Costiveness, in medicine, a retention of the excrements, accompanied with an unusual hardness and dryness, so as to render the evacuations difficult, and sometimes painful.

Sedentary persons are peculiarly liable to this complaint, especially those of sanguineous and choleric temperaments; or who are subject to hypochondriac affections, the gout, acute fevers, and bilious disorders,

Costiveness is frequently occasioned by neglecting the usual time of going to stool, and checking the natural tendency to those salutary excretions; by an extraordinary heat of the hotly, and copious sweats; by taking into the stomach a larger proportion of solid food, than is proper for the quantity of fluids swallowed; and, lastly, by too frequent use of such nutriment as is dry, heating, and difficult of digestion. - To those who are afflicted with this complaint, we would recommend to visit the customary retreat every morning, at a stated hour, and thus endeavour to promote the natural evacuation by moderate efforts; even though they may not perhaps be much inclined, and should not at first succeed; for experience has proved, that Nature will in this respect, by perseverance, acquire a habit of regularity. The most proper time for that purposes is either early in the morning, or late in the evening.

In many families, costiveness is hereditary. It may also arise from a debilitated state of the intestinal canal, occasioned by diseases, but more frequently from the habitual use of lean meat, game, red port wine, strong malt liquors, and similar articles of food and drink. From whatever cause it may originate, continual exercise in the open air, and abstinence from heating or intoxicating liquors, will be found very beneficial.

In those cases, however, where inveterate costiveness has once taken place, and the usual simple remedies have proved abortive, carbon, or charcoal (divested of its oxygen by heat), has been admi-nistered with uncommon success.. Nor has it in any instance failed to procure the desired relief ; though its operation has sometimes been rather too violent: to obviate this inconvenience, we would recommend three drams of carbon finely levigated, to be mixed with three ounces of lenitive electuary, and two drams of carbonat of soda. Of this mixture, from half an ounce to one, and even two ounces, may be taken twice, thrice, or oftener, in the course of the day, as circumstances may require.