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Constipation

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Constipation: Symptoms of GI Disorders: Merck Manual Professional > SEE ALL MERCK MANUALS Page 1 of 9 SEARCH Merck Manual > Health Care Professionals > Gastrointestinal Disorders > Symptoms of GI Disorders Constipation Constipation in Adults: A Merck Manual of Patient Symptoms podcast Constipation is difficult or infrequent passage of stool, hardness of stool, or a feeling of incomplete evacuation. Many people incorrectly believe that daily defecation is necessary and complain of constipation if stools occur less frequently. Others are concerned with the appearance (size, shape, color) or consistency of stools. Sometimes the major complaint is dissatisfaction with the act of defecation or the sense of incomplete evacuation after defecation. Constipation is blamed for many complaints (abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue, anorexia) that are actually symptoms of an underlying problem (eg, irritable bowel syndrome [IBS], depression). Patients should not expect all symptoms to be relieved by a daily bowel movement, and measures to aid bowel habits should be used judiciously. Obsessive-compulsive patients often feel the need to rid the body daily of “unclean” wastes. Such patients often spend excessive time on the toilet or become chronic users of cathartics. Etiology Acute constipation suggests an organic cause, whereas chronic constipation may be organic or functional (Table 7: Causes of Constipation ). In many patients, constipation is associated with sluggish movement of ...
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