What can be done if you suffer from Constipation, and how common is it?
Constipation is a common disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. Healthy people usually have a bowel moment once daily or every other day. Although the “normal” frequency of bowel moments may vary from person to person, fewer than 3 bowel movements per week usually indicate constipation. Adults 65 and older tend to have more constipation than younger adults. Most people with constipation also complain of small, hard stools, abdominal discomfort and abdominal bloating. Constipation may be caused or aggravated by many factors including medications, diet, and lifestyle. It may also be associated with other medical conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and hypercalcemia. Because of many possible underlying causes, all patients with constipation lasting for more than one to two weeks should be evaluated by a physician. Treatment of constipation may include changes in diet, lifestyle modifications and use of over-the-counter or prescription medications. For some patients, treatment of the underlying medical disease may be necessary as well. For details concerning causes, symptoms, and treatment of constipation please click on the links to the patient-oriented sites of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the American Gastroenterology Association.