Constipation is a very common problem. It can be either not going to the toilet often to open the bowels, or the passing of hard stools. It is most often caused by low fibre and fluid in our diets, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Signs of constipation which may be of concern include not opening the bowels for many days, associated abdominal pain, no passing of flatus (wind), associated nausea or vomiting. Passage of blood with the motion.
Investigations are sometimes carried out to rule out other causes, such as cancer blocking the bowel. So tests are done to aid in management if the symptoms are very severe and do not respond to simple therapies.
Treatment may include lifestyle changes, increasing fluid and fibre in the diet and exercise. Some people require regular laxatives to help their constipation. Very rarely is constipation so severe that operative intervention is required.
For more information on constipation and its treatment.