Constipation is infrequent or difficult bowel movement. While it may be a sign of a serious condition, constipation is more likely a result of not drinking enough fluid, not eating enough fiber or not getting enough exercise. Constipation may also be the result of taking certain medicines.
Pain or straining from the passage of hard, dry stools is frequently associated with constipation. Other symptoms may include feeling bloated, uncomfortable or sluggish.
Many people have misconceptions about normal bowel function, particularly a fear of dire consequences if the bowel is not emptied daily. According to the Food and Drug Administration (the "FDA"), however, there is a normal range of frequency of bowel movements from three times a day to three times a week. The key in assessing whether or not you are constipated is in your level of physical discomfort.
Chronic constipation may be a sign of a serious condition that requires diagnosis and treatment by a doctor.