Medical professionals are presenting research papers on the definition of constipation at a conference.


Here is the general definition of constipation with details regarding intestinal action.

Constipation is a common symptom characterized by several essential indicators:

  • Fewer than three bowels a week.
  • Dry and lumpy stools.
  • Difficulty in evacuating the stool.
  • Difficult intestinal transit.
  • Full intestine feeling.

Individuals experiencing constipation have fewer than three bowel movements per week, with stools that are notably hard, dry, or lumpy in consistency.

Passing stools becomes a challenging and often painful process. This process comes with difficulty or discomfort.

Furthermore, there is a persistent sensation that a large portion of the stool is still inside the large intestine or rectum.

Health experts from the U.S. National Library of Medicine state that:

“Constipation is defined as the infrequent passage of stools or difficulty with evacuation of stools.”

According to the same health authority:

“Constipation is a symptom or condition characterized by difficult and infrequent bowel movements, typically 3 or fewer times a week.”

These hallmark signs collectively define constipation, signaling a disruption in the typical pattern of bowel movements and fecal consistency.

Constipation may manifest even with daily stool evacuations or multiple evacuations per day, albeit incomplete or insufficient. In such instances, evacuations tend to be fragmented or inadequate.

The daily volume of intestinal matter decreases noticeably as its consistency increases.

As a result, the intestinal matter becomes more solid and fragmented. Additionally, the coloration of stools may darken.

These variations underscore the diverse presentations of constipation, where frequency alone may not accurately reflect the completeness or adequacy of bowel movements.

Recognizing these symptoms is crucial for prompt diagnosis and appropriate management to alleviate discomfort and restore regular bowel function.


Here is the medical definition of constipation with details about factors like time and fecal matter.

Constipation represents a symptom rather than a standalone disease. Constipation denotes difficulty or infrequency in passing stools, often associated with hardened feces.

Constipation (in medical terms) refers to the delayed passage of stool through the large intestine for a period exceeding 48 hours.

Often, a coprological syndrome accompanies this condition, which manifests as a reduction in fecal volume alongside heightened consistency, indicating thorough digestion.

Various underlying conditions, such as dietary factors, medication side effects, or certain medical conditions, can contribute to its occurrence. Proper diagnosis and management of the underlying cause are crucial for effective treatment.

Dry and lumpy stool is a common manifestation of constipation, characterized by hardened feces that are difficult to pass.

This type of stool lacks moisture, making bowel movements uncomfortable and straining. It often indicates inadequate hydration or dietary fiber intake. Also, it is an indicator of difficult stool evacuation.

Common symptoms and signs of constipation encompass sensations of abdominal fullness, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, belching, heartburn, and flatulence.

Medical research on constipation (published by the U.S. NCBI) state that:

“Characterized by infrequent and often difficult bowel movements, constipation is more than just a symptom.”

Constipation is a syndrome rather than an illness, often attributed to poor dietary choices. While typically temporary, affecting over 90% of individuals at some point, it seldom leads to severe complications.

When a patient reports constipation, it's crucial to clarify the specifics of their symptoms. A comprehensive approach involves taking a detailed medical history, conducting a physical examination, performing a digital investigation of the anus and rectum, and potentially utilizing sigmoidoscopy or barium enema tests to rule out known clinical causes of reduced bowel frequency or difficulty passing stools.


Dyssynergic defecation describes:

  • Optimal transit of stool through the large intestine.
  • Delay in evacuating the stool.

Dyssynergic defecation, or rectal constipation, is characterized by optimal stool transit through the large intestine.

Despite optimal transit, there's a significant delay in fecal evacuation from the rectum.

This discrepancy often arises due to impaired coordination between the muscles involved in defecation. These muscles are the pelvic floor muscles and the muscles of the rectum.

Individuals with dyssynergic defecation may experience symptoms such as straining during bowel movements, a sensation of incomplete evacuation, and difficulty passing stools despite regular bowel movements.

According to a medical study called “Dyssynergic Defecation: A Comprehensive Review on Diagnosis and Management”:

“About one-third of chronically constipated patients have an evacuation disorder, and dyssynergic defecation is a common cause of the evacuation disorder.”

Effective management typically involves a comprehensive approach, including dietary modifications, behavioral therapy, pelvic floor exercises, and, in some cases, medication or biofeedback therapy to improve muscle coordination and facilitate proper bowel function.

Early recognition and targeted intervention are essential for alleviating symptoms and improving the overall quality of life for affected individuals.

Last medically reviewed on 21.03.2024


1. Constipation. About constipation. NHS.

2. Constipation and Defecation Problems Overview. American College of Gastroenterology.

3. Burden of digestive diseases in the United States part II: lower gastrointestinal diseases. James E Everhart, Constance E Ruhl.

4. Burden of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in the United States: Results of a Nationally Representative Survey of Over 71,000 Americans.

5. American Gastroenterological Association medical position statement on constipation. American Gastroenterological Association; Adil E Bharucha, Spencer D Dorn, Anthony Lembo, Amanda Pressman.



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

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