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The main symptom of constipation is a reduction in the number of times you pass stools. However, everyone's bowel habits are different. Some people go twice a day, whereas other people may only go once every three days.

It's therefore important to assess what is normal for you. It's easy to confuse constipation with your regular bowel movements, particularly if don't pass stools frequently.

The other common symptom of constipation, is a difficulty in the actual act of going to the toilet. You may feel like you need to move your bowels but despite your best efforts, nothing happens when sitting in the toilet. This is usually a result of stools becoming too dry, but it can also be caused by abnormally large or even abnormally small stools.

Constipation may also cause symptoms such as stomach ache, stomach cramps, and a loss of appetite. You may also feel bloated and nauseous. The presence of these symptoms can then lead to irritability, short-temperedness and depression.

Children with constipation will experience many of the aforementioned symptoms, and generally feel unwell. They may also soil their clothes due their inability to control their bowels.

If you do develop symptoms of constipation, don't be afraid to make an appointment with your local GP. We do tend to keep toilet trouble to ourselves in this country but a trip to the doctor could help you get back to normal before you know it.

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