Constipation

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Definition & Facts

Constipation is a condition in which you have fewer than three bowel movements a week, or hard, dry and small bowel movements that are painful or difficult to pass.

Symptoms & Causes

The most common symptoms of constipation are fewer than-normal bowel movements, stool that is difficult or painful to pass, and pain or bloating in your abdomen.

Diagnosis

To find out why you're constipated, your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam. He or she may also order certain tests.

Treatment

Treatments for constipation include making changes in your eating, diet, and nutrition; exercise and lifestyle changes; medicines and supplements; biofeedback; and surgery.

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition

Your eating and diet may affect your chances of becoming constipated. If your diet has too little fiber, you may get constipated.

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support basic and clinical research into many digestive disorders.

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Related Research

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.