Break the Block: Let’s Talk About Constipation

The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) Acknowledges December as Constipation Awareness Month

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C., Dec. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Constipation is a prevalent health issue that affects up to 20% of adults and 16% of children in the United States, yet it often remains a silent concern due to social stigma. Those affected frequently report that their symptoms extend beyond the physical discomfort commonly associated with it, can interfere with their daily activities, negatively impact their self-confidence, and prevent them from fully engaging in personal and professional activities. During Constipation Awareness Month this December, IFFGD seeks to foster a deeper understanding of constipation by highlighting its various dimensions, such as physical impact, mental health connection, and social stigma.

Regarding “being regular,” bowel habits can vary considerably from person to person. As a result, constipation is one of the most challenging gut symptoms to define. IFFGD President Ceciel T. Rooker commented, “Most people have experienced the inconvenience of having constipation at some point in their life; however, for a person who lives with chronic constipation, it can be extremely debilitating and life-altering.”

Occasional constipation may result from diet changes or inactivity and will generally respond to simple lifestyle measures. However, chronic constipation (constant or long-lasting) may indicate the need to see a doctor for evaluation and treatment. Individuals may report constipation if they sense something is wrong or if they are feeling uncomfortable. People who are constipated may experience one or more of the following;

  • reduced stool frequency,
  • hard stools,
  • difficulty passing stools,
  • straining,
  • painful bowel movements, or
  • feeling of incomplete emptying after defecation.

Abdominal symptoms are also common in individuals with constipation. These symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain – pain varying from dull to sharp that occurs in the belly area
  • abdominal discomfort – discomfort varying from dull to sharp that occurs in the belly area
  • bloating – a buildup of gas or swollen feeling in the stomach or intestines
  • distention – an uncomfortable swelling in the intestines that causes the abdominal area to visibly expand
  • nausea – often including an urge to vomit

Along with the symptoms listed above, the onset and duration of constipation are important to consider. Sudden and persistent onset of constipation can be a significant concern. Notify your healthcare provider if the symptoms are excruciating and accompanied by fever, bleeding, or vomiting. IFFGD President Ceciel T. Rooker commented, “Medical professionals understand the different types of constipation and how to treat them, but there are still some uncertainties for people like me who suffer daily. Therefore, it is important to raise awareness and help make an uncomfortable topic a little more comfortable.”

In recognition of Constipation Awareness Month, IFFGD raises awareness to acknowledge the various dimensions of constipation, such as physical impact, mental health connection, and the social stigma that so many face — using the hashtags #BreakTheBlock and #ConstipationAwarenessMonth23 on social media platforms to amplify the voice of the patient community. To help IFFGD raise awareness about constipation, click here and download the 2023 Constipation Awareness social media campaign material.

Learn more about constipation by visiting for written educational material and to watch animated videos about constipation. You can also contact IFFGD by email (
) if you or someone you know is seeking support.

The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) is a nonprofit education and research organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by a chronic gastrointestinal disorder.

Hayley McCorkle
(414) 964-1799

SOURCE The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders