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HealthInfo Canterbury

Constipation tests & diagnosis for adults

Most people don't need any tests for their doctor to diagnose constipation.

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions about how often you go to the toilet, what you eat, and how active you are. They may also examine you. This examination may include a check of your abdomen (tummy) to feel that your organs are normal and a check for faecal impaction, which means hard, dry poo collected in your rectum (or bottom).

If your doctor thinks that you may have faecal impaction, they may do a rectal examination. This involves putting one finger gently into your bottom (anus) to feel for hard poo.

Your doctor may also check you don't have any other disease or condition that might be causing your constipation. You might need a blood test.

If you are constipated, your GP can give you advice about eating and lifestyle measures to help you get over it and stop it from happening again. If these changes don't help, your doctor may prescribe a laxative.

On the next page: Dealing with constipation

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by GP liaison, Gastroenterology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed July 2017.


Page reference: 49603

Review key: HICSA-13804