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Causes of Constipation

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The waste products of digestion get propelled through the intestine by contraction of the muscles. It then reaches the colon or the large intestine, reabsorbs lots of water and then gets eliminated smoothly from the body. Constipation occurs when the stool becomes hard due to many reasons and it moves too slowly from the colon causing bloating of the tummy, painful bowel clearance and bleeding from rectum.  

We explain you the various causes of constipation over here.

1.Not consuming enough dietary fibre

Fibre plays a vital role in regularizing our bowel movements and protecting the GI tract including the rectum from inflammation. If your diet is lacking in soluble fibre, which included fruits, whole grains, seeds, green leafy vegetables then you are bound to suffer from constipation. Consumption of too much animal fat, milk based products and insoluble fibre (meat) can caused constipation.

2.Lack of physical activity

There’s some connection between constipation and physical activity and you can test yourself. Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle- lying on bed or sitting most of the time are more prone to constipation while people who indulge in regular morning walks, yoga, exercise or any other physical activities are free from bowel problems.

3.Not drinking enough water

If you do not drink plenty of water, then you are susceptible to develop constipation within a certain period of time. While diagnosing constipation, doctors very often find out lack of sufficient water intake while increased consumption of caffeine rich drinks.

4.Ignoring the urge to clear off bowel

This is the most common cause behind constipation in children. In most cases, kids are not properly trained to go to toilet after waking up in the morning; they tend to ignore. Even adults do it very often with excuses of lack of time. If the bowel is not passed when the need arises, it hardens and makes you constipated.

5.Improper functioning of the GI tract

People who have functional problem of the GI tract are either dependent on laxatives for bowel clearance or need to put lot of physical strain on the muscles of rectum to propel stool outside. Quite obviously, they suffer from constipation problems.

6.Diseases in GI tract

Problems present in the inner lining of the GI tracks make propulsion of bowel difficult. People suffering from colon polyps, colon cancer, celiac disease, diverticulosis, IBS, colorectal stricture, and Hirschsprung disease have considerable constipation problem. In extreme conditions, the intestine gets completely blocked leading to accumulation of stool inside the stomach.

7.Side effects of Medicines

There are several medicines that cause constipation. They are:

  • calcium channel blockers
  • antidepressants
  • anti-convulsants or antispasmodics
  • diurectics
  • iron supplements
  • narcotics pain medications
  • antacids containing aluminium and calcium
  • antipsychotics

8.Teporary change of daily schedule

If you are habituated to go to toilet at specific time and that schedule gets disturbed then constipation can occur temporarily. This happens more often while travelling, change of place, environment, weather (especially during winters) and alteration of eating and sleeping time. However, constipation problems are resolved once you get acclimatized to the changes.

9.During pregnancy

Constipation is very common in women during their early stages of pregnancy. This happens due to increase in the hormone progesterone which hampers smooth contraction of the bowel muscles. The waste products do not get propelled properly which leads to constipation.

10.Other health conditions

Aging naturally brings about constipation problems due to slow down of body’s metabolism. Other diseases that substantially affect movement of bowel through the colon are diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypercalcemia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and cancer treatments like chemotherapy, lupus, spinal cord injuries, etc.

We encourage you to change your lifestyle to eliminate constipation problems. Make sure you see your doctor if you get terribly constipated.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 17, 2015