Archive from January, 2017
20 Jan
2017

7 Surprising Causes of Constipation

A few years ago, it would have been considered impolite to discuss subjects like constipation in public. However, as I write this article, playing on the television in the background is a commercial about the laxative Ducalax. While I am surprised to see these commercials, I am as equally surprised to discover some of the lesser known causes of constipation.

Constipation is the condition of bowels where the feces are dry and hardened and bowel evacuation is typically three times or fewer per week and difficult. The most common cause of constipation is not eating enough fiber or drinking enough water. Seven causes of constipation that may not be widely known are:

Side effects of medications

One of the most controversial commercials of Super Bowl 50 was one about a middle-aged man who was constipated. The drug company created the ad to bring awareness to the condition known as opioid-induced constipation. Some people were upset because the ad focused on constipation and not drug addiction. The Super Bowl commercial highlights the problem with certain medications and constipation. Some of the medicines are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), narcotics, antacids containing aluminum and calcium carbonate. Others include antidepressants, sedatives, iron supplements, diuretics, and calcium-channel blockers.

Pregnancy

Today, it appears that no longer is the case as we watch hilarious television commercials about Fiber One where the main character is a pregnant man who is expecting to deliver soon. The commercial seems to make an unspoken comparison between the delivery of a baby and the delivery of food through the digestive system. Of course, male pregnancy as depicted in the Fiber One commercial is not possible, but hormonal changes and the weight of the uterus pushing on the intestine of a pregnant woman can cause constipation. Women should discuss this problem with their doctors if the problem persists.

Using too many laxatives

Laxatives are taken to help relieve the symptoms of constipation, but may cause constipation if taken for long periods of time. Over a period, the body could build of a tolerance for the laxative and it does have the same effect.

Travel or other change in daily routine

When a person travels they don’t normally stick to their regular routines. The changes in diet and that daily routine can contribute to constipation.

Lack of exercise

Exercise affects our ability to maintain good health in many ways. When a person exercises for at least 30 minutes a day, it causes the stimulation of the intestines, which can help with maintaining regular bowel movements.

Psychological

There are many people who are too embarrassed or afraid use a public restroom. Therefore, they ignore or resist the urge to have a bowel movement. Withholding the stool can lead to constipation.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.

The Super Bowl commercial and others highlight some of the surprising lesser known causes of constipation. Constipation is not just caused due to a lack of fiber in a person’s diet. The next time you are feeling bloated, stopped up and unable to get relief from eliminating waste, consider that it may be due to constipation caused by one of these seven lesser known reasons.