Constipation

:: Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week.

Bonum / Conditions / Constipation

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of chronic constipation include:

  • Feeling as though there’s a blockage in your rectum that prevents bowel movements
  • Straining to have bowel movements
  • Feeling as though you can’t completely empty the stool from your rectum
  • Passing fewer than three stools a week
  • Having lumpy or hard stools
  • Needing help to empty your rectum
man-with-constipation

Overview

Chronic constipation is infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer. Though occasional constipation is very common, some people experience chronic constipation that can interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks. Chronic constipation may also cause excessive straining to have a bowel movement and other signs and symptoms. Treatment for chronic constipation depends in part on the underlying cause. However, in some cases, a cause is never found.

Prevention

The following can help you avoid developing chronic constipation:

  • Include plenty of high-fiber foods in your diet, including beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grain cereals and bran.
  • Eat fewer foods with low amounts of fiber such as processed foods, and dairy and meat products.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Stay as active as possible and try to get regular exercise.
  • Try to manage stress.
  • Don’t ignore the urge to pass stool.
  • Try to create a regular schedule for bowel movements, especially after a meal.
  • Make sure children who begin to eat solid foods get plenty of fiber in their diets.

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