Recognising constipation

Everyone’s different, but a ‘normal’ bowel habit is described as passing a stool that is soft and formed, with a frequency of between three times per day and three times per week. Most people should be able to go without straining or delay, and have a sense of complete evacuation. A normal bowel evacuation is usually passed within a minute of sitting down on the toilet,* and there shouldn’t be any discomfort.

*Continence Foundation of Australia: : last accessed on 9 May 2013

The Bristol Stool Scale - a useful tool to help assess levels of constipation

If your poo most closely resembles Type 1 or 2 on the chart below, you are probably constipated, and should consider doing something about it. It’s time to speak to a healthcare professional or try a treatment like MOVICOL® which is available over the counter from pharmacies. Why MOVICOL?


Adapted from concept by Professor DCA Candy and Emma Davey, based on the Bristol Stool Form Scale produced by Dr KW Heaton, Reader in Medicine at the University of Bristol. © 2000 Norgine Limited.