What is Constipation?

Woman lying on a sofa in discomfortConstipation means that bowel movements are difficult to have or occur less often than normal. For many, the number of bowel movements varies by person, but three per week is considered normal.

Occasional constipation is common, but chronic constipation can affect a person's daily routine.

What Causes Constipation?

Constipation occurs when stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract and cannot be passed. The stool then becomes hard and dry and more difficult to eliminate.

Chronic constipation could be linked to several reasons, including diet, an underlying medical condition, or a blockage in the colon or rectum.

What are the Symptoms of Constipation?

Constipation symptoms include:

  • Difficult or infrequent bowel movements
  • Straining
  • Lumpy or hard stools
  • Feeling that your bowels are not fully emptied

What is the Treatment for Constipation?

In most cases, constipation can be treated at home by eating a well-balanced diet, including high-fiber foods, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly. Over-the-counter medications may also be taken, such as a stool softener or laxative, and prescription medication may be needed. If constipation is caused by structural problems in the colon, your doctor may recommend surgery.

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