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Constipation – good news for sufferers!

28 October 2013

Constipation is a common problem at all ages affecting twice as many women than men. It is more common in the elderly and pregnant females. In 2010-11 over 57,000 people were admitted to hospital in the UK due to constipation and in 2010 there were 103 deaths registered in England and Wales due to constipation.

Constipation is described as unsatisfactory emptying of the bowel because of infrequent stools, difficult stool passage or incomplete bowel emptying. Stools are often dry and hard, and may be abnormally large or abnormally small. Some people can experience chronic constipation without a cause which is also known as idiopathic or functional constipation. Constipation can also be caused by side effects of medication or certain medical conditions.

For an adult, having a bowel movement less than 3 times a week is a criterion for diagnosing constipation. Despite having an adequate intake of dietary fibre, adequate fluid intake and a good exercise regime some people continue to experience problems with having a regular bowel movement. Many people try every laxative available to purchase in the chemist or have prescribed treatment from their GP or nurse and still fail to achieve a regular pattern of emptying their bowels.

But here is the good news! A new drug, Lubiprostone (Amitiza) is to be made available in the UK from 1st November 2013. It will be prescribed for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation in adults (males and females) whose condition has not responded adequately to lifestyle changes (including dietary changes). Trial results suggest that some individuals noticed an improvement in their bowel emptying within 24 hours of starting the treatment.

If you require further information on Lubiprostone make an appointment with your GP or nurse to discuss whether the treatment may be appropriate for you.

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