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Everything You Should Know About Constipation

Updated on March 7, 2018
Olivia Philips profile image

Olivia is a nutritionist and diet, fitness, and weight-loss consultant based in Texas. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Food and Nutrition.

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Constipation Simplified

Our body is a medical marvel that is wondrous in many ways. The genetic makeup is so foolproof that our body rarely ever misses to give us a signal if something malfunctions. The brain indicates with dizziness, the heart sirens with an irregular rhythm, the bones react with pain. Similarly, our gut is a vital organ that manages all the waste material of our system, yet holds 70% of our immunity. Irregularity in the gut function may lead to an extremely common symptom of constipation.

Constipation is a condition experienced almost between 1 in 5 of the whole population and to a wide age group of 2 to 80. The time between two bowel movements varies widely from person to person. For some, it can be three times a week and for some, it can be three times a day! However, the more the gap in regular excretion, the drier and difficult to defecate it becomes.


How Do You Identify Constipation?

To identify this condition it is absolutely imperative to understand the kinds of constipation. Being a condition of the Gastrointestinal (GI) tract it is commonly understood to be a disease. Although it is a condition, constipation in itself is a symptom of a more invading disease and is seen to be associated with many acute and chronic diseases.

Since it is merely an alarm bell, an alert for a more pressing problem at hand, it quickly festers into a more severe form of itself. It is most commonly observed that if left untreated, acute cases of constipation develop and lead to chronic constipation conditions. Let’s try and understand these two forms of this disease first.

Acute Constipation

It refers to a leave alone episode when you haven’t had a fibrous meal or a full meal in general. It has been proven that about 20% of Americans suffer from occasional constipation. That can easily be resolved by including natural laxatives in the form of dietary fiber and wheat bran in your daily food intake.

Chronic Constipation

This is a long-standing form of the condition which further diversifies into two forms in which either the person does not have an urge to pass the stool all or has the urge but is not able to evacuate properly. Symptoms of chronic/severe constipation in adults are associated with other existing conditions that the person has and a criterion has been set to define constipation which in itself is a symptom of a bigger disease.

The exact signs of chronic constipation are:

  • Infrequent passage of stools (< 3 per week)

  • Passing incongruent and hard stools

  • Straining to defecate (often)

  • The feeling of incomplete evacuation of bowls

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What Causes Constipation?


  1. Inadequate fiber intake: A balanced diet is a key to a healthy life. Another example of this is when the diet loses its fibrous content and causes constipation. The fiber in the food helps the gut to process food forward out from the stomach leading it to pass through the rest of the path smoothly and without giving any grief to anyone.
  2. Immobility: The lack or even loss of mobility is one of the main causes of constipation in the general, disease-free category of the population. This lack of mobility may be because of obesity or even disease induced but both have a similar effect.
  3. Diseases of the gut: There are many medical conditions in which the gut that acts like a propeller of food out from a body loses his exact ability hence causing constipation. Hefty conditions by the name of irritable bowel syndrome and anal fissures. Irritable bowel syndrome is a disease which is the most often constipation cause.
  4. Diabetes: A major population in the world has now come across the diabetes epidemic. It is such a widespread and fatal condition that nearly all the people suffering from it face a complication ridden life. Although not being one of the leading causes of constipation this effect of the disease on the gut is seen as it paralyzes the mobility fibers in the intestines which help in movement of the bowel. A control in the underlying disease is one of the best ways to counter this complication.
  5. Thyroid diseases: The thyroid gland helps in the circulation of the hormones appropriately and an imbalance in these hormones leads to constipation and its related problems.
  6. Anal fissure: Anal diseases cause difficulty in the process of defection itself leading to constipation. The person suffering from severe constipation is unable to pass the poop through the anus leading to blockage or bloody stools.
  7. Depression: Mental illness is a real and a prevalent issue in today’s society. It is the least on the list of medical emergencies whereas it should score quite high. Clinical mental problems can cause the sufferer to not feel the urge to poop at all leading to chronic constipation.
  8. Eating disorders: Severe chronic eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia take a toll on the GI functioning leading to underuse of the gut. Eating disorders if left untreated can lead to severe chronic constipation.
  9. Crash diets: Apart from inadequate fiber intake another common aspect of GI issues is the sudden and abrupt change in the eating pattern which might be induced because of some new found fad diet. In an attempt to reduce the number of weight people generally, fall into the trap of eating less and eating erratically. This, as a result, causes constipation and its harrowing effects.
  10. Supplementation: With the fitness and supplement industry blossoming into a mammoth enterprise there is also the mindless following of popping supplements without proper medical consultation. Iron and calcium supplementation also causes chronic constipation.
  11. Drug-induced: That little marker on the sides of medicines indicating the side effects is one of the most important points to remember as some drugs induce constipation as an inevitable side effect.
  12. Pregnancy: Pregnant women due to the havoc in their bellies often suffer from constipation. This may also be related to the reduction in activity of pregnant women. However, this is a later stage pregnancy complication which may not be seen in earlier trimesters.


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Treatment and Precautions of constipation:

  1. Not ignoring the early signs of constipation

  2. Not to suppress the urge to defecate

  3. Active lifestyle

  4. Healthy eating habits

  5. Including dietary fibre in regular meals

  6. Limiting the use of drugs which induce side effects of constipation

  7. Regular enemas to keep the gut healthy

  8. Appropriate supplementation to aid proper digestion

  9. Treatment of the underlying cause of constipation

  10. Over the counter laxatives

A healthy lifestyle is a key to keep this and many more associated conditions at bay for as long as the body is healthy it will have the strength and the potential to fight and deal with diseases and their associated complications.


See the most important benefits of Fiber Content foods for your body which is very important to cure Constipation

© 2018 Olivia Philips

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