- Infrequent (and frequently incomplete) bowel movements. The opposite of diarrhea, constipation is commonly caused by irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, and medications (constipation can paradoxically be caused by overuse of laxatives). Colon cancer can narrow the colon and thereby cause constipation. The large bowel (colon) can be visualized by barium enema x-rays, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy. Barring a condition such as cancer, high-fiber diets can
* * *A condition in which bowel movements are infrequent or incomplete. SYN: costiveness. [L. con-stipo, pp. -atus, to press together]
* * *con·sti·pa·tion .kän(t)-stə-'pā-shən n abnormally delayed or infrequent passage of dry hardened feces
* * *n.a condition in which bowel evacuations occur infrequently, or in which the faeces are hard and small, or where passage of faeces causes difficulty or pain. The frequency of bowel evacuation varies considerably from person to person and the normal cannot be precisely defined. Constipation developing in a person of previously regular bowel habit may be a symptom of intestinal disease. Recurrent or longstanding constipation is treated by increasing dietary fibre (roughage), laxative, or enema. Faecal impaction, the end-result of chronic constipation common in senile patients, often requires manual removal of the faecal bolus under an anaesthetic.
* * *con·sti·pa·tion (kon″stĭ-paґshən) [L. constipatio a crowding together] infrequent or difficult evacuation of the feces.
Medical dictionary. 2011.