What is Constipation?

Constipation is when stools are hard, dry or difficult to pass. This can make pooping uncomfortable or can make you want to delay or avoid using the bathroom.

Sometimes, you can pass loose stool around the hard stool that is stuck. We say someone is constipated when he or she has 1 of these signs:

  • Pooping fewer than 3 times a week
  • Stool that is hard, dry and small so it is difficult to pass
  • An X-ray that shows he or she is constipated

Why Am I Constipated?

People who have Down syndrome have lower muscle tone. This can make it harder for them to poop. You can become constipated for many other reasons.

Some of these reasons are:

  • Diet that is low in fiber
  • Lack of exercise
  • Certain medications
  • Ignoring the urge to poop
  • Other medical conditions, like celiac disease or untreated thyroid disease
Constipation is when stools (poop) are hard, dry or difficult to pass. This picture shows poop that is back-up in the person’s intestines.
Constipation is when stools (poop) are hard, dry or difficult to pass. This picture shows stool that is back-up in the person’s intestines.

What Are the Symptoms of Constipation?

When you are constipated, the symptoms can be uncomfortable. You might have some of these symptoms:

  • Feeling full or bloated
  • Feeling pain when pooping
  • Having to push hard when pooping
  • Noticing a little blood on the toilet paper from straining to poop
  • Having accidents with loose stool

How Can I Help Ease My Constipation?

There are a few ways you can help ease your constipation. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make sure your diet is high in fiber.
  • Make sure you are getting enough exercise.
  • Do not to ignore the urge to poop.
  • Have your doctor go over your medications to see if any of them can cause constipation.

If you are very constipated, ask the doctor about an initial clean-out. This is when you take medication to ease constipation. Talk to the doctor before starting an initial clean-out.

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