Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Constipation, an undue retention of the contents of the lower bowel. In the healthy individual an evacuation of the intestinal contents should occur once daily and at a definite time of the day. Irregularity in this particular should on no account be permitted, for unless the habit of regulating the action of the bowels is acquired, a condition of "sluggish action of the bowels "or habitual constipation is apt to be set up, which engenders headaches and dyspeptic troubles innumerable. Unfortunately the remedy for such a condition of things is too often imagined to be the continued administration, as occasion demands, of some favoured form of pill, which, it is true, obviates the difficulty for a time, but which only leads to a continued recurrence of the trouble, and to the employment of more and more violent means of securing the desired result, as the normal functions of the body are more and more perverted and interfered with. Given a condition of habitual constipation, the treatment should consist in a deliberate attempt on the part of the patient to effect a return to the natural condition of things, and the adoption of certain hygienic and dietetic rules will be of far more service than the employment of drugs. Chronic constipation is often found in those who lead a sedentary life, and some amount of regular outdoor exercise is useful in such cases; a morning bath is said to be beneficial. Slowly sipping a glass of water - on first rising in the morning - is of undoubted service; oatmeal, brown bread, or fruit should be liberally included in the daily dietary. Fruit may, with special advantage, be taken either before or with the morning meal. If the case is an obstinate one, it may be necessary to have recourse for a while to mineral waters, or to some such drug as that now very largely used, the liquid extract of cascara sagrada (dose, half a drachm for an adult). But such measures should be regarded as only temporary, and should in no way be allowed to interfere with the cultivation of regularity of habit.