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Functional Constipation

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Updated February 16, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:

Functional constipation, more commonly known as chronic idiopathic constipation, is diagnosed when a person is experiencing constipation symptoms, but no specific cause for the problem can be identified. In order to be diagnosed, constipation symptoms need to be present at least two days a week for at least three months. Symptoms may include:

  • Feeling of incomplete evacuation
  • Hard, lumpy stools
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Three or fewer bowel movements per week

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