So, what is constipation? Constipation is mistakenly thought of as only a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements. However many normal, healthy people can actually have as few as three bowel movements per week. The American College of Gastroenterology defines constipation based on symptoms. And this includes incomplete defecation, which is characterized by an infrequent passage of stool or difficult passage of stool, or the combination of both. There are many causes of constipation and it can be that constipation is acute or chronic. Acute symptoms tend to last a short period of time, days a week, or it can be associated with a limited activity such as travel. However, chronic constipation is defined as symptoms that last for greater than three weeks.