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Bowel Problems: Ways to Help Yourself

If you experience any of the bowel problems described, or any discomfort or pain, you should go to your GP to get a proper diagnosis.

There are some simple lifestyle changes you could make to try to reduce the likelihood of suffering from constipation and produce softer stools that are easier to pass. Your GP might recommend some of these steps.

  • Eat high-fibre foods such as fruit, vegetables and cereals.
  • Drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day.
  • Increase your activity levels so you do some exercise daily, such as going for a brisk walk.
  • When you need the toilet, go immediately if you can.

If you have had episodes of diarrhoea, it may be helpful to keep a food diary to take along to your GP appointment so that they can identify if any particular foods trigger your problem.

In some cases, your GP may suggest medication which can help treat your bowel problems.

If you need more information to help you understand and manage your bowel problem, visit our Further information section.

For more information on where to get help please visit our Where to get help section.


For a more detailed overview of how your bowel works, please visit our How the bowel works page.

For more information about the bowel and associated incontinence please visit our Common bowel problems and our Possible causes pages.