7 Constipation
Signs and

We’ve all experienced that frustrating, backed-up feeling: You want to poop, but nothing’s moving. That’s a sure sign of constipation, right? Well, yes, difficulty having a bowel movement can mean you’re constipated. But other symptoms may point to constipation, too.

The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for medical advice, diagnosis and treatment.

Could You Be Constipated? Look for These 7 Signs

Identifying constipation symptoms can help you understand the cause and figure out the best way to relieve it. If you’re constipated, you may be experiencing: 

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Bloating and Gas

When your stool is stuck, gas can get trapped behind it, causing your stomach to look and feel larger. And since you’re backed up, your gut bacteria have more time to ferment the stool that’s there — which can lead to more gas and bloating. 

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Difficulty Passing Stools

If you are straining to poop or pooping is painful, you may be constipated.

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Hard or Dry Stools

Your colon plays a major part in your overall digestive health — especially when it comes to bowel movements. When food moves too slowly, your colon has time to extract too much water from the food, which can leave your stools hard and dry, and can make them difficult to pass. 

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Inability to Clear Your Bowels

When you’re constipated it can sometimes feel like you could still pass more stool after you use the bathroom. The technical term for this is tenesmus, and it’s caused by hard, dry stool being stuck in your bowel, which can irritate it and lead to the sensation of needing to go, even if you just went.

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Less Frequent Stools

How often should you go? The answer varies from person to person. Some people have a bowel movement up to three times a day, while others can track their bathroom habits to three times a week. Constipation is defined as fewer than three bowel movements per week. 

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Nausea and Appetite Loss

Backed-up intestines and trapped gas can make you feel full and cause a decreased appetite.  

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Stomachaches and Cramping

Hardened stool and gas trapped behind your stool can cause abdominal pressure and pain. 

How to Relieve Constipation Symptoms

Most of the time you can treat constipation at home with a combination of self-care practices and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. If you find yourself with a backed-up gut, try these tips: 

Get more exercise and physical activity.

Even just a short walk can help get things moving.

Change what you eat.

Try more high-fiber foods and drink plenty of water. 

See if 

An osmotic laxative like MiraLAX® works naturally with 
the water in your body to unblock your system without 
harsh side effects.

    1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms and causes of constipation. Updated May 2018. Accessed March 13, 2023.
    2. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Bloating: causes and prevention tips. Accessed March 15, 2023.
    3. Booth S, WebMD. Causes of painful bowel movements. Updated April 22, 2021. Accessed March 15, 2023. 
    4. Cleveland Clinic. Tenesmus. Updated August 25, 2022. Accessed March 15, 2023. 
    5. Coelho S, Health. How often should you poop? Updated November 7, 2022. Accessed March 15, 2023. 
    6. Stinchcombe C, Health. When does constipation become an emergency? Updated September 25, 2022. Accessed March 15, 2023.