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Constipation refers to difficult or infrequent bowel movements normally resulting from a disorder of bowel function, states WebMD. Affected individuals may experience straining during bowel movements, abdominal pain, hard stools or a sense of incomplete bowel movements.


Poor bowel habits, diet, laxatives, hormonal disorders and colon disease can cause constipation, explains MedicineNet. Central nervous system disorders, pelvic floor dysfunction and medications are additional causes. Slow passage of digesting food through the colon can lead to constipation.


Eating a balanced diet that includes fiber is vital for preventing and treating constipation. An average adult diet should include 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily, according to WebMD. A gradual increase in dietary fiber is advised because a rapid increase can cause flatulence and discomfort.


Fiber supplements are an effective treatment for constipation. Ingredients, such as methylcellulose and psyllium, add bulk to the stool and encourage bowel movements, according to Mayo Clinic. Over-the-counter laxatives containing milk of magnesia or magnesium citrate also relieve constipation by pr


Safe and natural baby constipation treatments include ensuring the child is getting plenty of fluids, giving him the recommended amount of fluids each day, providing fruit juices and switching to baby foods with plenty of fiber, according to WebMD. Massaging the baby's stomach can also help.


One symptom of constipation is infrequent bowel movements where a person strains to eliminate stool, according to WebMD. The person might also have the feeling that he hasn't evacuated his bowels completely.


Chocolate, dairy products, red meat, caffeine and bananas all lead to constipation, according to MedicineNet.com. These foods tend to bind with each other as well as the rest of the solids in the digestive tract, leading to difficulty making a bowel movement.


Constipation in dogs may be caused by too little fiber in the diet, a lack of exercise or as a side effect of medication, according to the ASPCA. Other causes of constipation in dogs may include ingested gravel, bones or sticks caught in the intestinal tract or a tumor in or around the anus.


Foods that relieve the symptoms of constipation include vegetables, fruits, legumes and high-fiber foods including bran muffins and cereal, says WebMD. Drinking plenty of water -while avoiding dehydrating beverages- is another important dietary consideration for individuals experiencing the conditio


Too little fiber in the diet, blocked anal sacs, excessive grooming, eating bones or string and an enlarged prostate gland cause constipation in pets. A doctor's diagnosis of why the pet is constipated determines the course of treatment.