Over 2.5 million individuals every year see their doctors because of constipation.
It may at times cause fecal impaction in toddlers and old folks. Individuals suffering from long term constipation often experience constant pain when passing stools. In some instances its accompanied by rectal prolapse and rectal bleeding.(3,4,5)
Although the numbers of times individuals have their “long calls” vary, there is no cause for alarm if you are not too far from your rhythm.
Find here the various causes of constipation that will help you manage the behavior of your bowel habits.
What is the main cause of constipation?
Constipation is commonly experienced despite the presence of excessive stool in the colon (large bowels). The colon absorbs too much water which makes them hard and dry.(7)
Typically constipation occurs because there’s no specific disease and is hard to know the precise reasons. However, there are other factors that may cause the most constipation:
Lifestyle factors for Constipation and defecation problems
Your daily practices may cause you wile or woe. Common life habits that are upheld by individuals have several effects on their health. Among these complication lies constipation.
Here is a list of lifestyle practices that can complicate your state of bowel movement.
Fiber deficient foods
Medical research shows that fiber helps in making the stool softer. It also makes it bulky that is easy to pass out. Lack of fiber in the diet is one cause of difficulty in bowel movement.
Though some scientific findings record that when constipation in caused by other conditions beside diet, then adding more fiber to diet might not render excellent results.
However, lack of fiber is one of the primary causes of complicated bowel movement both in kids and adults. you can get fiber in wheat, rye, brown rice, and bran cereal.
Lack of exercise
When you engage in physical activity, you increase your breathing, energy demand, and increase the rate of digestion.
Exercise also lowers the time through which food takes to move through the large intestines, thus reducing the amount of water the body absorbs from the stool.
The lower the absorption rate, the softer the stool and the easier to pass it out. You will experience the opposite of this situation when you are inactive and, therefore, you may become constipated.
Stress causes the blood to flow from the intestines to vital organs like the heart, lungs, and brain. This diversion of blood flow slows down intestinal movement, leading to constipation. Also, in response to stressors, the body release more Corticotrophin-releasing factor in the bowels.
Change in eating routines
It’s important to maintain fixed times for meals. Through this routine, you will also have definite times for visiting washroom.
Change in your meal plans might cause you to have the urge to pass stool that will force you to resist it.
This resistance may lead to stool taking too long in the large intestines and the colon absorbs water from the stool, making the stool hard, dry, and lumpy.
Consumption of too much milk and cheese
Milk and cheese have high fat content but very low dietary fiber. Dairy products are the common cause of constipation in toddlers.
The fat in these products lowers digestion process that may cause constipation. These fatty foods are worse for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome.
Its therefore healthy to eat solid foods that will at last allow you to pass stools severe pain.
Deliberate resistance to have a poop
There are times you may deliberately resist to pass stools, no matter the situation may be its unhealthy to you. Resisting the bowel movements feeling may cause the stool to be hard and dry, which becomes difficult to pass out.
These factors cam be reversed by simple lifestyle changes without seeking the attention of health professionals. Diet and lifestyle changes will help you in preventing constipation.
Prescription Medications that cause chronic constipation
Here are some drugs that will affect your frequency to pass stools, therefore you may consider taking alternative therapies.
Strong pain medications
Drugs like morphine, hydromorphine, Tylenol and oxycodone are drugs that may cause constipation. It’s advisable you consider home remedies for body pain before using these drugs.
Opioids slow down stool movement through the intestines, hence increases absorption of water in the bowels, making the poop hard and dry.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
NSAIDs reduce intestinal motility and affect peristalsis. When the movement of stomach content is slow in the bowels, constipation is inevitable. Examples of this drug include ibuprofen.
Tricyclic antidepressants can cause constipation. These drugs affect the normal functions of both organs and the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT).
Any substance that disrupts the normal function of the organs involved in digestion, more so in the bowel section, may cause constipation.
Most antacids contain aluminum content, which causes constipation. Antacids also affect gut motility, increasing the time of food contents in the bowels, making it hard and difficult to pass out.
Low gut movement increases the risk of developing constipation. Allergy medications like Benadryl and Ditropan hinder the function of acetylcholine, thus affecting the movement of muscles, including the digestive tract muscles.
Certain blood pressure medicines
Drugs, such as Cardizem, are calcium-channel blockers. In relaxing the blood vessels to reduce blood pressure, they affect the gut muscles also and may cause bowel movement problems.
Several medical research publications always point out constipation as common side-effects of many antipsychotic drugs. Despite receiving little attention, these drugs affect the state of bowel movements in their users.
Studies show that patients treated with AEDs for a long time develop health conditions like vomiting, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea and dysphagia.
After surgery, drugs to control vomiting have other health complicating issues that include constipation. Ondansetron, a common anti-nausea drug, can cause headache, drowsiness and constipation.
The above medications are here highlighted that you make seek for other alternative medicine or use natural remedies. Most of these diseases that require drugs and regimes can be controlled by lifestyle changes alone.
By resisting the usage of these drugs you prevent constipation in the long run. Consider home remedies for nausea if you feel nauseous.
Medical conditions that can reduce the frequency of bowel movements
During pregnancy, there is an increase in production of progesterone hormone in the woman’s body.
Progesterone loosens the bowels by reducing muscle contractions in the intestines, making them weak to squeeze out the stool.
Multiple organ diseases
Constipation is a common condition for individuals that suffer from multiple organ disease (MS). Because of its effects on the nervous system, it interrupts the coordination between the brain and the organs in the digestive system.
The effect on the nerves hinders the reception of signals in the bowels that it’s time for passing stool.
Digestive tract structural defects
Hemorrhoids, one of the GIT structural defects, can cause constipation. The protrusion in and around the anal open can obstruct the stool, making it flat.
The result is hard and lumpy bowels. Its often a case that hemorrhoids is also an indicator of chronic constipation.
Lazy bowel syndrome
This is the condition of infrequent bowel movements. It’s characterized by difficulty in having bowel movements and persists for weeks. This condition results in chronic constipation.
Besides the effects on the coordination between the brain and the intestines, it causes nerve damages in the rectum. Therefore, the colon and the rectum cannot hold and get rid of stool effectively.
Outlet dysfunction constipation
This is a condition of abnormal pelvic floor muscle contraction. The muscle contraction in the intestines will make it hard to have bowel movements.
Diverticulosis is common in individuals past the age of 40 years. It’s characterized by the small sacs that protrude through weak parts of the colon wall. It results in complications and inflammation that may cause constipation.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Defects in the GIT, like the Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often cause constipation. According to medical research, IBS is an intestinal disorder characterized by diarrhea, constipation and stomach pains.
Endocrine disorders cause refractory constipation. Thyroid problems like hyperparathyroidism and hypercalcemia pose symptoms, like steatorrhea and constipation.
This cancer is associated with tumors in the abdomen narrowing the intestines, making it difficult to have healthy bowel habits. The tumor also exerts pressure on nerves in the spine, slowing down your passage of stool.
Chronic kidney disease
According to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases patience with constipation are likely to have CKD.
Other diseases that can cause constipation include Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury.
What foods cause constipation?
It’s clear that some foods can reduce the risk of constipation while others will increase it. Find here are foods that can make you have fewer than three bowel movements in a week.
Most of refined products are void of fiber. During processing, the germ and bran are removed. These whole grain food components are rich in fiber and add bulk to the stools, making them easy to move out of the body.
Several constipation medically reviewed publications link low fiber to constipation. You should opt for high fiber foods to prevent getting constipated.
However, in incidences when you rely on natural products and yet still getting symptoms of constipation, then you need to see health care professional.
Meat is low in fiber. Flesh has a lot of fats that increase the time for digestion and movement of food in the digestive tract. The low fiber-high fat content of meat is can cause constipation.
Fast foods and junks
These are foods like chocolate, potato chips, etc. These foods affect your health in three major ways.
First, they are high in salt and sugars, which will increase the salt content in the body, increasing the absorption of water from the intestines, making the stools hard.
Second, they are low in dietary fiber and high in fats, which can make your constipation worse.
Finally, because of their sugar content, they take the place of other foods that may supply you with fiber.
Carbonated soft drinks
Soft drinks that are high in artificial sweaters are high in sugar and caffeine. These will increase dehydration in the body, which results in hard stools.
Although carbonated water has been healthful for patients with dyspepsia, drinking pure water alone will help much.
The effect of alcohol varies among individuals. Although only few medically reviewed journals link alcohol to constipation, there is still no affirmation on this.
Although because of loss of water through passing urine, alcohol might cause dehydration, which causes constipation.
Alcohol cannot be the primary cause of constipation, but it’s among the foods that will make symptoms of constipation persist.
Gluten is a type of protein in wheat, rye and other whole grain cereals. According to national institute of health , there are some individuals who develop constipation when they eat gluten.
This is common in people with celiac disease. When they eat gluten, their immune system attacks their gut. If you realize you get constipation when you eat gluten, consider gluten-free products.
What are the risk factors for bowel movement complications?
The risk of becoming constipated increase with an increase in age. Research shows that every 1 or 2 adults past the age of 80 suffer from constipation.
Individuals past the age of 40 also have a higher risk of developing IBS, which is also another condition that causes chronic constipation.
Aging also reduces muscle coordination in the digestive tract, which affects the movement of gut content in the bowels.
Being a woman
Women during pregnancy release a lot of progesterone hormone in their system, which weakens the muscles in the intestines, making it weak to squeeze out the stool.
The lifestyle that most women adopt increases their risk of constipation. In snacking and many processed foods that are picked along the street increase their chances of having reduced bowel movements.
For ease of passing stool, you need solid but soft poop. When you are dehydrated, a lot of water in the stool is reabsorbed into the body, making the stool parched and lumpy. This will make it difficult to have normal bowel movements.
When you luck sufficient water in the body, the mucus lining in intestines reduce, making the movement of stool in the bowels slow and hard.
Poor diet that is low in fiber
Dietary fiber is one of the best solutions for constipation. It adds bulk to the poop and aids smooth movement of stool through the intestines.
Insoluble fiber like in bran cereal can help reduce the incidence of inflammation in the bowels and colorectal cancer, which are associated with constipation.
Taking the right amount of soluble fiber will also help draw water to your stool, giving it a gel-like covering therefore aiding the poop to glide through the intestines.
Its therefore clear that taking sufficient amount of fiber supplements will help you prevent constipation.
Lack of physical activity
Regular exercise is one remedy for constipation. For optimum colon activity, the intestinal muscles should be in good tone. You can achieve this condition when you engage in regular exercise.
The good activity in your colon due to exercise will aid smooth and regular passage of stool.
There are drugs and medications that have adverse side effects in the system. Most common, like seizers, drugs often cause constipation and other health complications in their train.
Diseased condition like depression and eating disorder
A study conducted on psychological morbidity in women revealed that constipated individuals had high levels of depression and other social dysfunctions.
Individuals with Binge eating disorder often eat more food, which affects digestion and may cause constipation.
Studies shows that even individuals who suffer from anorexia may have intestinal lining abdicate causing constipation.
How long is too long to be constipated?
Sometimes, we have occasional brief constipation. But, medical experts say that if it exceeds several days it becomes chronic.
When you have problems lasting more than 3-5 days, it’s a good idea to consult with a doctor. A recent report in Medicine reported that 16 percent of people complain of constipation daily.
Constipation can occur in the most extreme cases, meaning it is suddenly appearing during travel and can only last for few hours or days.
But, as chronic constipation becomes worse you need to see an urologist for any symptoms of chronic constipation considering your medical history.
How can I fix constipation fast?
When you have severe symptoms, and would want to fix the problem faster, here are recommended medically reviewed practices and drugs that you can use if your constipation persists.
Try colon massage
Although this is an area of study which requires more research, colon massage can simulate bowel movements.
Slight walk or jogging will improve blood flow in your intestines, and this will stimulate poop.
Assuming the poop position through squatting
When you squat for some few minutes with your knees bending above your waist, you may stimulate bowel movement.
Enema is the suspension of a solution through the anal opening into the large intestines. You can do it using tap water, soapy water, or coffee solutions.
This is the best home remedy for severe constipation medically reviewed by doctors. Within 15 minutes after administering an enema, there will be the urge to poop.
Increase your water intake
When you are hydrated, the body will not increase the demand of water through reabsorption in the large intestines.
In incidences when you have been taking little amount of drinking water, increasing the amount can make you have regular bowel movements.
Pick a laxative stimulant
These are over-the-counter medications that are squeezing the intestines to force stool movements. They are vital in treating constipation that is prolonged.
These are laxatives that add silk coat to your intestines, hence allowing effortless movement of stool within the digestive tract and out of your body. The best of these laxatives is mineral oil.
Try stool softeners
These are drugs that treat constipation by reversing the absorption of water in the large intestine. They work by drawing water from the system to the stool, making it easier to pass out.
Use a suppository
Glycerin or bisacodyl suppository is stool softeners that can help you poop by softening stools.
Try bulk forming laxatives
These are laxatives that absorb water from the git and make you have loose stools that are easy to pass.
Dietary and lifestyle changes
If you have been taking a lot of junk or fast foods, then you adjust your meal plan and dietetics. When you have fewer than three intestinal movements in a week, then you can opt for high-fiber foods for quick relief.
Natural laxatives to treat constipation at home
Here is a list of examined foods and natural laxatives that doesn’t have side effects like the commercial stimulant laxatives.
They are safe to use when you have no severe medical history with constipation and they are healthy to your digestive system.
Inquire from a medical practitioner how is constipation diagnosed before you settle for home remedies.
Flax seeds are a natural source of fiber. When they are socked in water, they release a gel in the solution that, if take in your digestive system, will aid normal bowel habits.
Drinking activated charcoal can make you poop. According to mayo clinic, activated is one of the natural laxative that works like over-the -counter bulk forming laxatives that also removes poisonous substances from the body.
Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, which increases the contraction of the intestinal muscles, making it easy for stools to move through the large intestine.
Black strap Molasses
Molasses has high content of magnesium, which is highly recommended for individuals with constipation. Besides, it’s rich in vitamins that are vital for your general health.
The various categories above provide you with a better understanding of the most common causes of constipation, and help you in your endeavors to have holistic, healthful living.
Constipation is not a disease but is a condition that can show a lot of underlying health issues in your system.
Medical management studies pose that you need to see a heath care provider for physical examination, when you see the following symptoms: Blood in the poop which can be due to anal fissure and other medical conditions.
If you have any of the factors that are listed in this article, then you can quickly take action on best ways you can handle constipation and the underlying medical conditions