Constipation is highly subjective but usually includes hard stools, defecation with straining and in frequent bowel movement. Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Constipation is usually caused by a disorder of bowel function rather than a structural problem. Almost everybody experiences constipation at some time in their life. Most constipation is temporary and not serious. Abdominal discomfort, headache, backache and passing of gas sometimes accompany constipation.
Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints especially among women and older adults over 65 years. Pregnant women may have constipation, and it is a common problem following childbirth or surgery. Sometimes young children are constipated because they forget to take time to use the toilet.

Normally, the waste product of digestion are propelled through the intestine by muscle contractions. In the large intestine, most of the water and salt in this mixture is reabsorbed because they are essential for many body functions. If too much water is absorbed or if the waste moves too slowly, constipation occurs.
Although treatment depends on the cause, severity, and duration of the constipation, in most cases a diet containing at least 25 gram of fiber, drinking plenty of liquid, engaging in regular physical aktivity dan lifestyle changes will have relieve symptoms and help prevent them from recurring.
Diet (Healthy Food)
American Diabetic Association recommends eating 20 to 35 grams fiber per day helps the body to form soft, bulky stool. High-fiber foods include whole grain and bran cereals, beans, and some fruits and vegetables. Wheat bran is particularly effective in promoting bulk formation and releiving constipation. However, it should be used in moderation and increase gradually from 1 teaspoon to 4 to 6 tablespoon per day, accompanied with extra intake of water (2 liter).
Choose lots of high febier foods. Experiment to see if particular fruits or vegetables have a laxative effect. Adding fiber to the diet gradually may help reduce gas and bloating. Fiber containing foods help maintain GI tract function by adding volume and weight to the stool, normalizing the transit of undigested materials through the intestine, and minimizing pressure within the colon. 10-13 grams of fiber intake more than 40 grams per day may interfere with the absorbtion of calcium and zinc especially for children and elderly.

Fiber Suplements
Over the counter product (metamucil and Citrucel) can help keep stools soft and regular. If fiber supplements are used, plenty of water or other fluids should be included everyday. Otherwise, fiber supplements may cause constipation or make contipation worse.

Even though self treatment of constipation with over the counter (OTC) laxatives is by far the most common aid one should not rely on stimulant laxatives. These include product such as Correctol or dulcolax, which cause muscle contraction in the intestines. For occasional relief saline laxatives, such as milk of magnesia, which draws water into colon to allow stool to pass easier can be tried, but long term use of laxatives can cause dependency. For constipated children, plenty of fluids should be given to avoid laxatives unless doctor recommends.
If laxatives were used frequently, lazy bowel syndrome may develop, a condition in which bowels become dependent on laxatives to function properly. In fact, laxatives use can cause a number problems, including poor absorption of vitamins and other nutrients, damage to the intestinal tract that can worsen constipation.
Constipation affect almost everyone at one time or another. Many people think they may onstipation when, in fact, their bowel movements are regular. In most cases dietary and lifestyle changes may be the safest way to manage constipation.
(Noted by Prasanna Prakash).
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