Passing one or more soft bulky stools every day is a desirable goal. While troublesome constipation is not usually a serious disorder, however, there may be other underlying problems causing constipation and, therefore, testing is often recommended.
Constipation is passage of small amounts of hard, bowel movement, usually fewer than 3 times a week. People who are constipated make find it difficult and painful to have a bowel movement. Other symptoms of constipation include feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and sluggish.
Many people think they are constipated when, in fact, their bowel movements are regular. For example, some people believe they are constipated, or irregular, if they do not have a bowel movement every day. However, there is no right number of daily or weekly bowel movements. Normal may be three times a day or three times a week depending on the person. In addition, some people naturally have firmer stools than others.
At one time or another, almost everyone is constipated. Poor diet and lack of exercise are usually the causes. In most cases, constipation is temporary and not serious. Understanding its causes, prevention, and treatment will help most people find relief.
Constipation is a symptoms rather than a disease and is the most common digestive complaint. A standard set of criteria has been suggested that includes at least 2 of the following symptoms present for at least three months.
1. Hard stools
2. Training at defecation
3. Sensation of incomplete evacuation at least 25% of the time
4. Two or fewer bowel movements per week

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