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Constipation - Acute, Subacute and Chronic Constipation; Bowel Movement, Defecation
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One of the most frequent bowel problems that people experience today is constipation. Why is the Colon Cleansing so important? Check it out.

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Constipation
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DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
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Causes

Normally, the waste products of digestion are propelled through your intestines by muscle contractions. In the large intestine, most of the water and salt in this mixture are reabsorbed because they're essential for many of your body's functions. If too much water is absorbed, or if the waste moves too slowly, you may become constipated.

A number of factors can cause an intestinal slowdown, including inadequate fluid intake, a low-fiber diet, inattention to bowel habits, age, lack of physical activity, depression, pregnancy, illness — even stress.

Many medications, especially those used to treat Parkinson's disease, high blood pressure, some heart disorders and depression also can cause constipation. The same is true of most narcotics. And frequent use of laxatives often aggravates and may even cause constipation.

In rare cases constipation may signal more serious medical conditions such as colorectal cancer, hormonal or electrolyte disturbances, heart disease and kidney failure.

Sometimes young children are constipated because they forget to take time to use the toilet. And your toddler might become constipated during toilet training if he or she is afraid or unwilling to use the toilet.

Risk factors

You're more likely to have problems with constipation if you're an older adult, are sedentary or bedridden, eat a diet that's low in fiber or don't drink enough fluids. You're also at risk if you take certain medications, including sedatives or narcotics, or are having chemotherapy.

If you're pregnant, you may have bouts of constipation because your digestion slows so that your body can get more nutrients from your food. Later in your pregnancy, pressure on your intestines from your uterus also can cause constipation.

When to seek medical advice

See your doctor if you experience a recent, unexplained onset of constipation or change in bowel habits, or any of the following symptoms, which might indicate a more serious health condition:

  • Bowel movements just once or twice a week, despite changes in diet or exercise

  • Intense abdominal pain

  • Blood in your stool

Constipation > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/14/08 11:01 PM