Constipation is very common, especially for people who can't move around easily. Constipation can be painful and also can lead to rectal bleeding as well as more serious conditions.

Behaviors that may be telling you about constipation:

  • Behaviors worsen around toileting times
  • Behavior is better for a day or two after a very large bowel movement, then gradually worsens until next bowel movement
  • Less than one bowel movement every 2-3 days
  • No regular pattern of bowel movements
  • Digging in the rectal area with fingers, smearing stool on walls or other objects
  • Poor appetite, vomiting
  • Drinks little; low fluid intake
  • Prefers loose waistband, elastic waist, stretchable clothing

Other factors that may indicate the presence of constipation:

  • Very large bowel movements
  • Bowel movements alternate between hard stools and soft or runny stools
  • Discomfort during bowel movement
  • Passing large stools that clog the toilet
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Gassiness
  • Swollen stomach, abdominal masses

Do you think someone's behavior may be telling you about constipation? Talk with your doctor or other health care provider. They can work with you to learn whether this is the case.