Many people mistake constipation for many things. For instance, the bloated feeing, hardness of stool and so on could imply Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Others just have cramps for a day or abdominal pain and think that they have constipation. So the question is: what is constipation? To answer the question on what is constipation clearly; one has to understand it from the basic signs and symptoms associated with it.
One of the tell-tale signs of constipation is in the Stool. There is the healthy on one end and then, there is hard, lumpy stool. Watch out for the stool that that appears to be unusually hard and this goes on for some times. For instance, if you pass this hard stool on odd times for 3 months, then it is highly likely that you have constipation.
Not passing stool
The normal, healthy person can frequent washroom as many times as once every day. This would add up to 7 times a week. This can reduce to 3 times a week and still be considered normal. However, if the passing of stool goes to less than 3 times a week for the next 3 months, you need to get worried. This is because you will have established a pattern that is characteristic of constipation. in answering the question what is constipation, the pattern of passing stool will greatly help in forming an opinion on whether you have it or not.
Passing too much gas
D o you sometimes feel full even when you have not eaten? The gas is indicative of bloating, which also happens to be a precursor to constipation. It essentially means that you will have a digestive problem that leads to constipation. Some foods produce gas like beans and one might think that this is necessarily constipation when it is not. The bloated feeling may be there even when you have not taken anything like beans or other gas forming foods. You need to be examined if you think that there is an outside cause of the gas apart from the gas.
Desire to empty bowels even when empty
Even when you have nothing to pass, you will find that there is a feeling that makes you go to the washrooms and still, nothing comes out. This frequent visit to the washrooms without subsequent passing of stool is a pointer to an underlying problem and in most cases, this would be constipation.
On the question of what is constipation, you will find that there is usually pain that cannot be explained. This pain is felt on the lower abdomen where the colon is located. The pain has much to do with the lack of the bowel movements such that you are not able to pass the stool.
There are also cramps which one experiences from time to time. As long as the bowel movements are not normal, the pain will be there and this will tell you out rightly that you have constipation.
If you identify the above and other related symptoms, you have constipation.