Causes of Constipation
Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Like a fever, constipation can be caused by many different conditions. Most people have experienced an occasional brief bout of constipation that has corrected itself with diet and time. The following is a list of some of the most common may be a diet high in animal fats (meats, dairy products, eggs) and refined sugar (rich desserts and other sweets), but low in fiber (vegetables, fruits, whole grains). Some studies have suggested that high-fiber diets result in larger stools, more frequent bowel movements, and therefore less constipation.
- Imaginary Constipation – This is very common and results from misconceptions about what is normal and what is not. If recognized early enough, this type of constipation can be cured by informing the sufferer that the frequency of his or her bowel movements is normal.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Also known as spastic colon, IBS is one of the most common causes of constipation in the United States. Some people develop spasms of the colon that delay the speed with which the contents of the intestine move through the digestive tract, leading to constipation.
- Poor Bowel Habits – Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement: A person can initiate a cycle of constipation by ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement. Some people do this to avoid using public toilets, others because they are too busy. After a period of time a person may stop feeling the urge. This leads to progressive constipation.
- Laxative Abuse – People who habitually take laxatives become dependent upon them and may require increasing dosages until, finally, the intestine becomes insensitive and fails to work properly.
- Travel – People often experience constipation when traveling long distances, which may relate to changes in lifestyle, schedule, diet, and drinking water.
- Hormonal Disturbances – Certain hormonal disturbances, such as an under active thyroid gland, can produce constipation.
- Pregnancy – Pregnancy is another common cause of constipation. The reason may be partly mechanical, in that the pressure of the heavy womb compresses the intestine, and may be partly due to hormonal changes during pregnancy.