A person experiencing bowel movements fewer than three times a week is considered to have constipation. When there is a bowel movement, it is usually dry, hard and difficult or painful to pass. Other symptoms of constipation include bloating and the feeling of a full bowel.
Constipation can be caused by a number of things, but the top culprit is usually a poor diet. Most people will experience constipation in their life; in fact, it is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the country. But, it is usually short-lived and not serious.
It is important to see a doctor if you have chronic constipation to rule out something more serious than a poor diet. Diseases that cause constipation include neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis, metabolic and endocrine disorders like diabetes and systemic conditions that affect organ systems, such as lupus. These conditions can slow the movement of stool through the colon, rectum, or anus, causing constipation.