Join or find out more
Become a member
Tel: {{healthcare_number}} Tel: 0800 414 8001

10am-4pm, Mon - Fri

Accessing services - Members
Tel: {{}} Tel: 0800 414 8100

10am to 4pm, Mon-Fri

Member helplines
(For existing members)
24/7 GP Helpline
Tel: {{}} Tel: 0800 414 8247
Mental Health Helpline
Tel: {{}} Tel: 0800 414 8247

Open 24 hours, 7 days a week

Business enquiries
Find out more

For Business

Request a call back

Business enquires 

Submit your details


5 Ways to Keep Regular Bowel Movements

As many as one in five of us is plagued by constipation, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

It affects twice as many women as men and older people are five times more likely than younger adults to suffer from constipation.

Constipation is when you poo fewer than three times a week – and when you do go, your stool is larger than usual, hard to push out, and dry, hard or lumpy. If you’re constipated, you may also feel bloated or nauseous and have a stomach ache.

Most of us can make some simple lifestyle changes to help us keep regular. Here are 5 things to try if you are frequently constipated:

1. Eat more fibre
Fibre can be found in all plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. Opt for wholegrain bread, pasta and cereals, and eat plenty of fruit and veg every day. If you suddenly increase your fibre, you may get a bloated tummy or wind. Increasing how much water and fluids you drink can help to dissipate this.

2. Drink more
When you’re constipated, your stools often become hard. Water can help to keep your poos soft, but too much caffeine or alcohol can have a dehydrating effect, so limit these.

3. Go for a walk
Lack of exercise can slow the natural movement of faeces in the bowel, leading to constipation. As with its many benefits for good health, exercise is good for keeping you regular. A brisk walk, swim or even some gardening can help to keep things moving.

4. Listen to your body
Sometimes we put off going to the toilet if we’re in a strange place or are busy. This can exacerbate constipation. It’s important to go when you feel the urge or to set aside a regular time for a poo, such as after breakfast.

5. Try to relax
Certain situations can bring on constipation – for example, a change of diet while you’re on holiday or travelling, or less easy access to a toilet while you’re away from the home. It’s important to try to relax and give yourself time to go to the loo. If you’re regularly stressed or anxious, this can also affect your bowel movements, so try to address the causes of your stress.