The perennial problem of constipation is still best treated with simple measures such as improving diet, mild exercise and adequate fluid intake.
- Constipation is common, particularly in women and in those aged over 65 years.
- A thorough history and physical examination is required to assess patients with constipation.
- Many patients with constipation respond to increased fibre and fluids.
- Check for medications that may cause the constipation.
- Fibre supplements and laxatives are useful in people who do not respond to dietary change.
- A simple rule of thumb for calculating the amount in grams of daily fibre that is adequate for children is the child’s age plus five.