Constipation: Hardness of stool or difficulty or inability to pass feces.
Introduction: Constipation is a common symptom where a person has difficulty passing feces or unusually dry stool. Note that dry stool is medically considered within the spectrum of "constipation", although many people will use the term constipation only when stool dryness or hardness actually causes difficulty passing stool. Straining at stool is called "tenesmus"; see also bowel infrequency.
Constipation is common in children and older age, but can affect anyone. Since everyone has difficult bowel patterns, and not everyone passes one stool per day, exactly who qualifies for the diagnosis of "constipated" is not always clear. About 2% of the population suffers from chronic constipation. Various conditions can cause constipation ranging from poor diet, aging, pregnancy, irritable bowel syndrome, and numerous other underlying conditions for constipation. Constipation can also cause diarrhea leading to misdiagnosis. Various medications can cause constipation including overuse of laxatives that can cause a vicious cycle of constipation. Although constipation is not usually caused by a serious disease, professional medical advice is necessary to rule them out.
Detailed cause information for symptom: Constipation:
Medical articles on symptoms: These general medical articles may be of interest:
- Symptoms of the Silent Killer Diseases
- Symptoms and Medical Malpractice
- Medical mistakes and their rates, causes and prevention
- Deaths and sudden death
Types of Constipation: hard stool (2)
Symptoms related to Constipation: fecal straining (4), bowel infrequency (3), dry stool (0)
Constipation type of: Digestive symptoms (397), Bowel problems (165), Bowel movements (155), Stool symptoms (173)
Symptoms: symptom center, symptom groups, symptom descriptions
Possible causes of symptom: Constipation: The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Constipation as a symptom. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.
- Poor diet
- Low-fiber diet
- Inadequate water intake
- Laxative abuse
- Inadequate exercise
- Potty training difficulties - various problems such as bad previous experiences, unfamiliar environments, family stress, and so on can cause problems with constipation in young children.
- Advancing age
- Travel-related constipation (type of Constipation)
- Poor bowel habits
- Certain medications
- Various medical conditions:
- Digestive disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Bowel inflammation (see Bowel problems)
- Crohn's disease
- Colon problems (see Bowel problems)
- Colon polyp
- Colon tumor
- Colon cancer
- Rectum problems
- Intestinal problems
- Greedy colon
- Intestinal obstruction
- Intestinal adhesions
- Intestine tumors
- Colorectal stricture
- Hirschsprung's disease
- Chronic idiopathic constipation (type of Constipation)
- Vitamin B deficiency - causing colon muscles to misfunction.
- Anorectal conditions
- Anorectal dysfunction
- Rectal prolapse
- Painful defecation (see Pain) - any cause of painful defecation, especially in children, may cause them to hold back a bowel movement leading to constipation.
- See also causes of constipation
Medications or substances causing Constipation: The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Constipation as a symptom. This list is incomplete and various other drugs or substances may cause your symptoms. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
- Laxative overuse
- Pain medications - some, especially narcotics
- Antacids - those with aluminum
- Iron supplements
- Calcium supplements
- Anticonvulsants (some) - esp. for epilepsy
- Beta blockers
- Certain sedatives
- Certain tranquilizers
- Many other drugs cause constipation
Conditions listing symptoms: Constipation: The following list of conditions have 'Constipation' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Conditions listing complications: Constipation: The following list of conditions have 'Constipation' or similar listed as a complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Related medical articles for Constipation:
Last revised: Nov 11, 2003
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