How To Identify And Prevent Constipation

To consider that a patient has constipation, they must meet two or more symptoms in more than 25% of the stools.

Constipation is one of the most frequent consultations in Primary Care. It is characterized by decreased bowel movements or difficulty in passing stool.

According to the Society of Digestology, to consider that a patient presents with constipation, he must meet two or more symptoms in more than 25% of the stools: hard stools, evacuating less than three times a week, excessive difficulty in evacuating, feeling of evacuation incomplete and feeling of obstruction.

There are two types of constipation depending on their duration:

  • Temporary constipation occurs temporarily and is caused by changes in diet or lifestyle, the effects of some medications, or lack of exercise.
  • Chronic constipation occurs for long periods of time.


Eating a healthy diet, rich in fiber, is one of the main recommendations to prevent constipation. It is also recommended to drink a lot of liquid (between 2 and 2.5 liters a day). On the other hand, you must reduce the intake of animal fats, butter, and industrial bakery products.

Regular physical activity and staying active is another way to fight constipation. For example, you can take advantage of commuting to and from work on foot or opt for sports such as cycling or swimming.

The Society of Digestology recommends maintaining a stool habit, that is, trying to evacuate at the same time of day and doing it in a relaxed way. Normally, the desire to evacuate occurs in the morning, just after breakfast, since it is the first meal of the day with which the intestine is put into operation after the night period.

Just as important is, according to the Digestive System Foundation, not resisting the urge to defecate. And it is proven that stopping the urge to go to the bathroom ends up suppressing the gastrocolic reflex and favoring constipation.

Likewise, avoiding toxic habits such as tobacco and alcohol are measures that also favor the intestinal habit.

In addition, as they recall from the Spanish Foundation of the Digestive System, overweight and obesity should be avoided, since both pathologies favor the slowdown of colonic motility and make rectal emptying more difficult, thus increasing the risk of suffering constipation