General Article Feeling bunged up? Don’t let poo be a taboo

Topic Selected: Adolescent Health Book Volume: 395

By Katie Powell

Poor bowel health can be debilitating, so educating and getting people talking about their bowel habits is vital. A reported one in five people are too embarrassed to even talk to their GP about constipation, confirming that poo chat can be a taboo subject for many. Opening your bowels is a normal bodily function and something that each and every one of us does - so let’s chat about constipation.

What is constipation?

Constipation is a well-known term - however research found that one in five people believe that constipation is when you open your bowels less than once a day. The general consensus however (and included as part of the Rome IV Diagnostic Criteria for Constipation) is that it is defined as: 

  • Having a poo less than three times a week 
  • Straining or being in pain when you have a poo
  • When poo is often large and dry, hard or lumpy 

The Bristol Stool Chart is also a useful diagnostic tool. It is widely used across healthcare settings and can help patients co...

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