Harry: So what you're saying is that she may go for a couple of days without a bowel movement.
Sandy: Correct. She's been for tests, she's swallowed cameras, she's been in that tunnel thing and she's had blood tests. All the tests have come back normal.
Harry: But why did she have to go through all that? I presume that she's tried the most obvious thing and the most important thing and that is to have a high fibre diet.
Sandy: Absolutely. She's tried that, she drinks lots of water and she's actually also been on a weight loss programme.
Harry: I was going to say that the important measures are lifestyle measures. You've mentioned some of them - drinking a lot of water and losing weight. She must also do regular exercise especially to keep the abdominal muscles in tone. But most important of all is to have a high fibre diet - and that means really high. Some people need much more fibre than others. So, for example, she should not only have plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole-grain cereals, but she may also have to add fibre to her diet in the form of say, bran. This is very cheap and very easily available.
Sandy: Harry, she's actually tried all that stuff.
Harry: I hear what you're saying, but I just hope that in her particular case she's having twice as much as the ordinary person. Because some people do need much more fibre than others. And that basically should be the answer. Now if that fails, then I know that you want to start talking about using laxatives, but in general, that is not a good idea.
Sandy: No, she doesn't want to do that.
Harry: To become habituated to laxatives is not a good idea because there are many problems that can develop in time because you just flog the bowel and exhaust the bowel and that's not a good idea at all. Now very occasionally, there may be some kind of underlying disease causing the constipation and I presume that's why she's had all these tests. And then of course if you can find that disease and you can cure that disease, that will be the answer. But I must tell you that in the vast majority of cases, there is no underlying condition and we just can't find a cause.
Sandy: Okay, thanks very much.