Constipation Home > Important Facts About Constipation

Key Points About Constipation

Key information about constipation includes the following:
 
  • It affects almost everyone at one time or another.
     
  • Many people think they are constipated when, in fact, their bowel movements are regular.
     
  • The most common causes of constipation are poor diet and lack of exercise.
     
  • Additional causes of constipation include medications, irritable bowel syndrome, abuse of laxatives, and specific diseases.
     
  • A medical history and physical examination may be the only diagnostic tests needed before the doctor suggests treatment.
     
  • In most cases, following these simple tips will help relieve symptoms and prevent recurrence of constipation:

 

    • Eat a well-balanced, high-fiber diet that includes beans, bran, whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables
    • Drink plenty of liquids
    • Exercise regularly
    • Set aside time after breakfast or dinner for undisturbed visits to the toilet
    • Do not ignore the urge to have a bowel movement
    • Understand that normal bowel habits vary
    • Whenever a significant or prolonged change in bowel habits occurs, check with a doctor.

 

  • Most people with mild constipation do not need laxatives. However, doctors may recommend laxatives for a limited time for people with chronic constipation.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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