Many of us have had issues with constipation at one point or another. It affects around 42 million people in the U.S., which is roughly 15% of the population. Constipation can affect anyone, but it tends to occur more often in women and those ages 65 and older. 

In order to relieve occasional constipation, it's helpful to learn more about the symptoms and causes. 

Symptoms of constipation

While constipation affects each person differently, here are some common signs:

  • Having fewer than three bowel movements a week 
  • Hard, dry and small stools, making them painful or difficult to pass
  • Straining to have a bowel movement 
  • Feeling as though you haven't completely evacuated the stool after a bowel movement
  • Abdominal discomfort, gas and bloating 

What causes constipation? 

Constipation occurs when stool stays in the colon, a part of the large intestine, for too long. The colon absorbs a large amount of water from the stool, making the stool hard and dry, which ultimately makes it difficult to have bowel movements. 

There are a number of reasons why constipation may occur. Here are some of the more common causes of constipation: 

  • Lack of sufficient fiber in the diet 
  • Dehydration 
  • Lack of physical activity 
  • Changes in your daily routine 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Traveling 
  • Stress 
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement 
  • Certain medications 

Constipation relief options 

There are a number of things you can do to get yourself regular again, including changing your diet to include more fiber, drinking more water and getting more exercise. If those steps aren't sufficient, try taking a laxative for occasional constipation. If constipation lasts more than seven days, you should visit your doctor. 

If you have occasional constipation, Phillips'® has a range of laxatives to provide gentle, effective relief. 

Get information on picking a laxative. Also, find out what you can do to stay regular.


Phillips'® makes a number of products to help support your digestive health:*

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.