Constipation is one of the most common medical complaints in Australia. People say they are constipated when they can't empty their bowels as often or as easily as they would like to.


With constipation stools are usually hard, dry, small in size and difficult to eliminate. Some people who are constipated find it painful to have a bowel movement and often experience straining, bloating and the sensation of a full bowel.

Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. A poor diet typically is the cause.

Most constipation is temporary and not serious. Understanding its causes, prevention and treatment will help most people find relief.

There is no rule about how frequently you need to go to the toilet. However, if there has been a change or if you are uncomfortable and find that you need to strain, you should talk to your general practitioner. Many healthy children have problems with constipation, particularly around the time of toilet training.

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