What is Constipation?
Constipation is when your stools are painful or they do not happen often enough. It is the most common GI (gastrointestinal) problem.
You may have constipation if:
- You have bowel movements less than 3 times a week
- Your stool is hard, dry, and in small pieces
Normal bowel movements vary depending on the person. They may happen as often as 3 times a day. Or they may happen just 3 times a week.
Symptoms of Constipation
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Symptoms of constipation may include:
- Difficult and painful bowel movements
- Less than 3 bowel movements a week
- Feeling swollen (bloated)
- Not having much energy
- Stomach (abdominal) pain
- Ineffective straining to move your bowels
The symptoms of constipation can look like other health problems. Always talk to your healthcare provider to be sure.
When to Call a Doctor
Most people have constipation at one time or another. But call your healthcare provider if:
- Constipation lasts longer than 3 weeks.
- Constipation pain is stopping you from doing your daily activities.
- You have symptoms of any of the complications of constipation.