Constipation is something that most people have likely experienced at one time or another. Two types of long-term constipation are Chronic Idiopathic Constipation(CIC) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation

You can Confront Constipation by learning about these two different types, what may cause them, and what you can do if you may be experiencing symptoms.

If you are experiencing constipation,
you are not alone.


Constipation symptoms may include infrequent or hard-to-pass bowel movements, bloating, straining, discomfort, and never really feeling empty. While CIC and IBS-C share many of these same symptoms, there are important differences between the two.

Chronic Idiopathic Constipation

People with CIC can experience:

  • Less than 3 bowel movements (BMs) per week
  • Hard-to-pass BMs
  • Straining
  • Discomfort
  • Not feeling empty after a BM

1 in 7 U.S. adults have CIC

IBS with Constipation

In addition to symptoms of CIC, patients with IBS-C also have abdominal pain.


1 in 20 U.S. adults have IBS-C

  • Irritable Bowel means abnormally sensitive intestines.
  • Intestines are responsible for digesting food and getting rid of waste.
  • A Syndrome is a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.
  • Chronic is otherwise known as "long-lasting".
  • Idiopathic means that the cause is unknown.
  • Constipation is commonly defined as having hard bowel movements fewer than 3 times per week.

What causes IBS-C and CIC?

The exact cause of these conditions is not known. Some possible causes include:

Changes in how the brain and the intestines communicate

Changes in the bacteria in the gut

Certain medical conditions


Bristol Stool Form Scale - the importance of Stool Form

The Bristol Stool Form is a visual representation of the 7 different types of Bowel Movements that you can have, with a well formed bowel movement between Type 3 and Type 5.


Adapted from Lewis SJ, Heaton KW. Stool form scale as a useful guide to intestinal transit time. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1997;32:920-924.

Talk to your healthcare provider

SalixConstipaitontalk398x250.JPG.pngWhile it might seem awkward to talk about, telling your doctor which type or types of stool you typically have can help you both create a treatment plan that works for you and your body. To help get the conversation started, let your doctor know:


Which of these constipation symptoms have you experienced?

  • Fewer than 3 bowel movements a week
  • Hard-to-pass bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain
  • Straining
  • Not feeling empty after a bowel movement
  • Other


How long have you been trying to manage your symptoms?

  • 0-6 months
  • 6-12 months
  • 1-2 years
  • 2-4 years
  • 4+ years


Which types of stool from the Bristol Stool Form Scale above have you most
frequently experienced when not taking medication?

  • Type 1
  • Type 2
  • Type 3
  • Type 4
  • Type 5
  • Type 6
  • Type 7


Then be sure to ask these simple questions:


1. What consistency should my stool be?
2. How many bowel movements a week should I be having?
3. How can I manage my constipation?

Would you like information about an IBS-C/CIC prescription medication that may be right for you? Click Here