Visiting the bathroom is part of the daily human experience. But occasionally, constipation, a condition that causes a backup in your digestive system, strikes. In some especially uncomfortable cases, the food you eat can take several days to exit your body. What’s behind this unsettling phenomenon?

Learn about how the digestive system works (and sometimes doesn’t seem to work) in this TED-Ed by Heba Shaheed with animation by Augenblick Studios: What causes constipation?

Related reading: The Science Behind Vacation Constipation.

Related videos: How your digestive system works, how the food you eat affects your gut, and videos that are all about poop.

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