Public Health England (PHE) guidance on managing constipation in people with learning disabilities

 In Clinical Guidelines, Mental Health, NHSE Guidance

Constipation is much more prevalent in people with learning disabilities compared to those without. This is thought to be because they are more likely to have a poorer diet and are less physically mobile than others. PHE suggest people get constipated for the following reasons:

  • Inadequate diet and fluid intake
  • Reduced mobility and lack of exercise
  • Side effects of certain medication
  • Anxiety or depression

PHE offer the following ways to help alleviate constipation:

  • Improve diet and exercise – eat more fibre, drink more water and exercise more often.
  • Toileting – take an appropriate seating position and relax.
  • Physical health and medication review
  • Abdominal massage
  • Leadership – carers need to be trained to recognise the symptoms.
  • Monitoring
  • Laxatives – however they shouldn’t be used long-term.

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