Anthony J. DiMarino, Jr., MD: If there's an interruption in your bowel function, be it too many or too few bowel movements, you need to think about what's going on in your life, particularly in the form of stress, particularly in the form of other extraneous factors that affect your intestine. Any type of stress that you encounter, actually in addition to affecting the heart rate and the blood pressure, which we're familiar with, it also can affect the intestinal tract because the blood is shunted away from the intestinal tract.
Narrator: Constipation may involve difficult passage of stools, hard stools or infrequent bowel movements. However,
Anthony J. DiMarino, Jr., MD: everybody has their own set of bowel functions. That is the normal frequency varies from every three days to three times a day. If you're constipated or you're having difficulty with your bowel function and it happens just for a day or two or three and perhaps you've been away, you've moved, you've been on vacation, you're in a different location, you eat a different food or drink. That's pretty common, but if it lasts for a week or for any prolonged period without any other extenuating circumstances like change in diet, change in your personal life, your stress events, et cetera, then that's an important change and you need to bring that to someone's attention.