No Urge to Poop in 3 Days: When to Worry.

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Having no urge to poop can be either normal or signify the presence of constipation. The answer to this question depends on various factors.

The answer to such a question depends on understanding some basics about the definition of constipation and the causes of the absent urge to poop.

As a gastroenterologist, I will help to understand:

  • The causes of the absent urge to poop for three days.
  • When to consider it normal and when to worry.
  • The possible causes and risk factors for the absent urge to poop for several days.
  • Tips for dealing with the condition and regaining your normal bowel habits.

Is it normal for you not to poop for three days?

Having no urge to poop for three days doesn’t always mean constipation. To help you understand what I mean, read the below definitions of constipation.

The medical definition of constipation is variable. However, constipation can mean either:

  • Fewer than 3 bowel movements per week.
  • Passage of hard or lumpy stool.
  • A sense of incomplete evacuation or anorectal blockage during defecation.

So, an important question to ask yourself is:

  • What is my baseline frequency of pooping?
    Many people poop once every two to three days throughout their life. However, if your baseline poop frequency is low, no urge to poop for 3 days can be considered normal.
    On the other hand, if your baseline bowel frequency is once every day, then not pooping for 3 days is considered constipation.

  • Do My poop feels too hard to come out or stuck halfway?
  • Do I have a sense of blockage and failure to poop every time I try?

If the answer is yes, you may need to see your doctor for severe constipation.

What are the most common causes of no pooping for 3 days?

Constipation can be either acute (occasional) or chronic.

Not having an urge to poop for three days without previous history of constipation is considered constipation if you have a feeling of hard-to-pass stools.

Possible causes and risk factors for occasional constipation include:

  • Dehydration (decreased fluid intake, vomiting, hot weather, etc.).
  • Low fiber diet.
  • Little or no physical activity.
  • Taking certain medications (see the table below).
  • Mental health disorders or an eating disorder (such as anorexia nervosa).
  • Painful anorectal conditions such as anal fissures or rectal mass.

Also, the causes of chronic constipation are summarized in the table below (reference).


Cause of Constipation.

1. Chronic idiopathic Constipation.

Normal colonic transit
Slow transit constipation (colon inertia)
Dyssynergic defecation

2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


3. Drugs.

Analgesics (NSAIDs)
Iron supplements
Aluminum (antacids, sucralfate)
Ganglionic blockers
Vinca alkaloids
Calcium channel blockers
5HT3 antagonists

4-A. Neurogenic disorders

-Peripheral (affecting the peripheral nerves)
– Diabetes mellitus
– Autonomic neuropathy
– Hirschsprung disease
– Chagas disease
– Intestinal pseudoobstruction

Central (affecting the brain and the spinal cord):
– Multiple sclerosis
– Spinal cord injury
– Parkinson disease

4-B. Non-neurogenic disorders

Anorexia nervosa
Systemic sclerosis
Myotonic dystrophy

What does it mean to have NO urge to poop?

The absent urge to poop means either:

  • Normal: patients with low frequency of bowel habits may have no urge to poop for 2 or 3 days.

  • Problems with the defecation reflexes: for example, Long lasting diabetes may destroy the nerves supplying the colon with constipation and absent urge to poop.

On the other hand, patients with constipation often have recurrent or persistent urges to poop. However, the stool is always hard and difficult to come out.

How do we differentiate between constipation and stool impaction?

Patients with severe constipation (particularly older people) are at high risk of stool impaction.

In this condition, the stool in the last part of the colon (sigmoid colon) and the rectum forms a hard mass.

The mass is often very hard and large. It may become impossible to pass.

Stool impactions are often different from constipation in symptoms.

Patients with stool impaction often have:

  • Persistent urge to poop, but nothing comes out.
  • Persistent abdominal pain (often in the lower right abdomen).
  • False diarrhea (small amounts of liquid poop may leak around the impacted stool mass).
  • A sense of mass blocking the rectum.
  • A sense of mass in the lower right abdomen.
  • In severe cases, signs of intestinal obstruction may develop, such as severe abdominal distension, vomiting, and nausea.

When to worry?

The lack of the urge to poop for three days often occurs due to occasional constipation. An OTC laxative often solves this problem.

However, in rare cases, the delayed urge to poop may indicate a complication of constipation. See a doctor if you have:

  • Severe urgency to poop, but you are unable to defecate.
  • Persistent vomiting.
  • Severe abdominal distension.
  • Fever.
  • A sense of mass inside the rectum or in the lower right abdomen.
  • Passage of blood in the stool.
  • History of previous attacks of stool impaction or intestinal obstruction.
  • Very painful defecation process.

Best tips that help you poop & have more regular bowel movements?

You may have occasional constipation if you have no urge to poop for three or more days.

Try the following remedies to help with constipation:

  • Fluid: drink extra two to four glasses of water per day.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Increase fibers in food: prunes, bran cereals, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods.
  • Increase your physical activity (for example, 30 minutes of walking).
  • Try some pelvic relaxation techniques (explained in detail in this article).
  • Avoid high-fat, low-residue foods.
  • Use an OTC fiber supplement that adds bulk to your bowel and helps you regain the urge to poop. Most commonly used is psyllium (Metamucil ®).
  • Use an OTC laxative such as MiraLAX.