Constipation is one of the most common digestive complaints in the United States. Unfortunately this may have something to do with the traditional Western diet that is common to most people. This diet is often high in fats and processed foods and low in natural fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
The normal frequency of bowel movements will vary from person to person and sometimes from day to day. Some people have bowel movements one or more times a day and others may not have bowel movements more than three times a week. The definition of constipation is not the number of times that a person has a bowel movement but rather the consistency of the stool when it is passed.
Although constipation will affect anyone, it is more common in women and in people over the age of 65. Women who are pregnant, have just given childbirth or anyone who has just had surgery will also be at higher risk for constipation. Other medications such as pain relievers or some physical conditions such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries will also place people at higher risk for developing constipation.