Identifying the Symptoms of Constipation

girl with magnifying glassWhen you have problems with constipation, it can cause some painful and even embarrassing symptoms. You’ll want to pay attention to your body to determine if you’re experiencing constipation symptoms. Symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.

Frequency of Bowel Movements

no toiletThe most common symptoms of constipation is not going to the bathroom regularly. If you have healthy digestion you should be having daily bowel movements. In fact, some people have bowel movements two or three times a day and that’s a good thing.

But if you don’t have at least one each day, you can be sure that you’re showing signs of constipation. If you’re skipping days between bowel movements, this is a signal that your digestive system is moving too slowly.

Many people have constipation that causes them to only have one or two bowel movements in a week. If you think about how often you eat, you can see that your body isn’t properly processing your food if you’re going to the bathroom that infrequently.

Abdominal Pain

stomacheWhen your digestive system gets backed up, it can cause abdominal pain to occur. Your pain may be a result of intestines that are too packed with feces to be comfortable.

Abdominal pain can also come from cramping when your body tries to move the waste through your body. In either case, you may experience discomfort and pain in your abdomen when you’re having difficulty with regular digestion.

Pain during Bowel Movements

constipated manPain while going to the bathroom is also a sign of constipation. Your stools may become very hard and even very large making it painful when they leave the rectum. You may even experience anal tearing called fissures as a result of constipation.

Fissures can also cause bleeding that you’ll notice when wiping and can even cause you to see blood in the toilet or your underwear. This is usually bright red blood and isn’t harmful, but if you see blood it’s a good idea to see healthcare provider to rule out something more serious.

Swelling in Your Abdomen

stomach swellYou may also experience swelling in your abdomen when you’re constipated. You may feel bloated or that your belly is actually hard to the touch. This is because of impacted waste. As your digestion slows down but you keep eating, your intestines become filled with waste.

You may even notice a slight weight gain or that your clothes don’t fit comfortably when you’re constipated. Again, this is your body’s way of letting you know there’s a problem that needs to be corrected.


girl vomittingYou might not think of vomiting as a symptom of constipation, but it can be a result of it. When you eat food, but it can’t pass through your intestines easily this can cause a system backup. When food can’t pass normally, your body gets rid of it through vomiting.

Vomiting doesn’t occur unless your constipation has been going on for some time. This is one of the more severe constipation symptoms and indicates that you have a serious case of constipation that needs immediate treatment.

Often this type of constipation results from having a bowel obstruction, though that’s not always the case. Obviously there are other causes of vomiting, but if you’re vomiting and experiencing additional signs of constipation it’s important to seek treatment.

Straining to Go to the Bathroom

man in painYou may be able to have a bowel movement, but if you’re constipated it can cause you to strain and push when you go to the restroom. In normal digestion and bowel movements, this isn’t necessary.

Your body has involuntary muscles that will naturally help you to evacuate your bowels. But if your feces is very hard or impacted those voluntary muscles aren’t enough. If you feel like you have to bear down or push to go to the bathroom you’re probably experiencing constipation.

Still Feel Like You Need to Go

biting nailEven after a bowel movement, you may feel like you need to go again immediately. This is called incomplete evacuation. You’re having a bowel movement, but because of constipation you’re not able to get all of the waste out of the body.

This leaves you feeling like you still need to go even though you’ve just gone to the bathroom. If you experience these symptoms, constipation is a likely culprit.

When to Seek Medical Help

In most cases constipation is really not something life threatening. But if you experience severe constipation symptoms it’s important to seek medical treatment immediately. These symptoms include severe pain in your abdomen, pencil-thin stools, and unexplained weight loss.

If you see blood in your stool or you’re having constipation and diarrhea in close succession you should also talk with your doctor. It’s always a good idea to get screened for serious problems to catch them early.