CONSTIPATION SYMPTOMS | EXAMPLES, DETAILS, AND CONSULTATION
- Medically reviewed by: Horia Marculescu, MD
- Photo credits: Licenses / Author
- Last updated: 27.07.2021
Episodic Constipation Symptoms
The following constipation symptoms are related to the episodic type of constipation. Symptoms usually disappear after 2-3 days without special treatment.
- Short episodes of Abdominal Pain or Cramps;
- Short episodes of Bloating;
- Abdominal Distension – air, gas, or fluids to accumulate in the abdomen that causes the expansion of the stomach and intestines;
- Plenitude sensation – the stomach and intestines feel full but you can`t evacuate the stool.
- Flatulence, gas, and indigestion;
- Small effort during intestinal transit – you can feel the stool blocked inside;
- Stool does not evacuate after two days;
- Feeling a little dehydrated;
- Feeling tickle around the rectum and large intestine;
- Easy stool evacuation after 2-3 days with tickles around the rectum.
Examples of situations when these constipation symptoms affect you:
- You ate a large pizza without vegetables or fiberYou drove for 8-10 hours without stopping.
- You suffer from temporary heatstroke – very dehydrated
- You had to work or study in very hot, dirty, dry or dusty environment.
- You had 1-2 days of stress and had activities in places like the ones mentioned above.
Chronic Constipation Symptoms
The following constipation symptoms are related to the chronic type of constipation. Symptoms can persist from 15 days up to 10 months without treating the causes.
- Long Episodes of Cramps and Abdominal Pain;
- Bloating with Irritation of the rectum;
- Modification of your defecation habits – slow and rare stool evacuation;
- Fecal incontinence;
- Heavy Flatulence;
- Creation of Smelly Gas followed by Indigestion;
- Heavy Plenitude Sensation with Smelly Gas;
- Fecal matter leaks without the need of defecation;
- Sickness feeling followed by vomiting;
- Rectal pain or burnt feeling around the rectum;
- Lots of effort during the intestinal transit;
- Lack of food appetite;
- Stress feeling around the abdomen and Anxiety;
- Gaining weight; food stays blocked in the intestines for more than three days; your body is storing energy deposits all over.
- Painful and rare stool evacuation – defecation happens once every two days;
- Diarrhea appears more often than normal defecation, especially if you eat rotten food.
Examples of situations when these symptoms of constipation affect you:
- You suffer from the following diseases: Diabetes, Obesity, Hyperinsulinism, Chronic Fatigue, Cancer, High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure.
- You have microscopic Viruses or Bacteria in the intestines like Giardia or Heliobacter Pylori – these harm digestion and intestine motility.
- You can`t do any physical exercises because of physical problems.
- You eat rotten food that poisons the intestines; intestinal transit is unable to work because of blocked food.You eat foods that are very hard to digest like pizza, pasta with cheese, meat, fish, and eggs.
Severe Constipation Symptoms
The following constipation symptoms are related to the severe type of constipation. Symptoms usually disappear for a while and then reappear.
They are low in intensity and reach higher levels of pain, intestine stress, irritation of the intestines and rectum.
- Painful Cramps;
- Severe Abdominal Pain;
- Permanent Bloating that is persists even more after physical effort;
- Rectum Irritation and the area around it;
- The inability to defecate for long periods of time;
- Fecal incontinence with or without laxatives or digestive pills;
- High-intensity Flatulence – that smells bad;
- A large volume of gas – created by fermentation and carbonated water;
- Indigestion combined with sick feeling;
- The Inability to defecate for more than three days;
- The painful feeling of plenitude – blocked foods expand the intestine walls and scratch it;
- Liquid fecal matter leaks without notice;
- A general feeling of sickness around the abdomen;
- Vomiting if large amounts of food stay blocked in the intestines;
- The inability to eat solid food often;
- High-Intensity pain around the rectum with burning feeling;
- Pain caused during intestinal transit – even when sleeping or resting;
- Symptoms similar to fatigue, fever, neck pain, headache, coughing, generalized pain;
- Stools with blood or that have black color – melena;
- Changes to your conscious state or alert – for example fainting or the lack or physical and mental response to symptoms;
- High fever – over 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C);
- Massive rectal bleeding;
- Tachycardia – high cardiac frequency;
- Tachypnea – high respiratory frequency;
- Respiratory disorders – for example: shorting breathing cycles, difficult and heavy breathing, the impossibility to breath, wheezing, apnea (lack of breathing) or even suffocation;
- Rigid abdomen – “wooden abdomen”;
- Physical weakness – muscles feel weak and the whole body is low in energy;
- Jaundice (Icterus) – skin is colored yellow; the white part of the eyes turns also yellow.
Examples of situations when these constipation symptoms affect you:
- You suffered an accident that mobilizes you to bed for weeks or months.
- You suffer from extreme Dehydration related to Diabetes and Obesity.
- You accidentally ate poisonous food or food that became rotten.
- You have Viruses and Bacteria that evolved quickly in the intestine.
- You suffer from harmful infections inside the intestine – because of surgery, bacteria or accidents.
- You are exhausted and sick.
- You have inflamed polyps around the intestine walls.
- The intestinal lining mixes with bacteria and rotten food.
- You have intestinal cancer or Jaundice.
Constipation Symptoms and Problems
The lists above are overwhelming and frightening. The examples reflect our everyday life and how easy it is to suffer from constipation.
Constipation symptoms are different with each type of constipation. Some of them can produce less pain and irritation.
Some of them can produce severe pain followed by fatigue and the impossibility to evacuate the stool.
Here are a few problems that are related to dealing with the symptoms. It is essential to keep this in mind when dealing with severe and chronic constipation.
1. Diseases and Bad Habits cause Constipation Symptoms
The problem with constipation is that symptoms are usually caused by:
- temporary or long-term diseases;
- bad habits regarding food;
These symptoms are the response of our body to the food we eat.
It`s obvious that when we suffer from abdominal pain and irritation days in a row, our body has to deal with digestive problems and slow intestinal transit.
Bad food habits such as eating pizza or junk food forces the intestines to deposit large amounts of un-useful matter for long periods of time.
Examples: pizza dough, white flour bread, starch from corn, corn products all under the form of pure glucose.
2. Symptoms are Not the Causes of Constipation
Another problem is that we tend to focus on the symptoms rather than the causes.
On short-term, treating the severe and minor symptoms improves digestion and empties the intestines.
But not for long. We have to identify the causes to relieve constipation as fast as possible.
The interesting thing is that, as soon as the causes disappear, so do the symptoms. It may be diabetes, lack of hydration, eating too much pizza or just staying on the chair for many hours in a row.
Treating the causes from the beginning prevents other diseases to affect our body. This thing works for every type of constipation even if it takes longer.
For example. If we have good digestion and intestinal transit we can:
- lose weight just because the food is evacuated fast
- have low cholesterol levels because fats are assimilated and evacuated
- reduce the quantity of sugar that our body has to fix in the blood cells – sugary foods pass through the intestines quickly
Treating the causes should be the main problem to deal with on long-term. If we let the unknown causes affect us, then constipation is an unsolved problem, especially on long-term.
3. Constipation Symptoms create Complications
Unfortunately, constipation can lead to serious medical complications like:
- Anal fissures
- Abdominal hernias
- Rectal prolapse
These are dangerous complications that can influence to other life-threatening diseases like cancer, intestinal polyps, and infections.
Frequent Constipation Symptoms of the Average Patient
The constipation symptomatology differs on individual particularities and age.
It can also differ because of food habits, long-term diseases, and temporary un-related diseases.
The most frequent symptoms that affect the Average Patient are:
- Difficulties in emptying the intestines;
- Painful defecation;
- Intense abdominal pain;
- Permanent modifications of the intestinal transit – alternating diarrhea with constipation – especially if the patient suffers from irritable bowel syndrome;
- Constipation may be associated with nausea, vomiting, excessive meteorism if it occurs due to the intestinal obstruction;
- Inappetence, headaches, loose abdomen;
- Halitosis, foul tongue;
- Rotten unpleasant mouth taste.
Severe and chronic symptoms can develop diarrhea at the same time with lack of had stool evacuation.
The soft liquid stool passes between the blocked stool. The blocked har stool acts like glue. It sticks to the intestinal walls and rectum walls.
The problem with the frequent symptoms is that they cannot indicate a life-threatening disease such as cancer or a disease related to body immunity.
Headaches, the lack of stool evacuation, and painful defecation can be symptoms of a simple cold or severe dehydration.
Also, suffering from bacteria in the intestines can cause the same symptoms.
Every symptom influences the stools consistency, shape, and smell. The problem is that blocked stool has different shapes and sizes. The smell is different for every type of constipation.
The frequent stool that the constipated patient eliminates has the following characteristics:
- Unnatural shape – semi-liquid like mashed potatoes;
- Long, hard, and glued together – with dark red color or black, due to the presence of blood;
- Small fragmented pieces with brown-yellow color;
- Long and thick like a pen. The color is grey-yellow.
The smell depends on the time the stool stayed blocked in the intestines.
Stool that contains meat and cheese tends to alter and become rotten after 5 hours. This time interval is the minimum time for meat and cheese to digest optimally.
The smell can be of rotten food, with gas that irritation the nose. It can also have a smell that is similar to alcohol because of the fruits that ferment. The frequent smell of stool is similar to a lighter version of that of a bag full of garbage.
Rotten food has a specific smell which everyone detects. It also applies for stool blocked in the intestines.
Symptoms of Constipation and Medical Consultation
The Average Patient does not consider getting a medical consult.
The idea of getting specialized consultation occurs only when the symptoms have a severe impact on digestion and intestinal transit.
The usual light symptoms of constipation are:
- Unusual abdominal pain that disappears;
- Unusual irritation in the intestines when eating pizza or sugary foods;
- Defecation impossibility when your body signals to go to the toilet;
People suffering from constipation are advised by the majority of specialists and doctors to take tests and a Medical Consultation if:
- They have changes in the intestinal transit – alternating with diarrhea.
- They have pain when defecating.
- They put lots of effort when defecating a hard stool.
- They suffer from constipation for at least two weeks with abdominal recurrent pain – this is similar to lead (plumbum) intoxication.
- Symptoms of constipation get worse.
- There are signs and symptoms of other diseases that can associate to constipation like asthenia, cold weather sensitivity or intolerance – this suggests hypothyroidism or dehydration.
Specialists insist that people or patients who suffered from constipation in the past should urgently visit the doctor if the symptoms are serious and persist continuously.
Also, you should visit the doctor urgently if you associate the symptoms with:
- Emission of blood through the rectum – Rectal Bleeding;
- Anal pain and Hemorrhoids;
- Defects of intestinal mucosa or Anal fissures that will trigger intense pain when defecating;
- Fecal impact – stationary or blocked fecal matter.
There is another disgusting symptom that associates with constipation. This dangerous symptom is Rectal Prolapse.
Rectal prolapse appears when defecation happens with lots of effort. Rectal prolapse is the exteriorization of a part of the rectal mucosa that slips through the anal canal.
This kind of problem usually associates the secretion of mucus which will stain your underwear.
Rectal Prolapse can cause intense recurrent vomiting, amid intense abdominal pain and chronic constipation. It can sometimes be the case of intestinal obstruction which is a surgical emergency.
These are enough reasons to get a Medical Consultation. It will help you to prevent any other symptoms from affecting you.
To Keep in Mind!
Constipation is a very uncomfortable symptom which people usually do not take it seriously. In many cases, people suffer from episodic symptoms of constipation. But, despite the light symptoms, these can be prevention signal of eventual colon cancer or rectal cancer.
Because of these reasons, specialists recommend people to have a Medical Consultation as soon as the symptoms appear.
How Symptoms related to Constipation affect our Social Life
Constipation symptoms affect almost every part of the body. Symptoms are focused on the large and small intestine.
They also affect the stomach and the rectum through a series of intestinal movements and processes related to digestion.
Symptoms usually cause pain, irritation and overall a bad feeling around the intestines area. This thing also includes the stomach and the rectum.
Constipation affects the way people behave in different situations because of pain and intestinal irritation. The need to go to the toilet is a primary concern because of the pressure inside the intestines.
Symptoms affect the way:
- we sleep;
- we eat;
- we socialize;
- we plan an event;
- the way we treat and talk to people wherever we go.
In order not to have to deal with them often, we try to ignore them or pretend everything`s fine.
Usually, we find ourselves in embarrassing situations when constipation symptoms like bloating, flatulence (farting), irritation, and belching start.
Here are a few examples of situations:
- Speaking with someone important;
- Having an important meeting or Exam;
- Having a moment of Silence and the intestines scream to evacuate the gas.
How Constipation Symptoms affects Digestion and Stool Evacuation
The first parts that start to be affected by constipation are the Large Intestine and the Rectum.
These are the places where constipation appears first because of the distant position throughout the body. The Rectum is the final destination of the stool. Here, the stool will evacuate as soon as the brain sends the signal.
The final process of digestion takes places in the large intestine after the water separation process takes place from the moving stool.
The Rectum is the ending point of digestion.
Evacuating the stool is triggered by the brain with signals. This thing happens when enough stool is in the rectum. We use abdomen muscle movements to push and open the rectum.
The list below presents the most important, unpleasant, and painful constipation symptoms. These symptoms are found usually in the large intestine and rectum:
- irritation and intestinal tissue pain;
- blocked food turns into rotten stool;
- inability to evacuate the stool (for more than 48 hours);slow intestine muscle movements;
- gas accumulation from food and blocked gas areas that inflate the belly;
- slow stool movement and glued stool to intestine tissues - blocking even more stool around the large intestine leading to the small intestine, all the way to the stomach;
- keeping water away from the stool, when passing from small intestine to large intestine – essential to soften the stool.
The second part affected by constipation is the Small Intestine.
Usually, digestion does not affect this part of the body because there is enough water around. Water contained in the food helps keep the small intestine hydrated.
The constipation symptoms for this part are:
- irritation and tissue pain;
- blocked food turning into rotten stool;
- low muscle and stool movements;
- the acid feeling from the stomach;
- gas accumulated from fermenting foods;
- water elimination, when digested stool enters the large intestine;
The last part of the body affected by constipation is the Stomach.
The stomach is rarely affected directly by constipation, but severe constipation usually makes large amounts of stool to stack up from the rectum to the large intestine, and continuing to the small intestine.
When such thing happens, all the digestive acids from the stomach, are present in the first parts of the small intestine, near the liver and pancreas.
Also, you can feel acid in the throat, because the blocked food in the small intestine can`t move forward with all digestive juices around it.
In this way, digestion interrupts and, the assimilation of vitamins, proteins, and essential fatty acids is perturbed.
Symptoms can be:
- the presence of gastric acid – creating pain similar to burn in the throat and mouth;
- tissue pain and irritation;
- gas accumulation from foods;
- throat pain and bad taste.
Other symptoms of constipation:
- general belly pain
- rectum pain and tissue irritation
- arms and feet palpitation
- belly shakiness when lots of blocked stool is in the intestines;
- stomach sick, usually when we eat rotten food;
- impossibility to eliminate gas;
- heatstroke or insolation (severe insolation when hot weather and humidity is present);
- nervousness when stool is ready to be eliminated;
- the stress of non-stop rectum irritation;
- depression for long periods of time and making worries.
Constipation Symptoms and Weight Loss
The most dangerous affection that takes places when constipation appears is: gaining weight (or getting fat).
Unfortunately, constipation is a symptom that directly influences weight loss. Storing fatty deposits all around the body happens frequently in:
- chronic constipation
- severe constipation
- episodic constipation (not very often)
Gaining weight is the result of blocked stool in the small intestine.
Blocked stool makes the nervous system to warn the body that there are carbohydrates or glucose present.
Blocked food containing sugar, glucose, or any carbohydrates, tells the pancreas to start producing large amounts of insulin to be fixed in the blood cells and tissues.
Therefore, energy deposits will transform into fatty deposits after insulin fixes the glucose from the blood cells into the tissues.
The fixation of carbs onto the tissues is the general process of getting fat, even without constipation.
Just a small amount of sugar present in any food we eat is enough to confuse the pancreas to secrete large amounts of insulin. This thing creates fat deposits all over the body constantly.
The number of constipation symptoms is overwhelming and small, compared to other digestive diseases.
The harm they do to our body is dangerous for our overall health.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Sebastian D., and I am the senior editor of constipationguide.com. With the help of my mentor, Dr. Horia Marculescu, I decided to create a practical guide to constipation relief.. read more