When to label as Constipation

Previous Post: Normal Stool frequency

A delay or difficulty in defecation sufficient to cause significant distress to the patient is defined as constipation.

Objectively it can be defined as duration of more than 4 weeks and presence of any 2 or more of the following: 

  1. Defecation frequency ≤ 2 times per week (except in case of Exclusive breastfed infant after first few weeks of age)
  2. Fecal incontinence ≥1 times per week after the acquisition of toileting skills
  3. History of excessive stool retention.
  4. History of large-diameter stools that may obstruct the toilet
  5. History of painful or hard bowel movements
  6. Presence of a large mass in the rectum or on per abdomen examination

One should keep in mind that it is the consistency/shape of the stool not the frequency which is more important for defining constipation. 

Next Post : Organic Constipation

Read all posts so far on Constipation

Post drafted on inputs from Dr Mridul Das, Ex-Pediatric Gastroenterologist at BLK Centre for Child Health

Post Pic: BRISTOL Stool Chart

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