Constipation Information
Article provided by the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

Constipation Information

Causes of Constipation
Constipation Diagnosis
Treatment of Constipation
Chronic Constipation
Constipation Relief


Constipation is passage of small amounts of hard, dry bowel movements, usually fewer than three times a week. People who are constipated may find it difficult and painful to have a bowel movement. Other symptoms of constipation include feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and sluggish.

Many people think they are constipated when, in fact, their bowel movements are regular. For example, some people believe they are constipated, or irregular, if they do not have a bowel movement every day. However, there is no right number of daily or weekly bowel movements. Normal may be three times a day or three times a week depending on the person. Also, some people naturally have firmer stools than others.

At one time or another, almost everyone gets constipated. Poor diet and lack of exercise are usually the causes. In most cases, constipation is temporary and not serious. Understanding its causes, prevention, and treatment will help most people find relief.


Who gets constipated?

According to the 1996 National Health Interview Survey, about 3 million people in the United States have frequent constipation. Those reporting constipation most often are women and adults age 65 and over. Pregnant women may have constipation, and it is a common problem following childbirth or surgery.

Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States, resulting in about 2 million doctor visits annually. However, most people treat themselves without seeking medical help, as is evident from the millions of dollars Americans spend on laxatives each year.

 

 

 

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