WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

NHS Choices Condition

Content supplied by NHS Choices

Constipation is a very common condition. Your GP will rarely need to carry out any tests or procedures to confirm your diagnosis. Instead, they will usually diagnose your condition based on your medical history and your symptoms.

Your GP will ask you some questions about your bowel habits. Do not feel embarrassed about describing your bowel pattern and stools to your GP. It is important that your GP is aware of all of your symptoms so that they can make the correct diagnosis.

Your GP may also ask questions about your diet, your level of exercise, and whether there have been any recent changes in your routines, or lifestyle.

Physical examination

If your GP suspects that you may have faecal impaction (when dry, hard stools collect in your rectum) they may decide to carry out a physical examination.

A typical examination will begin with you lying on your back while the GP feels your abdomen. You will then lie on your side while the GP performs a rectal examination using a lubricated, gloved finger. This way your GP can feel for any stools which may have collected.

Your GP will rarely have to conduct an internal physical examination on a child. Instead, the diagnosis can normally be made by feeling their abdomen (tummy).

view information about Constipation on www.nhs.co.uk »

Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here