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When should I call my doctor if I have constipation?

Sudden constipation with abdominal cramps and an inability to pass gas or stool can indicate an intestinal blockage, which is very serious. In this situation, do not take any laxatives and call your doctor right away.

Although not as severe as a blockage, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible if you have severe abdominal pain and bloating, blood in your stool, constipation alternating with diarrhea, thin, pencil-like stools, rectal pain, unexplained weight loss or have been using laxatives or other home treatments for several weeks and getting no results.

If you have constipation, call or go to a doctor or clinic for:
  • No bowel movement for 3 days
  • Constipation in a baby younger than 2 months
  • A baby (except those who are breastfed only) going a full day without a dirty diaper
  • A child holding back bowel movements to resist potty training
  • Very bad pain in your abdomen -- especially if you also feel "full" in your abdomen
  • Bloody bowel movement (poop)
  • Throwing up a bright yellow or green liquid
  • Constipation and diarrhea (loose, watery stool) one after the other
  • Very thin stool, like a pencil
  • Needing to use a laxative for longer than one week
  • Pain where the stool comes out of your bottom (rectum)
  • Weight loss for no reason

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.