Chronic constipation reconsidered

Published: March, 2014

Eat fiber, right? Wrong, according to experts who say that many beliefs about constipation are off base.

In the United States, constipation results in about 2.5 million doctor visits a year. It's one of the most common — and commonly misunderstood — gastrointestinal complaints. Many people think, for example, that anything less than a daily bowel movement means you're suffering from constipation. But the frequency of bowel movements normally varies a great deal. Some people in perfectly fine gastro-intestinal health have several movements a day, while others have that many in a week. The defining characteristic of constipation is not how frequently you have a bowel movement but the passage of hard, dry stools, often with pain and considerable effort.

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