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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.

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    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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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