Managing Constipation

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Four days without a movement can signal a medical emergency.

What Causes Constipation?

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Personal diet, exercise, and physiology affect your toilet contribu­tions. Whether evacua­tions are three times per day or as many times per week, at some point in life you experience constipation. It is indi­cated by the inter­ruption in your normal bathroom routine. Time and effort on the toilet is unproductive or incomplete. Bloating, straining, hard stools, and flatulence make constipation uncomfortable.

  • Primary constipation: Slow intestinal movements caused by an anatomical issue. This is often associated with not consuming enough fiber or not drinking enough fluids.
  • Secondary constipation: Associated with metabolic disease (such as diabetes), neurologic diseases (stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis), connective tissue disorders, or eating disorders.

Your predicament has much to do with what you include or exclude from your diet. Lack of whole fruits, too little or too much fiber, overuse of laxatives, and some prescription medications can be culprits.

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Kevin Williams is a health advocate, artist, pro­gram­mer, and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple web­sites. He has 17 years experi­ence as a Neutrogena Research and Scientific Affairs graphics con­sul­tant.

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