Constipation can occur for a variety of reasons and appear in different forms.

One type of constipation involves stool that moves too slowly through the large intestine. Another type involves stool that’s dry, hard to pass, and infrequent.

Almost everyone has experienced constipation at some point. For some people, constipation is chronic.

It’s estimated that 15 percent of people worldwide live with chronic constipation. Along with difficulty passing stool, you may have bloating, cramping, and abdominal pain. Chronic constipation can affect your quality of life.

There are several medications used to treat constipation, usually starting with laxatives. Pelvic floor physiotherapy or rehabilitation or bowel training is helpful for many people.

If you live with chronic constipation, don’t hesitate to get help. You deserve to feel better. 

There are many myths about constipation out there. Here, we’ll separate the myths from the facts so you can better manage your condition.

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Myth #1: Constipation is a single condition. 

Fact: There are many possible causes of constipation and different approaches to treating it. Some health conditions and medications can cause constipation. Other times, we don’t know why constipation happens.

Myth #2: Everyone should have one bowel movement (BM) per day.

Fact: Everyone is different. Between three BMs daily and three BMs weekly is considered typical. 

Myth #3: Constipation is diagnosed only based on the frequency of BMs.

Fact: Fewer than three BMs per week is just one guideline for diagnosis. Others include dry stool that’s hard to pass and feeling like you can’t fully empty your bowels.

Myth #4: You should just eat more fiber to help your constipation.

Fact: For some people, eating more fiber or changing the type of fiber they eat is helpful. For others, it doesn’t help or can even make things worse. Making dietary changes, staying hydrated, and moving more may help.

Myth #5: Laxatives always create dependency.

Fact: Many medications can help treat constipation without the risk of dependency. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss your best options.

Myth: #6 Constipation is only treated with fiber, fluids, and medications.

Fact: Those changes may be helpful, but they’re not the only solutions. Pelvic floor physiotherapy or bowel training may help.