• One study showed that some common causes of constipation among college students are irregular eating habits, irregular bedtimes and not enough exercise.
  • The combination of fiber and liquids (predominantly water) is powerful for good digestive health; not drinking enough liquids, or dehydration and not eating enough fiber can cause constipation.
  • Constipation may be a symptom of another medical problem, including functional gastrointestinal disorders.


People can have different bowel movement patterns, and only you know what’s normal for you. Constipation can be short term or long term.

  • Fewer than three bowel movements a week
  • Stools that are hard, dry, or lumpy
  • Stools that are difficult or painful to pass
  • A feeling that not all stool has passed

Healthy habits

In order to keep your gut happy, you may need to make some lifestyle changes. These may  include becoming more conscious of the nutrients and activity that your body needs to function properly.

Start by adding more fiber, water, and exercise to your daily routine. Some good sources of fiber are whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Look up information about creative ways to frequently include fiber foods in your meals.

Finally, do not rush the process! Take your time and try to have a bowel movement at the same time every day.

Why spread awareness about constipation?

For many students the stress of college life shows up in the form of habits and food choices that lead to negative consequences for the digestive system. As a result, students suffer from constipation and other gastrointestinal problems that add even more stress and discomfort to daily living. After learning more about the different factors that play into digestive health, I have been able to make the changes that have helped me feel better, and which I hope can help many of my peers.

—Emely Sanchez Baez

Source: National Institutes of Health