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Constipation isn’t a disease but rather a symptom that is characterized by the following signs:
Constipation can be occasional (e.g., when you go on vacation or start taking a medication) or chronic (when the problem persists for at least 3 months).
This health problem affects people over the age of 65 in particular. This is generally because people at this age tend to decrease their fluid intake, take medication, decrease their physical activity, and change their eating habits.
Young children who are going through potty training and school-aged children can also become constipated if they don't drink enough fluids or if they ignore the urge to have a bowel movement.
Also, 30% of pregnant women suffer from constipation, especially in their 3rd trimester. This happens when the uterus presses on the colon, which makes it hard for stool to pass. Pregnant women may take vitamin supplements that contain calcium and iron, which can also cause constipation.
Many factors can cause constipation:
Adopting a healthy lifestyle usually prevents constipation and helps you avoid the discomfort of this condition.
Eat at regular hours.If these habits aren't enough to relieve your constipation, you can try a fibre supplement or a mild laxative. Your pharmacist can tell you about different over-the-counter (OTC) products.
Usually, you can easily manage constipation by changing your eating habits and using OTC laxatives. In rare cases, your doctor may also prescribe medication.
Several classes of OTC laxatives can provide constipation relief. They also come in various forms, such as tablets, oral liquids, suppositories or enemas.
The best laxative for you will depend on many criteria: your age, symptoms, health condition, the medications you’re taking, how fast the treatment should work, and how long you intend to use it.
Before using laxative medications, you should always consult your pharmacist, who can help you choose the best product for your situation.
You should see a doctor if:
Constipation is a common health problem. If you have any questions about it, don’t hesitate to talk to your pharmacist, who can give you confidential advice.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.