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USC Surgery / Conditions / Constipation

Constipation is a common condition. Typically, constipation is defined as the creation of a stool that contains less than 200mL of water per day. Others use the number of bowel movements per week as a guideline for defining constipation. But just because someone has infrequent bowel movements does not mean they are constipated. A normal bowel movement range can vary from several per day to as few as three per week. Finally, some define constipation as the symptoms of straining, pushing and difficulty with evacuation.

There are many different patterns and causes of constipation. Most can be treated with simple remedies such as eating right, drinking plenty of fluid and increasing dietary fiber. Constipation that does not respond to this may be treated by occasional laxative medications, though long-term use can be problematic. A large number of medications may worsen constipation, and there are a number of medical conditions that are associated with constipation.

Ask your primary care doctor to learn more.

Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California’s medical enterprise, one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area.