What other symptoms might occur with constipation?

Constipation may be accompanied by other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms frequently affect the digestive tract but may also affect other body systems.

Digestive symptoms that may occur with constipation

Constipation may accompany other symptoms affecting the digestive tract including:

  • Abdominal cramping or pain

  • Abdominal swelling, bloating or distention

  • Change in bowel habits

  • Fecal incontinence

  • Flatulence, gas or indigestion

  • Full bowel sensation

  • Leaking of small amounts of liquid stool without having a full bowel movement

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Rectal pain or burning

  • Straining during bowel movement

Other symptoms that may occur with constipation

Constipation may accompany symptoms related to other body systems including:

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, constipation may occur with symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of the following symptoms:

  • Bloody, black or tarry stool

  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness

  • Dizziness

  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)

  • Major rectal bleeding

  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia) or rapid breathing (tachypnea)

  • Respiratory or breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, or choking

  • Rigid, board-like abdomen

  • Severe abdominal pain

  • Weakness (loss of strength)

  • Yellow skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)


What is constipation?

Constipation is an abnormal condition in which bowel movements occur less frequently than what is usual for you. One-fourth or more of these bowel movements are accompanied with straining. Every person has differences in their normal, regular pattern of bowel movements, but constipation can be loosely defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week.

When you are ... Read more about constipationintroduction


What causes constipation?

Normally, the colon absorbs excessive water from food during digestion. When food moves too slowly, the colon absorbs too much water, resulting in hard, dry stool and constipation.

In young children, constipation can result from being afraid or unwilling to use the restroom, or delaying a bowel movement when the urge is felt, which can also occur in adults. Other conditions that a... Read more about constipationcauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System

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