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There is no single definition of constipation. A person may experience one or more problems such as infrequent bowel movements, hard and difficult to pass stool, incomplete bowel movements, or straining to have a bowel movement. A number of factors can cause chronic constipation.  An estimated one-quarter or more of chronic constipation is caused by dyssynergic defecation.

What is Dyssynergic Defecation?

237Dyssynergic defecation is a condition in which there is a problem with the way certain nerves and muscles function in the pelvic floor.

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles located at the lower part of the abdomen, between the hip bones, that supports pelvic organs such as the rectum, uterus, and urinary bladder. One of its most important functions is to help make possible our ability to have orderly bowel movements.

Working together, nerves and muscles help maintain continence until we decide to have a bowel movement. The pelvic floor muscles together with anal opening muscles must all relax in a coordinated way in order to have a normal bowel movement. Failure of this to happen can lead to problems of constipation.

When do Person  Develop Dyssynergic Defecation?

A survey of 100 patients with the condition found that in nearly one-third (31%) the problem began in childhood. About an equal number (29%) appeared to have developed the problem after a particular event, such as pregnancy or an injury. In the remaining 4 out of 10 persons (40%), no cause was identified that may have brought on the condition.

Over half of the individuals that developed the condition in adulthood reported frequent or intermittent passage of hard stools. It may be that too much straining to expel hard stools over time is a factor that may lead to dyssynergic defecation.

Working with Your Doctor

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Successful relationships with healthcare providers are an important part of managing life with a long-term digestive disorder.

Doctor–Patient Communication

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