While having constipation means not having regular bowel movement at least 3 times a week, severe constipation means having less than one weekly bowel movement, even though there is nothing physically wrong with your bowel. Sometimes severe constipation also means not even passing gas. For a person suffering from constipation, it is very important to be able to pass gas, since stool that remains in the digestive system for too long enables bacteria to produce more gas.
Severe constipation can be acute of chronic. The difference between the two is the chronic constipation might go unnoticed at the beginning, where acute severe constipation starts suddenly and is very hard to ignore. Another important difference between these two types is the chronic severe constipation cannot be solved with only the help of a new diet and exercise. A possible sign for both kinds of severe constipation is experiencing abdominal pain not only when trying to pass stool but also when not trying.
In some cases of severe constipation, the rectum is completely blocked with very hard stool. This condition is usually not treatable by laxatives or other kinds of medicine, and requires a doctor to manually remove the stool.
A possible cause of chronic severe constipation is a “lazy colon” brought on by the prolonged abuse of laxatives, by the regular postponing of bowel movements or by lengthy bed rest. The colon begins to react only weakly to the presence of stool and even to laxatives, and the affected person often does not feel the urge for defecation.
If you think you might have severe constipation, it is a good thing to consult a doctor. Unlike constipation, that almost everyone experience at some point in their lives, and can be fixed with diet, exercise, massage, and the occasional use of medicine, severe constipation might be a result of life threatening illnesses, such as a blockage in the large intestine, bowel rupture or tumors. The important thing to remember is that sometimes, regular constipation can become severe constipation, if left untreated, so it is always important to look for a helpful constipation treatment.