10 Common Symptoms of Constipation


Almost everyone experiences constipation sometime in their life. Some, many more times than others. Constipation is when it is difficult to pass waste through your bowels and/or you have infrequent bowel movements. It is often considered a symptom of various conditions.

According to WebMD, “Going longer than 3 or more days without one, though, is usually too long. After 3 days, your poop gets harder and more difficult to pass.”

Symptom 1: Few Bowel Movements

Constipation happens when digested food ends up spending too much time in your colon. Do you have three or fewer bowel movements per week?

If you do not poop more often, then your stool becomes hard and difficult, and even painful, to pass.

Symptom 2: Hard Bowels

Is it hard to pass waste through your bowels? Are your stools hard and the size of small pellets?

According to the Dr. Oz Show, “Size matters. Small, hard stools are typical in people eating a low-fiber Western diet, and are associated with a higher risk for ultimately developing diverticulosis and colon cancer. Constipation is often associated with small, difficult-to-pass stools, and people suffering from constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are particularly prone to having small stools. A high-fiber diet or regular use of a bulking agent like psyllium husk will lead to larger, softer stools in most people, making defecation easier.”

Symptom 3: Abdominal Pain

When constipated, abdominal pain is a very common complaint. You may have abdominal pain, cramps, or be unable to pass gas.

You may actually have a bowel obstruction. In that case, you should probably make a trip to the Emergency Room.

Symptom 4: Bloating

Are you belching a lot or passing gas frequently? Is your stomach area puffy or feels full?

Bloating indicates a change in your bowel habits. It comes from waste building up and gas being trapped in your bowels.

Symptom 5: Feeling Unfinished

Even if you have a bowel movement, five minutes later, you may feel like you need to go again, or you are not empty yet. 

This can be due to inflammation of your colon or rectum.

Symptom 6: Hemorrhoids

If you strain when having a bowel movement, you can make your rectum bleed and stretch the tissue near your anus, and tear up mucosa and skin. Then, you develop hemorrhoids, which are painful – especially when you sit down.

Most people get hemorrhoids at some point in their lifetime. You can treat them with over-the-counter creams and other medications.

Symptom 7: Anal Fissure

Constipation can lead to anal fissure, which is a cut or tear in the lining of your anus. It can be very painful and cause bleeding during and after bowel movements.

Stool softeners and pain relievers can help with the discomfort of an anal fissure.

Symptom 8: Fecal Impaction

With chronic constipation, you may experience a fecal impaction, which is when hard stool gets stuck in your rectum or lower colon.

Fecal impaction usually happens when you have been constipated for a long time. Adding fiber to your diet, exercising, and using laxatives and enemas may prevent such an impaction.

Symptom 9: Medications

Some medications you take for other conditions may make you constipated. For example, if you are taking pain killers, then you may need to get laxatives and stool softeners to help with bowel movements

Also, often after you have a surgery, you become temporarily constipated.

Symptom 10: Diet

Your diet can often have a lot to do with whether you become constipated or not. You get constipated if you eat low-fiber but high-fat foods, don’t exercise regularly, and do not stay hydrated by drinking enough water and other fluids.

To avoid constipation, avoid red meat, fried foods, dairy products, and chips. Instead, eat berries, popcorn, and beans.