Constipation is defined as infrequent bowel movements or difficulty in passing stools. Learn more about the condition, its diagnosis and the different treatment options available.

Normal bowel movements can vary from three times a day to 3 times a week. We define constipation as an abnormal reduction in frequency of bowel movements (fewer than three times a week), or hard stools that are difficult to pass. Constipation is chronic when the symptoms persist for longer than six months.

It is important to first consult a doctor to eliminate any underlying illness that may be causing the constipation.

Fewer than three bowel movements per week

stools that are too hard and difficult to pass

10 to 30%

of adults are affected by constipation; the majority are women

Often unrecognized

Constipation in children is often unrecognized

Last update 13/04/2017