Causes of Constipation in Adults

Constipation is persistent, difficult, infrequent, or incomplete defecation. Constipation is a common health problem, especially in Western countries. Constipation in adults may be due to poor diet or it ma be due to habitually delaying nature’s call. Common causes of constipation are:ID-10029624

Poor diet:

This is one of the most common causes of constipation; hence, constipation is common in Western countries. Food of animal origin (meat, fish, dairy products, egg, poultry etc.), refined foods has little fiber it them. Intake of low dietary fiber causes constipation.

Inadequate fluid intake:

If you do not drink enough water, it may case hardening of stool, which may become difficult to pass. Inadequate water intake may leave colon dry and little water for making stool soft. Soft stool is easier to pass.

Poor bowel habits:

Ignoring nature’s call (bowel movement) for long voluntarily may initiate cycle of constipation. If you frequently ignore to have bowel movement, constipation may develop.

Medications:

Several medications may cause constipation. For example:

  • Oral iron preparations
  • Antacids than contain aluminum hydroxide or calcium carbonate
  • Antispasmodic medications
  • Anti convulsant medications
  • Diuretics
  • Pain medications and drugs such as morphine cause constipation

Pregnancy:

Several factors may contribute to cause constipation during pregnancy, such as mechanical pressure on bowel by the growing uterus, changes in fluid intake, hormonal changes etc.

Travel:

Individuals who travel extensively may suffer from constipation, because of changes in lifestyle, disturbance in bowel habit, low fluid intake, consuming fast foods etc.

Some painful medical disorders:

Painful conditions such as piles, anal fissure, and anal stenosis may cause constipation.

Intestinal disorders:

Certain intestinal conditions may cause constipation. Intestinal obstruction de to any of the following causes may cause constipation.

  • Inflammatory adhesions
  • Intussusceptions
  • Gastrointestinal cancers
  • Abdominal hernia
  • Certain gallstones
  • Twisting of intestine
  • Foreign body in intestine, or impacted feces
  • Scarring of intestine
  • Postoperatively

Mechanical problems of anus and rectum (such as rectal prolapse) may cause constipation.

Certain medical conditions:

  • Connective tissue disorders such as lupus, scleroderma etc.
  • Hypothyroidism (low level of thyroid hormone thyroxine)
  • Lead poisoning
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) of constipation predominant type.

Laxatives abuse:

Regular and habitual use of laxative gradually produces dependence and cause constipation. Sometimes individuals abusing laxative habitually may become resistant, laxatives may no more work, and person become constipated or they may require increasing amount or laxative for action.

Excess alcohol and caffeine consumption:

Alcohol and caffeine have diuretic action. They cause increase urine production and result in water not reaching colon to make stool soft and cause constipation.

 

Image courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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1 Comment

  • matt January 12, 2013 02.44 pm

    Drinking more water and eating more vegetables is the simplest most natural thing for the long term. For the short term start supplementing with magnesium oxide.

    Reply 

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