Symptoms of Constipation
Possible symptoms of constipation include passing small amounts of dry, hard stool fewer than three times a week. Other symptoms can include feeling bloated, uncomfortable, or sluggish. Having constipation can also lead to complications, such as hemorrhoids or tears in the skin around the anus (known as anal fissures).
Many people think they are constipated when, in fact, their bowel movements are regular. For example, some people believe they are constipated, or irregular, if they do not have a bowel movement every day. However, there is no right number of daily or weekly bowel movements. Three bowel movements a day might be normal for one person, while three a week might be normal for another. Also, some people naturally have firmer stools than others.
Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Constipation is when a person passes small amounts of hard, dry stool, usually fewer than three times a week. People who are constipated may find it difficult and painful to have a bowel movement.
Other constipation symptoms include feeling:
Sometimes constipation can lead to complications, which have their own set of symptoms. These potential complications include:
- Anal fissures
- Rectal prolapse
- Fecal impaction.
Hemorrhoids and Anal Fissures
Hemorrhoids can be caused by straining to have a bowel movement. Anal fissures (tears in the skin around the anus) can be caused when hard stool stretches the sphincter muscle.
Both hemorrhoids and anal fissures can lead to rectal bleeding, which appears as bright red streaks on the surface of the stool. Treatment for hemorrhoids may include warm tub baths, ice packs, and applying a special cream to the affected area. Treatment for anal fissures can include stretching the sphincter muscle or surgical removal of tissue or skin in the affected area.