Functional Constipation

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.