What is constipation?

Constipation is a really common problem, although few like to talk about it. Though there is a medical definition, everyone has their own personal length of time between bowel movements that feels normal for them. For example, if you are used to passing a stool everyday, going a day without an evacuation may make you feel constipated. Going longer than three days without a bowel movement will cause the stool to become hard and difficult to pass.

Constipation occurs when the stool passes through the large intestine too slowly. When the stool stays in the large intestine too long, the intestine removes too much water, and the stool becomes hard and dry. Going longer than three days without a bowel movement will cause the stool to become hard and difficult to pass. Constipation can also cause your stools to be lumpy, large or small.

Your body’s natural rhythm

Everyone has their own rhythm of digestion, depending on age and diet, and therefore their own personal explanation of what is a ‘normal’ frequency of stools for them. For some people, regular evacuation three times a day is the norm, whereas others feel that evacuation three times a week is normal. What counts in each case is that your own personal rhythm remains normal.

Medical definition

Doctors speak of constipation if evacuation occurs less than three times a week. Symptoms of constipation apart from irregular evacuation can include:

  • Evacuation of only small quantities of stool (like rabbit droppings)
  • Stool hardness
  • Needing to strain to achieve evacuation
  • Painful evacuation
  • The feeling that the bowel hasn’t completely evacuated
  • Flatulence
  • Swollen abdomen or abdominal pain

Acute or chronic constipation?

Generally, the definition of acute constipation is symptoms that tend to be quite sudden and short-lived. The common causes of acute constipation are changes in diet, travel, immobility during an illness or after an operation and hormonal changes during menopause and pregnancy. Even babies can suffer from sudden constipation.

Severe or chronic constipation is understood to be present when the symptoms of constipation appear for longer than three months.

What’s happening to my digestive system during constipation?

If stool evacuation is infrequent or incomplete, the mixture of undigested food and fluid in the intestine becomes denser and denser as water is extracted. The longer this goes on, the more water is extracted and the stool within the rectum hardens and becomes dry. This can lead to feelings of abdominal fullness, flatulence and stomach ache and evacuation with severe straining can be very painful.

Is constipation dangerous?

In most cases, constipation is harmless. However, if the symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, you should consult a doctor.

If illnesses are ruled out as the cause, constipation is usually not dangerous – though it can seriously affect your sense of well-being. Apart from the symptoms described above, the condition can affect you psychologically: feelings of frustration, loss of control and hopelessness are not uncommon. These feelings often make people with constipation unmotivated and lack energy to go about their daily lives.

To find out how you can deal with your constipation with MICROLAX® click to read more for Enema or Oral Liquid.

How the human digestive system works

How to deal with acute constipation

MICROLAX® acts locally within 30 minutes

Suffering from frequent constipation?