<p><strong>What Is Constipation? </strong></p>
<p>Constipation is more a complaint than a disorder—in fact, it is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the United States. Constipation is characterized by infrequent bowel movements with stools that are often hard and sometimes painful to pass. The condition results when intestinal contractions slow down, allowing more time for the bowels to remove water from food wastes.</p>
<p>The normal frequency of bowel movements varies greatly from person to person—it is perfectly normal for some people to have three bowel movements a day, while others have as few as three a week. Constipation involves the passage of hard stools less than three times in a week, usually accompanied by bloating and discomfort. Any change in a person’s usual frequency of bowel movements, however, may be a sign of a more serious underlying disorder.</p>
Alternative Names Laxative abuse Symptoms Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, are most common. Dehydration and electrolyte problems are more common in children than adults. Below are symptoms specific to the actual product. Bisacodyl: Cramps Diarrhea Senna; Cascara sagrada: Abdominal pain Bloody stools Collapse Diarrhea Phenolphthalein: Abdominal pain Collapse Diarrhea Dizziness Drop in blood pressure Low blood sugar Rash Sodium phosphate: Abdominal pain Collapse Diarrhea Muscle weakness Vomiting Magnesium-containing products: Abdominal pain Collapse Coma Death Diarrhea (watery) Drop in blood pressure Flushing Gastrointestinal irritation Muscle weakness Painful bowel movements Painful urination Slowed breathing Thirst Vomiting Castor oil can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Mineral oil can cause aspiration pneumonia, a condition where vomited stomach contents are inhaled. Products containing methylcellulose, carboxymethylcellulose, polycarbophil, or psyllium may cause choking or intestinal blockage if they are no...
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) refers to a disorder that involves abdominal pain and cramping, as well as changes in bowel movements.
It is not the same as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis .
Spastic colon; Irritable colon; Mucous colitis; Spastic colitis
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
There are many possible causes of IBS. For example, there may be a problem with muscles in the intestine, or the intestine may be more sensitive to stretching or movement. There is no problem with the structure of the intestine.
It is not clear why patients develop IBS, but in some instances, it occurs after an intestinal infection. This is called postinfectious IBS. There may also be other triggers.
Stress can worsen IBS. The colon is connected to the brain through nerves of the autonomic nervous system. These nerves become more active during times of stress, and can cause th...
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