“Regularity” is different for different people. Some people can have bowel movements several times a day, while others may only go several times a week. If you have fewer than 3 bowel movements a week, it’s a sign that you may have constipation. If you experience constipation regularly, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (IBS-C) or Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC).
*While estimates may vary, as many as 13 million and 35 million adult Americans suffer from symptoms of IBS-C or CIC, respectively.
IBS is a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder defined as recurrent belly pain that occurs along with altered bowel habits. There are three main subtypes: IBS with constipation (IBS-C), IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), and mixed IBS (IBS-M) where there is both constipation and diarrhea. IBS-C is characterized by recurrent abdominal pain, hard or lumpy stool, bloating, straining when having a bowel movement, and feeling like a bowel movement is incomplete. These symptoms can ebb and flow over time, which can make it difficult to realize that there may be a need to seek treatment.
If you experience these patterns in your bowel movements, speak openly and honestly with your healthcare provider. There could be treatment options that can help you.