Then assess how bad your constipation is. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) defines constipation as having three or fewer bowel movements in a week, or passing stool that is hard, dry, small and possibly causing pain when you try to eliminate it.
Certainly it could be something simple that explains why you are suffering from constipation: pregnancy, recovering from childbirth, taking calcium or iron supplements, or taking certain painkillers and antidepressants, are all circumstances commonly associated with constipation. Your doctor will want to know whether to rule out these factors.
On the other hand, constipation can be a sign of problems with the muscles and nerves in the intestine, rectum and anus, the NDDIC said. It might also signal irritable bowel syndrome, an often painful feeling in the gut thought to be caused by certain foods, stress, bacterial infections or other possibilities.