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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
  • 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
  • by eating more fruits and vegetables
  • high-fiber diet
  • exercises
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 increases 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:
  • Bifidobacterium: Helps in treating constipation
  • Lactobacillus: Helps treating constipation
  • Acupuncture: 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

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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Demographic Information - Constipation

Following is the demographic information reported by website visitors for Constipation. Information below may include patient demographics as well as data for website visitors who might be researching on behalf of patients e.g. parents for small children. The data below may or may not be reflective of the complete patient population demographics for this medicine/health topic.
User gender
43 out of 55 users are male.
Survey Participants: 55
User age
The most common user is < 21 years old.
< 2113
Survey Participants: 49
User reported disease
Users most commonly suffer from Other.
Back pain3
High blood pressure3
Survey Participants: 26
User exercise frequency
Users most commonly exercise once a week.
Once a week23
Twice a week6
Five times a week1
Survey Participants: 44
User smoking habit
46 out of 63 users do not smoke.
Do not smoke46
Survey Participants: 63
User alcohol consumption frequency
Users most commonly reported never consuming alcohol
One drink a day0
Two drinks a day1
More than two drinks a day3
Once a week1
Twice a week3
Once a month10
Survey Participants: 45
User body weight
21 out of 54 users report being overweight.
Not overweight33
Survey Participants: 54
User well-being
24 out of 48 users report having significant pain in the last 3 months.
Significant pain in the last 3 months24
No significant pain in the last 3 months24
Survey Participants: 48
User profession
The most common user profession is Student.
Engineer, IT or Software6
House Maker3
Survey Participants: 32


  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 12/13/2017.
This page provides information for Constipation in English.

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