Constipation is when you have less than three bowel movements per week and stools are hard to pass from the colon or the large intestine. The functions of the colon are to absorb water and transport waste to the rectum. The large intestine also has bacteria that break down the remaining material after the water is absorbed. Constipation occurs when the stool remains in the colon for a long period of time becoming drier, harder to pass, and impacted. With symptoms like bloating, stomach pain, and pressure, constipation can feel miserable. Dehydration, physical inactivity, and lack of dietary fiber can all cause constipation. Certain medications often have side effects of constipation. Over 42 million people in the United States suffer from constipation, but it is usually temporary and can be relieved with the use of laxatives or stool softeners.
- Less than three bowel movements in a week
- Hard stools
- Needing to strain to pass stool
- Blocked feeling in the rectum
- Needing to manually remove the stool from your rectum
- Abdominal bloating and pressure
- Grunting in children without passing stool
If you suffer from any of the above symptoms for longer than three months, you may have chronic constipation.