La constipation chez l’adulte


Constipation is defined as the abnormally slowed progression of feces in the large intestine. The stools are hard and dry and it is difficult and painful to pass them. The frequency of bowel movements varies and is not necessarily indicative of constipation. Finally, constipation may be accompanied by gas, abdominal pain and a feeling of incomplete evacuation.ète.


There are many causes that can be associated with constipation. The main factors of constipation include mechanical obstructions eg. : anal fissure, neurological diseases ex. : depression, multiple sclerosis, metabolic diseases eg. : diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases ex. : irritable bowel syndrome and dietary causes, such as insufficient hydration or a low fiber diet.fibres.  

Goals of nutritional treatment

The nutritional treatment of constipation has three main goals: to increase stool volume, normalize intestinal transit and decrease intra-intestinal pressure.

Dietary recommendations

In terms of nutritional treatment, dietary recommendations may include:

  • Gradually increase dietary fiber intake until it is about double the amount usually consumed. Then, the recommended daily amount varies by age and sex. Increasing dietary fiber helps alleviate the symptoms of constipation because it increases the volume of stools as well as their water content, making it easier to pass them.ion.
  • Introduce foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, dried fruit which are particularly high in fiber, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Consume prunes and prune juice, which is rich in fiber and dihydroxyphenylisatin, a substance that is said to promote bowel movements.
  • If a dietary fiber supplement is used eg. : psyllium, consume it in several small doses during the day.e.
  • Maximize physical activity and optimize hydration by increasing fluid intake ex. : 2 L / day. Regular physical activity and adequate hydration help prevent bloating and gas that can occur with increased intake of dietary fiber.ires.
  • Re-educate intestinal transit. For example, trying to have a bowel movement at the same time each day, usually after breakfast..
  • Low FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (after diagnosis)


Specific issues

Dietary recommendations may vary if there are specific problems associated with constipation. For example, for anorectal disorders, such as hemorrhoids and anal fissures, it is more recommended to observe a diet low in fiber and high in fluid during the acute phase, followed by a diet rich in fiber during the remission phase..


The causes of constipation can be very varied: diet, medications, illnesses, etc. and they influence his treatment. When it comes to food, optimal fiber intake and proper hydration are key. Fiber helps regulate intestinal transit in particular, but it also has several other health benefits. Indeed, some studies show that they can also help to keep a healthy weight and to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Optimizing your fiber consumption is a winner!nt!



  1. Bouthillier, Lise. January 2019. Diseases of the digestive tract. NUT 2047 Clinical nutrition 2. Montreal: University of


Article written by:

Marie-Noël Marsan, Nutritionist