Breaking news! I learned from the excellent, locally run site celebritydiagnosis.com that December is constipation awareness month:
The period between Thanksgiving and New Years is probably the time of year when our diets change the most through more opportunities for overeating, eating at irregular times and consuming a variety of holiday goodies. In addition, this hectic and stressful time of year, with shopping and parties added to our regular activities, undoubtedly leads to fewer of us getting the exercise we need. These factors are all set ups for changing bowel habits.
The site, which is run by doctors, suggests exercise as one remedy, and also notes:
One important point is that some medicines can cause constipation. Topping this list are prescription painkillers such as demerol.
Constipation is very prevalent in elderly patients as noted by Hippocrates who said, some 2,500 years ago, “the intestines tend to become sluggish with age.”
Constipation in children is common and rarely a sign of a serious health problem. However it can affect quality of life and cause emotional problems and family stress.