Less Common Causes of Constipation

Constipation is one of the common health problems worldwide, especially in the developed nations. There are various causes of constipation. There are common causes of constipation, as well as uncommon causes of constipation. The uncommon causes of constipation may be very serious in nature and constipation is just one of the symptoms of serious underlying medical disorder.

The uncommon causes of constipation include:

  • Intestinal obstruction: there are various causes of intestinal obstruction. Intestinal obstruction may occur if there is mechanical compression of intestine or there is interference in normal functioning of bowel, which leads to constipation. Intestinal obstruction may occur due to cancer in intestine, intussusceptions, scarring of intestine, adhesions due to inflammation, abdominal hernia, twisting of intestine, postoperative adhesions etc. Intestinal obstruction (due to any cause) is a serious medical emergency and need immediate intervention.
  • Mechanical problem in rectum or anus: such as rectal prolapse (to vagina or through anus) can lead to constipation
  • Damage to nerve supply to intestine can cause constipation due to insensitiveness of signals originating in rectum for defecation. Nerve damage can occur due to injury to spinal cord, multiple sclerosis etc.
  • Thyroid problems: hypothyroidism (low production of thyroid hormones in thyroid gland) leads to constipation. Correction of hypothyroidism by supplying thyroid hormone (thyroxin) can correct constipation.
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome): some patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome have constipation as the main symptom, while some have diarrhea as predominant symptom. Some patients with IBS have alternating constipation and diarrhea.
  • Connective tissue disorders such as scleroderma and lupus have constipation as a symptom.
  • Various metabolic disorders
  • Lead poisoning
  • Travel is also a cause of constipation. Because, during travel your eating habit may change and become irregular. During travel one may eat more fast foods with low fiber and also drink less water/liquid, which may lead to constipation.
  • Elderly individuals are more prone to constipation due to lack of exercise, poor diet and low fluid intake, poor bowel habits, may take various medications, which have constipation as side effect, habitual use of laxatives, prolonged immobility or bed rest due to disability or accidents.


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