NHS Choices Condition
Content supplied by NHS Choices
Constipation is a very common condition that affects people of all ages. It can mean that you are not passing stools (faeces) as often as you normally do, or you have to strain more than usual, or you are unable to completely empty your bowels.
Constipation can also cause your stools to be unusually hard, lumpy, large or small.
The severity of constipation can vary greatly. Many people only experience constipation for a short period of time, with no lasting effects on their health.
For others, constipation can be a chronic (long-term) condition that causes significant pain and discomfort. Chronic constipation can also lead to complications, such as faecal impaction (where dry, hard stools collect in your rectum) or faecal incontinence (where you leak liquid stools).
Who is affected
Constipation can occur in babies, children and adults, and affects twice as many women than men.
Older people are five times more likely than younger adults to experience the condition, usually because of diet factors, lack of exercise, use of medication and poor bowel habits.
Approximately 40% of pregnant women experience constipation during their pregnancy.
Treatment for constipation is usually effective, although in some cases it can take several months before a regular bowel pattern is re-established (seeÂ Treatment for more information).
Constipation rarely causes any complications or long-term health problems.view information about Constipation on www.nhs.co.uk »
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