Ever had the urge to pass stool, you know the kind that makes you feel paralysed, like everything is about to come out right now….so you rush to the toilet and carry the full tissue roll just in case…lock the door behind you, position yourself and push with all the strength you can muster then after a full excruciating minute comes: Plonk!- a pebble sized product and staring at it you’re sure there’s like 5kg of those pebbles still stuck in the pipes….

It’s possible that you’re CONSTIPATED

Constipation refers to less than 3 bowel movements a week, so for those who are proud of their ‘disciplined’ bowels because they ‘only go once or twice a week’, those pipes aren’t disciplined, they are clogged and need medical attention.


* Infrequent bowel movements
* Small, hard to pass stool
* The feeling that something remained up there after visiting the toilet
* Tearing of skin around the anus ( anal fissure) after passing stool

So what causes this uncomfortable and sometimes painful situation?

1. Inadequate water intake tops the list- Water softens your stool among many other important functions.

2. Not enough fibre in your diet- fibre is the indigestible part of plant foods ( not found in meat)e.g vegetables,fruits, grains (does not include beer) e.t.c, it helps in digestion and aids in bowel movements.

3. Physical inactivity- regular exercise can strengthen your digestive tract.

4. Medication- some medicines cause constipation e.g. antidepressants

5. Ignoring the urge to poop- your body has no consideration for where you are, who you might be trying to impress or the state of the toilets readily available, when it prompts you that it’s time to poop, do your best to do so because the longer you retain stool in your body, the harder it becomes and it will be more difficult to pass.

6. Stress- affects how the body functions.

7. Overuse of laxatives.

There could be a more serious underlying condition like bowel obstruction, colon cancer etc so kindly contact your doctor if you have less than 3 bowel movements a week, have severe and persistent abdominal pain and boating, or if you notice blood in your stool.
Obstruction can be seen clearly on x-ray, CT scan or Ultrasound. Based on your history, your doctor will advice on the most effective modality.

Take a look at the stool color chart below to know what the colour and shape of your poop means;