Causes of Constipation - the Things you Need to Know

By: Dr John Anne

Constipation occurs when you have fewer than three bowel movements a week. Constipation can occur in anyone - it is not a disease - and it does not occur only in people with certain illnesses. Most people experience constipation at one time or another - even infants. There are many causes of constipation, many having to do with diet. Some common causes of constipation are:

  • Lack of exercise - most often in the elderly and invalid
  • Lack of fiber in the diet
  • Medications - constipation is often a side effect of medications
  • Dairy products - milk and cheese often cause constipation in people
  • Lack of fluids - dehydration can cause constipation
  • Illnesses - certain diseases and illnesses can cause constipation, especially those illnesses, such as stroke, that can cause parts of your body not to function properly
  • Ignoring the urge - constipation is often caused by repeatedly ignoring the body's urge to defecate
  • Irregular eating patterns - constipation can be avoided by eating regular meals at around the same time each day
  • Tiredness - lack of rest can often cause constipation
  • Stress - nervousness, tension, and worry often cause constipation
Illnesses and Diseases Often the cause of constipation is related to an illness or disease. In some cases, constipation is a side effect of the disease - or the disease causes debilitation of the organs needed for the digestive system to work properly.

Some of the illnesses and diseases that can cause constipation are:
  • Systemic disorders - such as lupus, scleroderma, and amyloidosis
  • Neurological disorders - such as spinal cord injuries, stroke, Parkinson's Disease, multiple sclerosis, and chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction
  • Metabolic and endocrine conditions - such as poor glycemic control, uremia, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and hypercalcemia
  • Diverticulosis
  • Hirschsprung's Disease
  • Cancer
  • Intestinal Obstruction
  • Tumors
  • Adhesions - or scar tissue
Medications In many cases, the causes of constipation can be related to certain medications. If constipation is a side effect of a medication, this will be shown on the fact sheet for that medication and should be discussed with your physician. Some medications that may cause constipation are:
  • Antiparkinson drugs
  • Blood Pressure Medications
  • Pain Medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antacids
  • Iron Supplements
  • Diuretics
  • Antispasmodics
The most common causes of constipation, however, are causes that are controllable by leading a healthy lifestyle. Lack of a healthy diet and lack of exercise can lead to many health problems. It is essential to maintain a healthy diet, as well as a regular exercise regimen in order to decrease the chances of constipation and other more serious illnesses. Eating a healthy diet should also include monitoring your meals - try to eat on the same schedule each day - and chewing your food well so that the digestive system does not have to work harder than is necessary - the smaller your food when swallowed, the easier it is to digest. Other causes of constipation can include changes in your routine or changes in your life - such as pregnancy (constipation is often one of the many things that pregnant women have to deal with as their hormones change and their body shape changes, resulting in a shift of the internal organs as the baby grows), traveling, periods of high stress or depression, and the natural aging process. There is also a risk of constipation if you take laxatives when you are not actually constipated (remember - not everyone defecates every day - some people's natural schedule may be only 2-3 times per week.) By taking laxatives when you are not constipated, you are increasing the risk of making your digestive system dependent on laxatives in order to complete the natural digestive cycle. The most important things for you to do in order to avoid constipation are listening to your body, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and in general, doing everything you can to make it easier for your digestive system to operate normally and naturally.

Bowel Problems
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Bowel Problems
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles