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    Constipation means that a person has three or fewer bowel movements in a week. The stool can be hard and dry. Sometimes it is painful to pass. At one time or another, almost everyone gets constipated. In most cases, it lasts a short time and is not serious.

    There are many things you can do to prevent constipation. They include

    • Eating more fruits, vegetables and grains, which are high in fiber
    • Drinking plenty of water and other liquids
    • Getting enough exercise
    • Taking time to have a bowel movement when you need to
    • Using laxatives only if your doctor says you should
    • Asking your doctor if medicines you take may cause constipation

    It's not important that you have a bowel movement every day. If your bowel habits change, however, check with your doctor.

    NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

    Symptoms of Constipation

    The following features are indicative of Constipation:
    • few bowel movements
    • pain
    • cramping
    • swelling in the abdomen
    • appetite loss
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • inability to urinate
    • confusion
    It is possible that Constipation shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
    References: 1, 2

    Common Causes of Constipation

    The following are the most common causes of Constipation:
    • insufficient dietary fiber intake
    • inadequate fluid intake
    • lack of physical activity
    • side effects of medications
    • hypothyroidism
    • obstruction by colorectal cancer
    References: 3, 4

    Risk Factors of Constipation

    The following factors may increase the likelihood of Constipation:
    • not drinking enough water
    • low fiber diet intake
    • being woman
    • lack of physical activity
    • mental health conditions
    • older adults

    Prevention of Constipation

    Yes, it may be possible to prevent Constipation. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
    • adequate fluid intake
    • eating more fruits and vegetables
    • high-fiber diet intake
    • exercise regularly
    References: 5

    Occurrence of Constipation.

    Degree of Occurrence

    The following are number of Constipation cases seen each year worldwide:
    • Very common > 10 Million cases

    Common Age Group

    Constipation most commonly occurs in the following age group:
    • Can happen at any age

    Common Gender

    Constipation most commonly occurs in the following gender:
    • Not gender specific
    References: 3

    Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Constipation

    The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Constipation:
    • Blood test: To evaluate for certain conditions that can cause constipation
    • Sigmoidoscopy: To examine the rectum and the lower portion of your colon
    • Colonoscopy: To view the entire colon with a flexible, camera-equipped tube
    • Anorectal manometry: To measure the coordination of the muscles
    • Balloon expulsion test: To measures the amount of time it takes to push out a balloon that has been filled with water and placed in the rectum
    • Colonic transit study: To record the progress of the capsule through the colon
    • Defecography: To diagnose the problems with muscle function and muscle coordination
    • Magnetic resonance imaging defecography: To visualize and assess the function of the defecation muscles
    References: 6, 7

    Doctor for Diagnosis of Constipation:

    Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Constipation:
    • Gastroenterologist
    • General practitioner

    Complications of Constipation if Untreated

    Yes, Constipation causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Constipation is left untreated:
    • bowel obstruction
    • may become life threatening
    • internal damage to the intestine or rectum
    • hemorrhoids
    • anal fissures
    • rectal prolapse
    • fecal impaction
    References: 2, 3

    Procedures for Treatment of Constipation

    The following procedures are used to treat Constipation:
    • Surgery: To remove a part of colon
    • Biofeedback training: To pass stool more easily
    References: 8

    Self-care for Constipation

    The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Constipation:
    • Increase fiber intake: Helps increasing the weight of stool and speeds its passage through intestines
    • Exercise most days of the week: Helps increasing muscle activity in intestine
    References: 9

    Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Constipation

    The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Constipation:
    • Use probiotic such as bifidobacterium: Helps in treating constipation
    • Acupuncture therapy: May be helpful in treating constipation
    References: 8

    Patient Support for Treatment of Constipation

    The following actions may help Constipation patients:
    • Education: Helps improving emotional functions
    • Psychosocial support: Help people with COPD and their carers better manage the condition
    References: 10

    Is Constipation Infectious?

    Yes, Constipation is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
    References: 3

    Related Topics - Constipation

    Questions - Constipation

    Constipation can be associated with your menstrual cycle. Premenstrual syndrome is a wide range of symptoms that start approximately 14 days after the first day of your last menstrual period and tend to go away 1-2 days after your period starts. These symptoms include bloating, breast tenderness, headache, diarrhea or constipation among others. The exact cause of these symptoms is not known, but it can be due to changes in hormone levels. Women between the ages of 20 to 40 years, with a personal or family history of depression, who have had a child or who have a history of postpartum depression are more likely to experience these symptoms.
    1. Premenstrual Syndrome. MedlinePlus. URL: Accessed April 14, 2018.
    Share the link to this answer
    Lower back pain is not a common symptom of constipation. Common symptoms of constipation include less than normal bowel movements, stool that is hard to pass, and/or abdominal pain/bloating. Adding fiber to the diet, physical activity, and increasing fluid intake can aid in preventing constipation. Constipation is often treated with a laxative.
    1. Constipation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. URL: Accessed March 18, 2018.
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    I'm looking to get a medicine that can help control the chronic and severe pain of my Opioid-Induced Constipation. My OIC is caused by using high doses of Oxycodone and Fentanyl Patches to deal with the excruciatingly painful aftermath of Chronic Pancreatitis Surgery. Nearly 10 years ago I had a Pancreaticoduodenectomy, commonly known as a Whipple procedure. Although it was the only option to save my life it has left me in more pain than I was suffering from the eventual fatal disease of Chronic Pancreatitis if a resection of my Pancreas wasn't done.
    Yes, Movantik is available in Australia. The drug is available in two strengths: MOVANTIK naloxegol (as oxalate) 12.5 mg and 25 mg film-coated tablet blister pack under the sponsor named as AstraZeneca Pty Ltd.It is available in medical stores but needs prescription to take. It is helpful to cure the Opioid-Induced Constipation.
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    1. Plackett TP, Myers J, Gagliano RA. Constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome complicating asymptomatic nonrotation of the midgut. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2010;110(8):437-40 - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    2. American Society of Clinical Oncology Constipation - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    3. Wikipedia Constipation - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    4. Mayo Clinic Constipation - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    5. NIH Treatment for Constipation - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    6. Mayo Clinic Constipation - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    7. Mayo Clinic Constipation - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    8. Mayo Clinic Constipation - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    9. Mayo Clinic Constipation - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    10. AIHW What interventions are used to treat COPD? - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    11. Source:

    Last updated date

    This page was last updated on 8/07/2018.
    This page provides information for Constipation.

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