Constipation causes hundreds of admissions at Salisbury hospital

Constipation causes hundreds of admissions at Salisbury hospital

Published by Mike Draper at 5:44am 24th June 2019.

It's a sensitive topic, but NHS figures have revealed problem poo has been putting a strain on the city's hospital.

New research has found the public's idea of how to identify the problem of constipation differs significantly from that of doctors.

That means many people are missing out on help they need.

It caused hundreds of hospital admissions at the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. According to data from the NHS last year there were:

  • 745 hospital admissions for constipation at the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust in 2017-18
  • 185 cases in which it was the primary reason for admission
  • 560 cases in which constipation was a secondary diagnosis
 The NHS says constipation has a variety of causes, including diet, not drinking enough fluids, lack of exercise and stress
Having trouble pooing? Constipation has a variety of causes, including diet, not drinking enough fluids, and stress

DO YOU HAVE DIFFICULTY POOING?

In a recent study, researchers at King's College London found almost a third of patients, who were clinically constipated, did not recognise it.

It also showed that less than a third of people thought infrequent bowel movements were an important sign of being blocked up, compared to 41% of GPs and around 65% of specialist doctors.

Dr Eirini Dimidi, lead author of the study, said:

"Accurately identifying a condition is at the root of good care. Currently prescription medication for constipation fails in nearly 60% of patients and almost half report not being satisfied with their treatment."

She added that the findings showed a need for the way constipation is diagnosed to be refined.

745 hospital admissions for constipation at the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust in 2017-18
745 hospital admissions for constipation at the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust in 2017-18

HOW TO RECOGNISE SIGNS OF CONSTIPATION

The researchers said six key symptoms should be used to spot constipation:

  • You or your child haven't had a poo at least 3 times in a week
  • The poo is difficult to push out
  • Your poo is and larger than usual, dry, hard or lumpy
  • Stomach discomfort, pain and bloating
  • Rectal discomfort
  • Infrequent bowel movements and hard stools
  • Sensory dysfunction (not having the urge to go or not feeling relieved after having done so)
  • Bad wind and bloating
  • Faecal incontinence

WATCH - NHS ADVICE TO HELP PREVENT CONSTIPATION

Across England, there were almost 300,000 hospital admissions for constipation in 2017-18. Of these, 68,000 were a primary diagnosis, and 230,000 were as a secondary diagnosis.

The NHS says constipation has a variety of causes, including diet, not drinking enough fluids, lack of exercise and stress.

KEEPING WELL ON THE INSIDE

To help encourage bowel movement the NHS recommends you should:

  • Eat more fibre
  • Drink more fluids but avoid alcohol
  • Be more active
Try to get more fibre and fluids into your diet
Try to get more fibre and fluids into your diet

An NHS spokesperson said:

"Day or night, there are plenty of ways the NHS can help for any illness or problem, and our Long Term Plan will make getting help even more convenient."

"Evening and weekend GP appointments are now available across the country, while pharmacists are trained medical professionals and can advise on a range of minor illnesses out of hours, and if you're not sure what service you need, NHS 111 is available by phone and online 24 hours a day."

There is also information about constipation on the NHS website www.nhs.uk

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