Constipation and science

Scientific Background About Constipation

Facts about digestion and constipation


The more you know about it, the less you worry about it. This is most certainly true for an issue like digestion: It simply describes the processing of ingested food in the digestive tract and the excretion of unusable material. In humans, digestion primarily takes place in the mouth, stomach, duodenum and small intestine. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are broken up with the help of digestive enzymes as part of the process. This results, among other things, in low-molecular sugar compounds, fatty acids and amino acids, which are partly converted into energy and partly used to modify and regenerate the body’s cell structures. The length of time needed to completely digest food, from eating to the time you stool, depends greatly on the individual, but the normal range varies from eight hours to three days.

Constipation: diagnosis

Constipation occurs when you have difficulty passing a stool when you go to the toilet or if you go infrequently (less than 3 times per week). There are many possible causes: alongside pathological changes in the bowels, the main catalysts are high levels of fat and sugar in addition to a lack of fibre in the diet and a lack of liquids. A lack of exercise also makes constipation more likely to develop. There are many issues that lead to constipation, but the main point is that constipation causes discomfort and pain on the toilet.

Constipation: Prevalence

If you suffer from constipation, you're in huge company. It’s a common condition affecting over 2.5 million people in Australia 1. However, because many people prefer not to discuss digestion problems and do not seek treatment, the actual number could be considerably higher.


If you’re worried about something or have a problem, talk to your family and friends about it and work out a solution. If you often find yourself under a lot of pressure, consider learning one or more relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga. Always remember, no job is more important than your health.

1.) Galaxy Research, Constipation Omnibus. Palin Communications February 2011