What is Constipation?
Constipation is defined as the inability to pass feces or having difficulty passing feces, because it is dry or hardened. Some sources define constipation as having three or less bowel movements per week, but that is a generalization. If you normally have 2 or 3 bowel movements per day, 3 per week would indicate constipation. If three movements per week is normal for you, though, then there is no reason for concern.
Constipation becomes more severe the longer it lasts. As the length of time between bowel movements increases, more water is absorbed back into the bloodstream, causing the stool to harden in the colon (large intestine). The discomfort increases, along with the damage that can be done by the strain there is to have a bowel movement.
Surgery patients are far more likely to have bouts of constipation than the average person. In fact, after surgery, you may be given a stool softener to prevent constipation before it happens.