Constipation is often a symptom of a complete bowel obstruction. In these cases, no stool can pass through the intestines at all. Constipation is typically diagnosed if patients have fewer than three bowel movements per week, though it can also be diagnosed if the patient strains during bowel movements or if they pass small, hard, or dry stools. Constipation can develop as a result of certain inflammatory bowel diseases and cancers, and it might also happen if patients do not get sufficient fiber in their diets. Eating dairy products or foods high in fat and sugar could also increase an individual's chances of becoming constipated. While dietary changes may help in mild cases, patients with severe constipation will likely need laxatives, enemas, or surgery to treat this symptom.