Digestive System Disorders

Expert reports about Digestive System Disorders


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE CONSTIPATION DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is constipation?

Constipation is the term used to describe difficulty in emptying the bowels, and usually infrequent and/or inadequate bowel movements, generally associated with feces being hard and compact. Constipation can be a component of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a disorder that often includes some episodes of diarrhea and other episodes of constipation, or constipation developing because of dehydration due to diarrhea. Constipation during pregnancy frequently results from pressure caused by the growing uterus on the intestines. This interferes with the movement of the bowel so that too much water is removed from the feces and it gets stuck or slows down considerably. Inadequate intake of dietary fiber also contributes greatly to constipation, whether or not you are pregnant. Constipation can also result from eating certain foods, as a side effect of certain medications, from lack of physical activity, and as a physical effect of stress or other emotional disturbances. Finally, constipation can develop as a symptom of obstruction of the bowel, due to a serious disease process such as cancer.


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