Diet and Food

Bowel Problems

How the bowel functions

The digestive system pushes food through the intestines, which usually takes between 24 to 72 hours. Muscular contractions squeeze (peristalsis) the food through the different sections of the intestine. These various sections are separated by bands of muscles or sphincters, which act as valves.

The passage of food from one area of the intestines to another is coordinated. Food stays in a specific place for long enough for the gut to do a particular job – absorb fluids and nutrients or process and expel waste.

There are videos about how the bowel works and how bowel incontinence and chronic constipation impact transit.


Speak to your GP

When preparing for an appointment with your GP, it is helpful to share information on what you have been experiencing to date. Your self-assessment and information pack will give you the necessary details to help your GP understand this.

Things to remember

Never feel embarrassed or think you are alone. As you make arrangements to see your GP, it’s essential to understand that around 2 million people are suffering from chronic constipation – people just like you who are seeking help.

Some treatments work. With the proper treatment and support, you can soon be enjoying a good bowel management routine that allows you to live life to the full.

Give it time. Once you have visited your GP and have been recommended treatment, it is helpful to evaluate how things are going and if the treatment you are on task with proves successful. It is important to remember that some treatments may take time to take effect. If you are still experiencing symptoms of chronic constipation after a phase of treatment, we strongly recommend you revisit your GP to discuss an alternative.

Take time to watch this video to find out more about bowel problems

Further support

Contact us to discuss your experiences.

If you would like to discuss your treatment and gain further help, don’t hesitate to contact us. One of our specialist advisors will be able to advise in total discretion on what your next steps could be.

Alternatives to your GP

If you prefer not to discuss treatment options with your GP, you might want to talk to a local continence advisor.