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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.

Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

Diarrhea and Lactose Intolerance: When Dairy Is the Problem

Milk may do a body good, but not if you’re one of 30 to 50 million people who suffers from lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance results from an inability to digest the natural sugar (lactose) found in milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance symptoms can include bloating, diarrhea, gas, and cramping. But there are ways to manage lactose intolerance while reaping the nutritional benefits of dairy products.

Read the Diarrhea and Lactose Intolerance: When Dairy Is the Problem article > >

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 02, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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