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We all suffer from bowel problems from time to time, and one of the most common complaints of this nature is constipation. This usually harmless condition involves not passing stools as often as you normally do, and can affect men, women and children of all ages.

Symptoms
The main symptoms of constipation are a reduction in the number of bowel movements, and a difficulty in the actual act of passing stools. Other symptoms can include stomach ache, nauseousness, a loss of appetite, and a feeling of being bloated. More details on the symptoms of constipation.

Causes
Bowel problems are usually caused by either a lack of fibre or insufficient fluids in the diet. However, there can be a number of other reasons behind blockages such as medication side effects, stress, anxiety, or a or a lack of exercise. Further information on the possible causes of constipation.

Relief
For immediate relief from constipation, a laxative may be the best option. Other more natural methods are preferable but they can take several days to have the desired effect. Some laxatives can provide relief in little over a few hours. More details on relief from the condition.

Treatment
The recommended method of treatment for constipation is changes to the diet and lifestyle. Simple steps such as eating more fibre or drinking more water can make a huge difference to your bowel habits. Laxatives are another successful method of treatment but don't address the root cause of the problem. More information on constipation treatment.

Pain
The majority of constipated people will feel little, if any real pain. Minor discomfort may be an issue particularly in the abdominal area. However, some cases of constipation do cause considerable pain in both the stomach and the rectal area. This can simply be a result of a bowel blockage but occasionally it can be a sign of something more serious. Further details on constipation pain.

Chronic constipation
Although most cases of constipation are relatively mild and short term in nature, some people suffer from what is known as choric constipation. This is a long term disorder where bowel problems persist for many weeks, if not months. This may be due to continued dietary issues but it could be a result of an underlying health condition. More details on chronic constipation.

Cure
There is no full proof cure for constipation. Laxatives will prove effective in most cases but prevention is obviously better than cure. A high fibre diet, sufficient fluid intake, and regular exercise can significantly reduce the likelihood of constipation developing. More information on a cure for the condition.

Babies
Bottle fed babies are much more likely to develop constipation then breastfed little ones. Breast milk is easier to digest and contains the right mix of nutrients for your baby. The weaning process can also lead to bowel problems as your baby struggles to adapt to the changes in her diet. More details on constipated babies.

Children
Constipation in children is very common because of their immature developing organs and digestive systems. Blockages can easily develop, particularly if a healthy, balanced diet is not being followed. More information on constipated children.

Pregnant women
Almost half of all pregnant women will experience at least a little constipation during their pregnancy. As the body adapts and changes to cope with pregnancy, it can increase the likelihood of bowel blockages. However, in most cases these are mild in nature and can be treated very quickly. More details on being constipated when pregnant.



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