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Constipation is a common health problem that causes difficulty in passing stools and emptying the bowels. Almost everyone goes through constipation at some point in their lives. While constipation is uncomfortable, it is usually considered a symptom rather than a disease in itself. The various causes of constipation include diet that is not sufficient in fiber content, inadequate fluid intake, sedentary lifestyle, stress or sometimes an effect of some underlying medical condition of intake of specific medicines.

Prevention of constipation is centred around change in dietary and lifestyle habits. One should eat a high fiber diet comprising fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Restrict foods such as processed and packaged foods, milk and meat products.

Maintaining optimal fluid intake along with restricting intake of alcohol and caffeine in the form of coffee and soft drinks can also help in preventing constipation. Exercise regularly, do not delay the urge to pass stools and try to manage your stress levels.

Along with these changes, treatment of constipation involves many home remedies and use of over the counter laxatives. If relief from constipation is still not achieved, or in case of problems like pain while passing stools or rectal bleeding, it is always better to consult a doctor as long term use of laxatives or chronic constipation can lead to several other complications.