One symptom of constipation is infrequent bowel movements where a person strains to eliminate stool, according to WebMD. The person might also have the feeling that he hasn't evacuated his bowels completely.
Other symptoms of constipation are the passing of stools that are hard and small, a bloated abdomen, abdominal pain, and vomiting, says WebMD. Ironically, diarrhea may also be a sign of constipation. It results when the hard stool blocks the colon. Diarrhea that alternates with constipation may also be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, according to MedicineNet. Hard stools can also cause rectal bleeding and even anal fissures.
Doctors believe that a person is constipated if he has less than three bowel movements per week, claims MedicineNet. A person is severely constipated if he has less than one bowel movement per week. An easy bowel movement every two or three days is considered normal by medical professionals.
Constipation can have many causes, including a diet that is low in fiber, fluctuations in hormones, poor bathroom habits, using too many laxatives or using laxatives too frequently, medicines, and other diseases, claims MedicineNet. Certain foods are known to cause constipation in some people. These include caffeine, chocolate, red meat, bananas and dairy products. However, constipation is not believed to add to the load of toxins in the body, nor does it cause cancer.