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Constipation is a very common condition and is where a person either has infrequent bowel movements and/or finds it hard or painful to have a bowel movement because the stools have become hardened inside the colon.

It is generally caused by diet and/or lifestyle (or a temporary change to this) if insufficient fluids and fibre (from fruit and vegetables) have been present in the diet, or where there has been little physical activity. Restoring water and fibre intake in the diet and taking up more physical activity normally resolves the condition. In more severe cases the sufferer may need to take laxatives.

In some cases, especially where there is an otherwise unexplained change in bowel habit or where the onset of constipation is a new development, or where the constipation is severe, it is strongly recommended to seek medical advice.

If all other treatments are ineffective, surgery may be an option. Surgery involves the removal of a small section of the colon - this shortens the colon and makes it easier to have bowel movements. Laxatives and pain medication are generally no longer required.