How does lifestyle trigger constipation?

Your lifestyle can have a huge impact on the way your body functions. That includes your digestive system. When life gets hectic, stress levels can rise. You're also more likely to 'grab and go' when you're busy, not eating the right foods, and you may have no time for regular exercise. Thankfully, your body sends you signals when it's not happy. This is your sign that your daily habits need to change.

On this page, you'll find lots of constipation lifestyle advice to help you take control and get back on track.

Which everyday habits can cause constipation?

When you know what's causing your constipation symptoms, you can do something about it. So, let’s see how your daily habits can trigger discomfort in your body.

Inadequate diet

Not eating enough high-fibre foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can cause constipation. Eating a lot of high-fat meats, prepared food1, dairy products and eggs, or rich desserts and sugary sweets may also make you feel blocked up.


Stress impacts your body in a number of ways. This includes constipation. Whether you’re experiencing stress at work or in a relationship, your digestive system can pay the price. Emotional stress can cause tummy ache and change your bowel habits2.

Being inactive

Moving your body on the outside keeps things moving inside. It can be difficult to stay active when you’re taking care of your family, working long hours, or if you're stuck at home. And long periods in bed after illness or surgery are well known for causing constipation.

How does your lifestyle cause occasional constipation?

Constipation symptoms could be a sign your body is lacking what it needs to function properly. Take a look at the impact an inadequate diet or a busy lifestyle can have on your body:

Some constipation lifestyle advice to move things along

To feel more comfortable, you need to start by looking at your daily habits - and what you might need to change. But don't worry, you don't need to change all your habits at once. Take it step by step, and see how your body reacts to each change you make.

Frequently Asked Questions

When we start talking constipation, the same questions often pop up. Here they are, along with the answers.

  • Science has shown that stress disorders and constipation often occur together. Studies show a slower rate of motility (speed of transit of food) through the colon in patients who have anxiety. But we don't yet know what comes first - the anxiety or the constipation. A theory put forward to explain the link between stress and constipation involves the enteric nervous system and the gut-brain axis6.

    The enteric nervous system (ENS) or ‘second brain’ is a series of nerves that line the digestive tract. These nerves, consisting of millions of neurons, control the digestion of food. In states of stress and anxiety, disruption to the ENS-brain connection reduces motility through the gastrointestinal tract. And this leads to constipation. This represents a malfunctioning of the ‘gut-brain axis’, which connects the gut to the brain7.

    But how are disruptions in the gut-brain axis caused by stress and anxiety? Anxiety may restrict the function of the smooth muscle and cause constipation. Alternatively, stress that isn't dealt with may be ‘internalised’ and lead to changes in gut-brain signalling. Problems with the gut-brain axis may also be linked with irritable bowel syndrome8.

The Dulco® range

Dulco® products help get your digestive system moving. There are different types of relief available: gradual relief, overnight relief and fast relief. And all help your mind and body feel lighter, brighter and clearer.

Stay in the know

Constipation can be bothersome and persistent. And because we know how frustrating it can be, we can help you identify the causes of your constipation and how to prevent it.

    1. Basilisco G, Coletta M. Chronic constipation: a critical review. Dig Liver Dis. 2013 Nov;45(11):886-93.

    2. Soares RL. Irritable bowel syndrome: a clinical review. World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Sep 14;20(34):12144-60.

    3. MayoClinic 2019 Accessed 14/11/2022

    4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Constipation. 2018

    5. ODPHP (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of disease prevention and health promotion). Health Care Providers: Talk to your patients about physical activity, 2018

    6. Jessurun JG, van Harten PN, Egberts TC, Pijl YJ, Wilting I, Tenback DE. The Relation between Psychiatric Diagnoses and Constipation in Hospitalized Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study. Psychiatry J. 2016;2016:2459693.

    7. Mindsethealth - Anxiety and Constipation - Can Stress Cause Constipation? 2019 Accessed 14/11/2022

    8. Furness JB. The enteric nervous system and neurogastroenterology. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Mar 6;9(5):286-94.