U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Constipation

Definition and Facts for Constipation

​Constipation is a condition in which you have fewer than three bowel movements a week, or hard, dry and small bowel movements that are painful or difficult to pass.

Symptoms & Causes of Constipation

​​The most common symptoms of constipation are fewer than-normal bowel movements, stool that is difficult or painful to pass, and pain or bloating in your abdomen.

Diagnosis of Constipation

​To find out why you're constipated, your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam. He or she may also order certain tests.

Treatment for Constipation

​Treatments for constipation include malking changes in your eating, diet, and nutrition; exercise and lifestyle changes; medicines and supplements; biofeedback; and surgery.

Eating, Diet, and Nutrition for Constipation

​Your eating and diet may affect your chances of becoming constipated. If your diet has too little fiber, you may get constipated.

Clinical Trials for Constipation
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support basic and clinical research into many digestive disorders.​​

This content is provided 
as a service of the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). Content produced by the Clearinghouse is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and outside experts.​