Hard poo


Let’s yarn about this

Cover picture

Hard poo (constipation)

Constipation is having trouble pushing hard and dry poo (faeces) out of the bowel (back passage).

The bowel is the tube that takes the food from the stomach through the body.

It is normal to poo 1, 2 or 3 times in a day.

One poo every 3 days is okay too.


Hard poo is a problem because:

  • Pushing out hard poo weakens the muscles that hold in the pee and poo. Weak muscles can cause the bladder and bowel to leak.
  • Pushing can cause small lumps (called haemorrhoids) just inside your bottom which can bleed and get sore.
  • Hard poo in the bowel can press on the bladder (pee bag) and upset it. Sometimes this can make you rush to the toilet to pee a lot. You might not make it. Sometimes this can stop the pee from coming out.
hard poo

Hard poo

Normal poosoft poo

Hard poo can get worse if you:

  • eat the wrong foods
  • are not drinking enough water
  • have other diseases such as cancer
  • are sad or worried, and
  • don’t do as much moving around the yard as you did before.

Go to the toilet the first time you feel you need to poo.
Don’t put it off. This feeling is often about a half an hour after food (usually breakfast).

Drink water

How to stop getting hard poo

  • Eat more fibre to keep your bowel clean and working well.
  • Fibre helps the poo move through the body.
  • Try to drink about 6 mugs of water a day. This can help keep the poo soft.
  • Take a walk every day. Walk to the shop, swim or kick a football with the kids.
  • Any exercise helps the poo move through the body.
Man and woman walking
  • If you don’t get feelings you want to do a poo, you can sit on the toilet about half an hour after meals. The poo is often ready to come out then.
  • Sit down on the toilet, lean forward and relax with the stomach muscles pushed out. Breathe slowly and try not to push, grunt or strain.
  • Some tablets can cause hard poo. Keep taking your tablets but talk to your doctor about this.
Sitting on the toilet

Good foods to stop getting hard poo

  • Fibre stops poo from getting hard.
  • Fibre is in fresh fruit (such as pears and kiwi fruit) and vegetables (such as carrots and peas)
  • Frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables are good too.
Eat more vegetables
  • Nuts, seeds, grainy breads, brown rice and cereals are also high in fibre.
  • Dried soup mix and different beans are good fibre to mix into stews or soups.
  • Baked beans, kidney beans and green beans also have a lot of fibre.
Eat more nuts and vegetables

Tell your doctor or health worker if you have any changes to your poo, such as:

  • you have hard poo or runny poo (diarrhoea)
  • you have pain
  • you see any blood in the poo, and
  • the poo leaks out.

These things can mean you have another problem with your bowel. If you do, it is best to start treatment straight away to fix it.


Talk to your health worker, nurse or doctor

Who can help?

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service
  • Health workers
  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • National Continence Helpline Freecall™ 1800 33 00 66
Talk about your problem
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This series of brochures has been developed by the Continence Foundation of Australia and funded under
the Australian Government’s National Continence Management Strategy.

Indigenous artwork created by Georgina Altona and Warwick Keen.
Other illustrations by JAT Illustrational and Fusebox Design.

© 2010


All information in this publication is correct as at August 2012

D0914August 2012