Millions of people suffer from constipation, while the researches have shown that it affects women more frequently than men. Constipation is a very common gastrointestinal condition, usually only temporary and does not represent any serious health risks. However, chronic constipation – persistent constipation which last more than three month can cause certain complications and can be a symptom of serious medical conditions. It is highly recommendable to pay attention to any greater changes of the quantity, frequency, shape and color of the stools.

The symptoms of constipation are:

– Infrequent bowel movements – fewer than three per week
– Hard stools which are difficult to expel
– Painful defecation
– Sensation of incomplete bowel evacuation
– Excessive straining
– Sensation of rectal blockage

Frequency of stools greatly varies from person to person and according to the majority of experts bowel movements from three times per day to three times per week is considered normal. Men defecate more frequently than women and younger people more frequently than the older people. Bowel movement frequency also greatly depends on several factors such as foods, intake of fluids, menstruation cycle, change of environment, etc. According to the definition of constipation you have a problem if having less than three stools per week.

Constipation is very unpleasant and stressful but as already mentioned does not represent any health risks and usually also does not require medical treatment. However, you should immediately visit your health care provider in case of:

  • Persistent constipation lasting more than three weeks
  • Bloody stools
  • Intense abdominal or rectal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss

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