What Are The Common Causes Of Constipation?

Constipation is a common health problem, especially in the Developed Western countries, for various reasons. Constipation is comparatively less common in developing countries, because they eat more fibers and lead more active lifestyle and various other factors.

Common causes of constipation include:

  • Low fiber diet: this is one of the most common causes of constipation. Diet rich in animal products (meat, egg, poultry, dairy products etc.) are low in fiber and lead to poor and hard stool formation, which causes constipation. Diet with more sugar content also, leads to constipation.
  • Low or Inadequate fluid (water) intake: not consuming enough water/liquid can lead to formation of hard stool and constipation. Inadequate water intake will lead to passing of less water in the colon to keep stool soft for easy passage and lead to constipation.
  • Poor bowel habit: ignoring desire to defecate and delaying bowel movement regularly, can lead to stoppage of feeling to defecate and lead to constipation. If someone is extremely choosy and do not like to use public toilet, it can lead to avoiding bowel movement voluntarily and cause constipation.
  • Laxative abuse: regular and excess use of laxative for bowel movement can lead to habituation and later on constipation. Laxatives are one of the most commonly abused substances. Because of use of laxatives for long duration, the individual may need gradually increased amount of laxative for normal bowel movement and in some cases; the person may become insensitive to laxative and lead to constipation.
  • Pregnancy: constipation during pregnancy is common and due to various reasons. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and pressure of growing fetus on the bowel may lead to constipation. There may be change in fluid intake and also change in food habits during pregnancy which leads to constipation. Usually constipation subsides after delivery.
  • Medications: various medications are known to cause constipation such as antacids containing aluminum hydroxide and calcium carbonate, iron preparations (tablets, capsules, liquids), antidepressants, anticonvulsants, diuretics, opoid analgesics (such as codeine, morphine, pethidine) etc.
  • Alcohol and caffeine: excess intake of alcohol or caffeinated beverage may lead to excess urination (diuretic effect) and lead to constipation. Excess urine output lead to increase water absorption from intestine and there is less water available in colon to make stool soft, which can lead to constipation.


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