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Chander asked...

What could be the cause for my constipation?

For the past 4-5 weeks I tend to constipate more often and stools are less often and in small quantities then before. There is continous pain in the bottom of my buttocks. It is more painful when I go to toilet and I have to use greater pressure than before. What could be the cause and remedy? I am 67.

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The answer

All the symptoms you list can be explained by constipation, which is rarely a sign of a serious underlying condition, but it can be extremely distressing and debilitating.

Common causes include a lack of fibre in the diet, not drinking enough (non alcoholic) fluids, lack of physical activity and some medications, particularly stronger painkillers. However, if you haven’t had constipation before and there is no obvious cause, such as one of the changes above, you should see your GP if the symptoms don’t settle with simple measures such as increasing fibre, ensuring adequate fluid intake and addressing any medicine-related causes. This is especially important if you also pass blood in your stools (especially dark blood mixed in with the stools, rather than bright blood on the pan or the paper); if you’re off your food, have lost weight or are feeling generally tired or unwell; or if you also have bouts of diarrhoea.


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