How Long Can You Go Without a Bowel Movement?

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The length of time a person can or should go without a bowel movement varies greatly from person to person. Going three days without a bowel movement is considered too long because stool becomes harder and more difficult to pass.

A person is considered constipated when it becomes difficult to pass stool or their bowel movements become less frequent than usual. If someone is constipated, they may have abdominal pain, a swollen abdomen or experience vomiting. Mild to severe dehydration, a lack of fiber, the use of too many laxatives, stress, depression and a change in diet or routine can cause constipation.