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Chronic Constipation

Topic Overview

Some people are constipated for weeks, months, or years, and others have bouts of constipation that come and go over long periods of time. Chronic constipation may have many causes, including:

  • Diet, especially if you do not include enough fruits, vegetables, and fiber in your diet each day.
  • Medicines, such as antidepressants, water pills (diuretics), iron, and pain medicines.
  • Changes in your daily routines from travel or changes in your school or job, which can decrease your level of physical activity and decrease your opportunity to have a bowel movement.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.

If you have chronic or recurrent constipation, see your doctor to make sure your constipation is not caused by an underlying disease. If you have been checked by a doctor, be aware of new or more intense discomfort or changes in the size, shape, or hardness of your stools. If constipation does not improve after a few days of home treatment, talk to your doctor.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
David Messenger, MD
Last Revised August 2, 2012

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