constipation in 24-48 hours.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.


Learn about which Dulcolax product may be appropriate for you.


Categorised in: