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Constipation

  • By: Sarah Hartman & Elizabeth MacKenzie
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

Approximately 2.5 million physician visits every year can be attributed to complaints of constipation, and more than 4 million Americans are believed to have frequent constipation, one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States. Almost everyone experiences this ailment at some point in his or her life. Given the widespread impact of constipation, it is essential for those with this condition to understand the causes and treatment options available.

Population-based studies show that constipation is more commonly reported by women than by men and is most common in adults aged 65 years and older. Nonwhites and those with low socioeconomic status and/or limited education are other groups that are associated with a higher incidence of constipation.

Definition

Constipation is a term that refers to a ...

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