The majority of people suffer from acute constipation (temporary) which usually does not represent any health risks and can be successfully managed with a healthy diet and change of lifestyle. In more severe cases constipation can persist despite self-help measures. Constipation persisting more than three month is called chronic constipation.

Symptoms of chronic constipation are similar to those in acute constipation – fewer than three bowel movements per week, hard and difficult to expel stools, straining, painful defecation, sensation of incomplete bowel evacuation and sensation of rectal blockage with the difference that they persist for longer period.

Chronic constipation can also include more serious symptoms:

– Back pain
– Abdominal pain
– Swollen abdomen
– Loss of appetite
– Rapid heart beat
– High or low blood pressure
– Sweating
– Fever

Like acute constipation, chronic constipation can be caused by stress, diet low in fibers, inadequate physical activity, certain medications, ignoring urge to have a bowel movement or suppressing defecation, digestive disorders, etc. However, chronic constipation can be also a symptom of serious medical conditions including colorectal cancer, autoimmune diseases and hormonal disturbance such as hypothyroidism. If chronic constipation is accompanied with severe abdominal pain, vomiting, black or bloody stools, unexplained weight loss or alternation of constipation and diarrhea you should visit your health care provider immediately.

Chronic constipation is very common in children who tend to ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Usually it does not indicate serious medical condition but if your child is suffering from chronic constipation you are highly recommended to visit your health care provider.

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