Chronic Constipation: Facts About Causes and Treatments


Constipation, the most common digestive complaint in the U.S. population, can make life miserable. Not only does constipation make you feel bloated, headachy, and irritable, but relieving constipation — especially long-term or laxatives, or exercising.

5.Bulk Up Your Diet

diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, or even colon. Dyssynergic or outlet obstruction (also called pelvic floor dyssynergia) is characterized by either difficulty or inability to expel the stool. With pelvic floor dysfunction (dyssynergic defecation), the muscles of the lower pelvis that surround the rectum (the pelvic floor muscles) do not work normally. A third type of constipation occurs with biofeedback. “This is a simple, noninvasive therapy that can correct improper contraction of the pelvic floor muscles and external anal sphincter during defecation,” says Rao. “This nondrug therapy has been shown categorically to be the only effective method to correct the behavior as these patients learn what is wrong and then learn how to correct it.”

Traditional over-the-counter laxatives may work in relieving chronic constipation. Rao recommends health care provider:

  • Constipation that lasts for more than two weeks
  • Severe diarrhea lasting more than two days
  • Mild diarrhea lasting a week
  • Unexplained urges to have a bowel movement
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Black or tarry-colored stools