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We've all suffered from a little bit of constipation at some point in our lives. However, a number of people suffer from the condition over a long period, and this is known as chronic constipation.

Chronic constipation will involve the same symptoms as regular constipation but often with the addition of considerable abdominal pain, vomiting, and weight loss. If you do suffer severe constipation discomfort for more than a few days, you should seek medical assistance. Your local GP will be able to diagnose your problem or refer you to someone who can.

The causes of chronic constipation are generally the same as normal constipation. A continual lack of fibre in the diet will lead to long term constipation problems. Continued use of certain medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsant and iron supplements's may also cause constipation over the long term.

However, a significant number of chronic constipation cases are a result of underlying health conditions. Hormonal disorders are often the reason behind long term constipation. Colon disorders such as colonic inertia can also be the culprit.

In rare cases, chronic constipation can be a sign of a very serious illness. Central nervous system diseases such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis can cause constipation in their early stages. Chronic constipation can also be an early sign of colon or rectal cancer.

And finally, however unlikely it may sound, the over-use of stimulant laxatives can cause chronic constipation. Too many laxatives can damage the nerves and muscles of the colon, making it more difficult to pass stools.

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