Change in Bowel Habit

Causes The commonest are bowel infections but there may be dietary factors such as alcohol. Constipation can happen for no reason but may be caused by changes in routine or diet. It is more common in the elderly.  

Treatment The safest way to regulate the way your bowels work is to adjust the amount of roughage or non-digestible fibre in your diet. Roughage increases the bulk and softness of the stools and most comes from:



     Cereals that contain wheat fibre

     Wholemeal brown bread 


If you are going to the toilet less frequently to pass harder, drier stools eat more roughage -  if you are going too often with looser stools eat less fibre.

Important: Foods that contain little non-digestible fibre - potatoes, white rice and pasta, certain cereals such as cornflakes and rice crispies and salads such as tomatoes and lettuce. 

If simple dietary adjustments don’t work then try taking laxatives or bowel sedatives - see constipation and diarrhoea in this section.

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