Constipation is extremely common and can affect a broad range of ages. It is generally defined as a problem in opening the bowels, but it can also mean opening the bowels less often than normal (perhaps less than three times a week) or passing hard or pellet-like stools on more than a quarter of occasions. Cases range from the acute (occasional and temporary) to the chronic (persistent), and can be triggered by poor diet; irregular mealtimes, and certain medication (particularly codeine-based painkillers and antacids containing aluminium). There are no long term complications for anyone suffering from constipation, although it can be a symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). And with all the eye-bulging straining on the throne, you may also end up with a case of piles or an anal fissure. Still, it’s nothing that a high-fibre diet and lots of fruit and vegetables can’t sort.
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