Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders. It occurs when your bowel movements become less frequent than usual and more difficult. The stools may be very hard to pass. Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water from the stools. Chronic constipation can persist for several weeks, and the patient must seek medical help immediately.

Signs and symptoms

Constipation could make it feel like a huge strain to have a bowel movement. The stool may be very lumpy and hard and is usually very infrequent (less than 3 times a week). It could also feel as though there is a blockage in the rectum, or like you are unable to empty the rectum. You might also feel bloated, nauseous and pass a lot of gas.

Causes and risk factors

Constipation is mostly caused by improper diet and dehydration. Stress and resisting the urge to have a bowel movement could also result in constipation. Certain medications are also known to cause constipation, and in such cases, extreme attention must be paid to following a high-fibre diet and drinking sufficient water.


Chronic constipation can lead to haemorrhoids, anal fissures, diverticulitis or stress urinary incontinence.


The doctor will start with a medical history, a physical examination and a digital rectal examination to diagnose constipation. In addition to these, the doctor may prescribe a series of other imaging tests, blood tests or a colonoscopy to investigate the cause of constipation if needed.

Treatment and Surgical Interventions

The first course of treatment recommended for constipation would be a series of dietary changes. A higher fibre intake, regular exercise and staying well hydrated will usually help. However, if there is no marked improvement, the doctor may prescribe laxatives or a stool softener. In extreme cases, the patient may need an enema. If the constipation is caused by a chronic obstruction in the bowel, it may be surgically corrected.


To prevent constipation, a high-fibre diet is recommended. Stay sufficiently hydrated and get some exercise every day.


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