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NHS Choices Condition

Content supplied by NHS Choices

Everyone, whether young or old, has their own normal bowel habits, and these can be quite different from other people's habits. For example, some adults normally go to the toilet more than once a day, whereas others may normally go only every three or four days. And, some infants may normally pass stool several times a day, while others may normally pass stool only a few times a week.

When you are constipated you feel that passing stools has become more difficult than it used to be. Passing stools may feel more difficult for a number of reasons reasons. For example, passing stools may have become significantly less frequent, or significantly less effective (you feel that you are unable to completely empty your bowel).

Passing stools may also seem more difficult because your stools are:

  • dry and hard,
  • hard and lumpy,
  • abnormally large, or
  • abnormally small.


As well as causing a change in your normal bowel habits, constipation can also cause the following symptoms:

  • stomach ache and cramps,
  • feeling bloated,
  • feeling nauseous, and loss of appetite.


Children

As well as infrequent, or irregular, bowel movements, a child with constipation may also display the following signs and symptoms:

  • loss of appetite,
  • lack of energy,
  • being irritable, angry, or unhappy,
  • foul smelling wind and stools,
  • abdominal pain and discomfort,
  • soiling their clothes, and
  • generally feeling unwell.


If your child is displaying these symptoms, or has spoken to you about having difficulty in passing stools, you should speak to your GP.

 

view information about Constipation on www.nhs.co.uk »

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