Submitted by Thiruvelan on Sun, 08/09/2015

Going longer than three or more days without a bowel movement is usually too long; the feces become harder and more difficult to pass called constipation. 

What is constipation?

Constipation is characterize by infrequent bowel movements, difficulty moving bowel, and abnormally hard stools. The medical community define constipation as less than three bowel movements per week.

The patient definition of self-reported constipation is much broader as straining (52%), hard stool (44%), infrequent stool (32%), abdominal discomfort, and sense of incomplete evacuation.

Constipation is highly nonstandard condition; the frequency and character of bowel movements vary significantly between individuals. The normal bowel habit range widely vary from three bowel movement per day to three bowel movement per week.

Reasons for constipation are many; may be due to long hours of sitting, sitting on resin seat, excessive travelling, smoking, alcohol, fast foods, medication side effects, etc.

Prevention is better than cure; prevent constipation by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily, stop smoking, avoid/limit alcohol, do not continuously sit for long hours, take greens, fiber contained fruits & vegetables and take one ripped banana at night.

What is Healthy bowel movement (elimination)?

People with healthy elimination have bowel movement occurs one to three times daily. The first bowel movement occurs within few minutes of wakeup, ideally before sunrise. If there is second or third bowel movement later in the day, in the afternoon or evening. 

Stool consistency for health bowel movement:

  • Stool look well formed as a ripe banana.
  • It maintain its shape after dropped into the toilet bowl.
  • Light brownish-yellow color
  • It floats in the toilet bowl water in the beginning; sinking stool indicates presence of toxins (as per Ayurveda) and nothing wrong if it sink after few minutes.
  • It has slightly oily in consistency.
  • It is not sticky; the anal orifice is easy to clean and the stool does not stick to the toilet.
  • It has mild odor.

How serious is the constipation?

There is an opinion that with constipation, the digested waste products stuck inside the intestine. In fact, if the large intestine hold the waste for extended amount of time sends wrong signals to liver, brain, immune system, etc., leading to migraine and other complications.

Although constipation is not usually consider serious, you will feel much better when normal evacuation is back on track. However, chronic constipation can lead to serious conditions such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fecal incontinence, colonic conditions and urologic disorders.