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How common is constipation?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

If you have been diagnosed with constipation, you are certainly not alone. 2.5 million Americans seek treatment for frequent constipation each year, and there are undoubtedly millions more who have symptoms but do not seek a doctor's treatment. Anyone is vulnerable to this condition, but women, children, and adults ages 65 and older report incidences of constipation more frequently than others.

Constipation is the most common digestive complaint in the United States and one of the most common reasons people visit their healthcare providers. As many as 35 million adults suffer from chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), which is constipation without a known cause, and as many as 13 million adults suffer from irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), one of the three major subtypes of IBS.

The impact of constipation is not limited to the bathroom: there is data to suggest that people with constipation experience activity impairment and a loss of work productivity. In addition, one study found the annual cost of treating constipation in America was approximately $235 million.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.