Signs and Symptoms for the #2 in you
Explore the signs and symptoms of constipation and digestive upset
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What is constipation?
Constipation is the infrequent passage of stools (less than three stools a week) that are difficult and painful to pass. Constipation symptoms include feeling bloated, strained bowel movements, abdominal pain and gas.
What are common causes of constipation?
Some common causes of constipation include a lack of physical exercise, poor dietary habits — such as a low intake of dietary fibre or inadequate fluid intake — and certain medications.
Constipation as we age
Constipation in kids
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Although constipation can affect members of any age group, the risk and rate of constipation rises considerably with age. Of people 65 years of age or more, 26% of women and 16% of men are constipated. That being said, constipation is not caused by simply getting older; rather, it is caused by other age-related problems such as decreased mobility, age-related medical conditions, changes in diet and an increased use of medications that cause constipation as a side effect.
Other ways to relieve and prevent constipation
There are certain lifestyle changes that can be made to help relieve constipation. These include eating more fibre, staying well hydrated and being as physically active as possible.
  • Eat more fresh fruits, dried fruits such as apricots, prunes and figs, cooked or raw vegetables and whole-grain cereals and breads
  • Drink lots of water, juices and other fluids
  • Do things that keep you moving and active like going for walks or taking care of your yard
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How can I tell if my child is constipated?
Some guidelines to identifying constipation in children and infants include; experiencing no bowel movements for 2 or 3 more days than usual, less than 3 bowel movements a week, hard or painful bowel movements, large stools that may clog the toilet or drops of blood on the outside of their stool.
Is constipation different in children?
The symptoms of constipation in children are the same as they are in adults, but children can develop constipation differently. Children may be reluctant to use a stranger’s bathroom, worried about having a “bad” experience or interrupting playtime with friends, thereby disrupting their natural clock.
What can cause constipation in children?
Constipation can be related to many factors including:
  • Eating too many foods that are high in fat and low in fibre, like fast foods
  • Not drinking enough water or fluids
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Not wanting to use public bathrooms
  • Feeling stressed because of school, friends or family matters
  • Starting a new school year so children can’t go to the bathroom whenever they feel the need and have to change up their bathroom routine as a result
Fill out our Doctor Discussion Guide
If you’re experiencing signs of constipation and want an expert opinion, download our doctor discussion guide to take to your next appointment with a healthcare professional to help guide your conversation about constipation.
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What is gas?

Gas gets into the digestive tract in two ways: by swallowing air and by the formation of gas from the bacteria that normally live in the gut. The swallowed air is released by burping whereas the gas produced in the gut is released as flatulence (also known as passing gas). Flatus is the medical name for the gas. The gases produced by the bacteria are hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide.

Gas forms in your large intestine (colon) when bacteria ferment carbohydrates such as fibre, some starches and some sugars. Certain foods can cause excessive gas formation such as cabbage, broccoli, baked beans, onions, bran and other high-fibre fruits, grains and vegetables. But while high-fibre foods might cause too much gas to be produced, fibre is very important to keeping your gut functioning normally.

What is stomach upset?
Stomach upset goes by various other names such as indigestion or dyspepsia. An upset stomach can occur when you eat too much or too fast, when you eat spicy, fatty or greasy food, or if you eat when feeling stressed. Smoking, alcohol and caffeine can also worsen the symptoms of stomach upset.

The following are some symptoms of stomach upset:
  • Belching and gas
  • Acidic taste
  • Stomach noises or rumbling
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