Constipation is difficulty with bowel movements such as due to hard stool. Constipation does not only refer to the total absence of stool, but also includes abnormally small stool, straining with bowel movements, infrequent bowel movements, or other bowel difficulty. Causes may include dehydration, fecal impaction, and various gastrointestinal disorders. Simple cases of occasional constipation are quite common, but it is also possible to have chronic constipation, which can cause weight loss and other lifestyle issues. Although not common, there are some life-threatening causes of constipation. Surprisingly, constipation may also cause diarrhea (or fecal incontinence) as fluid leaks around a blockage, so both constipation and diarrhea can occur together.
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