Chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) is a common type of constipation, affecting about 14 percent of the population. Its name describes its characteristics. It's chronic, lasting for at least six months, and it's idiopathic, which means "without cause." There's no known abnormality or disease that causes CIC. Doctors also refer to it as functional constipation.

If you have CIC, symptoms you'll experience may include lower abdominal discomfort, bloating, straining to have a bowel movement and feelings of incomplete evacuation after a bowel movement. However, symptoms such as pain, diarrhea, nausea, fever and blood in the stool are not common in people with CIC.

CIC occurs more often in women than men and in those who are older than 70. Eating a low-calorie or low-fiber diet and having a high level of stress also put you at higher risk for CIC.