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Constipation Causes

Updated on July 31, 2009

Constipation is a very common problem in some populations, such as the elderly or those who may be physically incapacitated in some respect. But even if you're not a member of these populations, odds are most of you will experience some difficulty moving your bowels at some point in time and it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of of this condition. If you understand what causes the stool to harden in your colon, you can logically deduce some of the natural constipation treatments, which we'll discuss in the next article. For now, check out the following causes of constipation.

What causes constipation?

The colon is pretty much the garbage chute of your body. The foods you eat eventually wind up in the intestines and pass through different sections until finally winding up in the rectum. Under normal circumstances, enough water remains in the stool to keep it moving along; but if too much water is absorbed by the body, things slow down and the bowels have trouble pushing the stool through. As it continues to dry out it solidifies and becomes difficult for the body to move, which results in constipation.

Specific causes of constipation can include:

  • A low fiber diet : Fiber moves things along. If you're not getting enough to maintain healthy bowels, things are going to get stuck.

  • A high fat diet: You've probably heard people say that cheese causes constipation, and too much of it in relation to the rest of your diet can certainly result in difficulty passing stools. The same is true of meats.

  • Dehydration: This is a big factor in constipation. If you haven't got enough fluids in your body, it's going to result in stools that harden more quickly than they would if you were properly hydrated. Keep in mind that your fluid sources should be water and juices; not coffee or other drinks that contain caffeine, as they actually promote dehydration.

  • Inadequate exercise: If you want things to move on the inside, you've got to move on the outside. Lack of exercise and general movement is a big cause of why so many elderly and incapacitated people experience constipation.

  • Hormonal/physiological changes: For example, many women become constipated during their menstrual cycles and many pregnant women have difficulty with constipation as well when their uterus starts to press against the intestines.

  • Medications: There are a lot of medications which can cause constipation. Iron pills, pain killers, narcotics, blood pressure meds and more can lead to hardening stools and difficulty passing them.


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