Everyone wants to be regular. But the definition of regular is different for everybody. For some, it's several times a day. For others, it could be several times a week. If you are having fewer than three bowel movements a week, that's a sign you may have constipation. But is it occasional or chronic?

If the symptoms of your constipation are sudden or last for a short time, it may be occasional constipation. If the symptoms keep coming back and seem to last for a long time, it may be chronic constipation. If you notice you're having difficult, infrequent, or incomplete bowel movements, that may mean you're suffering from Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC). You should share these symptoms with your doctor.

What is CIC?

Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their lives. But if your constipation is long-lasting or keeps coming back, it may be chronic. Chronic constipation without an identifiable cause is often referred to as Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC). "Idiopathic" means the cause is unknown. CIC includes symptoms of difficult, infrequent, or incomplete bowel movements.

CIC Symtoms

  • Constipation
  • Hard stools
  • Infrequent and incomplete bowel movements

While estimates vary, as many as 35 million adults in the U.S. may suffer from CIC.

A recent survey showed that patients with CIC reported most frequently:

  • Constipation symptoms
  • Hard or lumpy stools
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Incomplete bowel movements

CIC patients may also suffer from:

  • Stomach cramping
  • Gas pain
  • Bloating

What factors may contribute to CIC?

There are several factors that may contribute to the development of CIC.

Fluid absorption

The colon may be absorbing too much fluid from the stool, or the muscles in the colon may be moving too slowly. This can cause the stool to become dry, hard, and difficult to pass.

Muscle contractions

The muscles of the colon may be contracting too slowly, which can reduce the movement of stool through the colon and cause infrequent stools.

Decreased urge

Some patients may have less sensitivity, which may reduce the urge to have a bowel movement. Other patients may have extra-sensitive nerves, which can cause discomfort.

To help find relief, share your symptoms with your doctor.

What is the difference between IBS‑C and CIC?

IBS‑C and CIC share a number of symptoms that are long-lasting or keep coming back, including infrequent and difficult bowel movements and hard and lumpy stools. However, patients suffering from IBS‑C also suffer from belly pain.

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What is LINZESS?

LINZESS® (linaclotide) is a prescription medication used in adults to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS‑C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). "Idiopathic" means the cause of the constipation is unknown. It is not known if LINZESS is safe and effective in children less than 18 years of age.

Important Risk Information
  • Do not give LINZESS to children who are less than 6 years of age. It may harm them. LINZESS can cause severe diarrhea and your child could get severe dehydration (loss of a large amount of body water and salt).
  • You should not give LINZESS to children 6 years to less than 18 years of age. It may harm them.
  • Do not take LINZESS if a doctor has told you that you have a bowel blockage (intestinal obstruction).
Before you take LINZESS, tell your doctor about your medical conditions, including if you are:
  • Pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if LINZESS will harm your unborn baby.
  • Breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if LINZESS passes into your breast milk.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Side Effects

LINZESS can cause serious side effects, including diarrhea, the most common side effect, which can sometimes be severe. Diarrhea often begins within the first 2 weeks of LINZESS treatment. Stop taking LINZESS and call your doctor right away if you get severe diarrhea during treatment with LINZESS.

Other common side effects of LINZESS include gas, stomach-area (abdominal) pain, swelling, or a feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen (distension). Call your doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away if you develop unusual or severe stomach-area (abdominal) pain, especially if you also have bright red, bloody stools or black stools that look like tar.

These are not all the possible side effects of LINZESS. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Please also see Medication Guide within full Prescribing Information.

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What is LINZESS?

LINZESS® (linaclotide) is a prescription medication used in adults to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS‑C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). "Idiopathic" means the cause of the constipation is unknown. It is not known if LINZESS is safe and effective in children less than 18 years of age.

Important Risk Information
  • Do not give LINZESS to children who are less than 6 years of age. It may harm them. LINZESS can cause severe diarrhea and your child could get severe dehydration (loss of a large amount of body water and salt).
  • You should not give LINZESS to children 6 years to less than 18 years of age. It may harm them.
  • Do not take LINZESS if a doctor has told you that you have a bowel blockage (intestinal obstruction).
Before you take LINZESS, tell your doctor about your medical conditions, including if you are:
  • Pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if LINZESS will harm your unborn baby.
  • Breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if LINZESS passes into your breast milk.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Side Effects

LINZESS can cause serious side effects, including diarrhea, the most common side effect, which can sometimes be severe. Diarrhea often begins within the first 2 weeks of LINZESS treatment. Stop taking LINZESS and call your doctor right away if you get severe diarrhea during treatment with LINZESS.

Other common side effects of LINZESS include gas, stomach-area (abdominal) pain, swelling, or a feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen (distension). Call your doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away if you develop unusual or severe stomach-area (abdominal) pain, especially if you also have bright red, bloody stools or black stools that look like tar.

These are not all the possible side effects of LINZESS. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Please also see Medication Guide within full Prescribing Information.