What Is Constipation?
The term “constipation” can have a lot of different meanings if you were to ask the general public. For some people, constipation can refer to someone not having a bowel movement very often.
Other people might describe constipation as the straining to defecate because the colon is packed with stools that are hard and cannot pass through the anus.
A third group of people might also describe constipation as that feeling that the intestine is not completely empty.
However, these are all examples of what constipation can be considered – decrease in bowel movements, problems passing hard stools, and feeling like the colon is not completely empty.
The opposite of constipation is diarrhea. It is also possible in the case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome to go from diarrhea to constipation on a daily basis. This is something that no one would wish on their worst enemy!
On average people will have at least 3 bowel movements a week. The number for some people can be higher than this. However, when looking at whether a person is constipated due to the number of bowel movements, it is important to consider what is healthy for them.
If someone who has only 2 bowel movements a week normally would not be considered to be constipated based solely on the number of movements because this is considered normal for them.
So when discussing constipation solely in terms of the number of defecations, it is important to look at how many times the person will normally defecate.
It is better to discuss what constipation is based on the passing of stool. If a person has difficulty passing stool because it is hard and bulky, then this is a more realistic definition.
Constipation is especially considered when their is straining involved to get the stool out, and the rectum does not feel as if it is completely empty. Using this model, we can agree on a more realistic definition of constipation.