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Topic: Constipation, difficult to pass stools

  1. Fact Sheet: Rectocele: Symptoms Include Vaginal Pain or Constipation


    By: Bruce A. Orkin, MD

    A rectocele is a bulge from the rectum into the vagina. Most rectoceles occur in women where the front wall of the rectum is up against the back wall of the vagina. This area is called the rectovaginal septum and may be a weak area in the female anatomy. Other structures may also push into the vagina. A description of causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

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  2. Fact Sheet: What is Constipation Anyway?


    By: W. Grant Thompson, MD, FRCPC

    Notions of bowel habit lie in the eyes of the beholders. Constipation is one of the most difficult gut symptoms to define. Patients, physicians, and physiologists have different views of the condition. The difficulty lies in the many, but variably present, features of constipation. Since more than 98% of people have at least 3 bowel movements per week, less is often invoked as abnormal. Many manage happily with less, while others within that range are decidedly uncomfortable with what they believe is constipation. Reviewed and updated 2009.

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  3. Fact Sheet: Difficult to Interpret Intestinal Complaints


    By: W. Grant Thompson, MD, FRCPC

    Disorders of gastrointestinal function such as the irritable bowel syndrome or functional constipation, diarrhea, or bloating are characterized by no structural abnormality. In these cases, diagnosis depends entirely upon the history, and diagnostic tests, if needed at all, are done to rule out inflammations, tumors and other anatomic gut disease. Accurate diagnosis depends upon how accurately the individual describes his or her symptoms, and how skillfully the doctor interprets them. Reviewed and updated 2009.

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  4. Fact Sheet: Chronic Constipation: From Evaluation to Treatment


    By: Robert D. Madoff, MD, FACS

    Constipation is a common symptom that affects virtually everyone at some point in their life. Occasional constipaion will generally respond to simple lifestyle measures. But constipation that is chronic or recurrent may indicate the need to see a doctor for evaluation and treatment. The term constipation includes a complex of symptoms related to slow, impaired, difficult, or painful defecation. An in-depth review of causes, diagnosis, and treatments.

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  5. Fact Sheet: Common Questions about Constipation: Myths and Misconceptions


    By: Kenneth G. Mandel, PhD

    Is there a danger from constipation that stool can remain for too long a time period in the colon? Can this cause other disease?

    Can changes in hormones cause constipation?

    Is constipation caused by low intake of fiber or fluid?

    Is the long-term use of stimulant laxatives for constipation unhealthy or unsafe? Are stimulant laxatives habit forming?

    This article addresses various myths and misconceptions about constipation and its treatment. Though most of these issues are well understood by the medical practice community, they persist among the general public and are still promoted by those who are uninformed.


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  6. Fact Sheet: Bowel Problems Associated with Neurologic Diseases


    By: Arnold Wald, MD, MACG

    Lower bowel symptoms such as constipation and fecal incontinence are not uncommon in patients with neurologic diseases – including multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, spinal cord lesions, and Parkinson's disease – and can have a profoundly negative impact on quality of life. Understanding the causes can assist in planning effective management strategies. Revised and updated 2009.

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  7. Fact Sheet: Dietary Fiber: What is it?


    By: W. Grant Thompson, MD, FRCPC

    Much is published on the benefits of "fiber" in the diet. Nevertheless, there is some confusion over what constitutes dietary fiber. Moreover, some of its proclaimed benefits are controversial. Therefore, it is a challenge to determine if, how much, and what kind of fiber one should take. This article addresses the nature of dietary fiber; its sources; its commonly accepted benefits, especially for the intestinal tract; and how to achieve sufficient daily fiber intake. Reviewed and updated 2009.

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  8. Fact Sheet: A Guide to Managing the Benefits and Risks of Medicines


    By: Information Adapted from FDA Publication FDA

    For many people, taking medication is a regular part of the daily routine, and these medicines are relied upon to treat disease and improve health. Although medicines can make you feel better and help you get well, it's important to know that all medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, have risks as well as benefits.

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  9. Fact Sheet: Understanding the Quality of Life Impact of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders


    By: Brennan M. R. Spiegel, MD

    Functional gastrointestinal (G) disorders significantly impact health related quality of life. This impact is obvious to anyone who has a disorder, or to any provider who cares for people with these disorders. In light of this finding, several medical organizations suggest that healthcare providers carefully monitor the health related quality of life of their patients in order to help guide treatment decisions. However, some studies indicate that many (but by no means all) providers do a poor job of addressing their patients' concerns, and accurately assessing the impact of functional GI disorder symptoms on their overall health status. Patients, in turn, become dissatisfied with their care. This article aims to help both provider and patient understand health related quality of life and improve patient care.

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  10. Fact Sheet: Getting the Most Out of Your Medications


    By: Information Adapted from FDA Publication FDA

    All medications, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC), have benefits as well as risks associated with their use. The risks may include side effects, allergic reactions, and interactions with foods, drinks, or other drugs. You can increase the potential benefits and reduce potential risks by taking medications properly. It is estimated that up to half of all people who use medications do not use them as prescribed.

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