Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders and it is experienced by most people at least once during their lives. Constipation refers to infrequent bowel movements. An individual who is suffering from constipation experiences difficulty in passing stools, passes hard stools or has no bowel movements for at least three days.

Many people believe that regular bowel movement is characterized by passing a stool at least once during each day. However, in reality, regular bowel movement can vary from passing stools three times each day to three times each week. Constipation is a temporary condition but it can be prolonged in some cases, especially in the elderly or in individuals who are suffering from certain chronic diseases.

Causes and Risk Factors

Lack or deficiency of fiber in the diet: Fiber maintains pliability in the stools and ensures that they pass smoothly. An ideal diet should contain 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day. However, this amount is difficult to consume because of the consumption of processed food that has replaced healthy food in modern diets. A small fiber intake leads to difficulty in passing stool which results in constipation.

Insufficient liquid intake: Liquids help to hydrate the colon and to digest the consumed food, which aids to complete the bowel movement. Liquids also prevent fecal matter from drying and hardening. Sufficient liquid intake, especially water and fresh fruit or vegetable juices, can help prevent and possibly cure constipation. However, those individuals who consume beverages such as coffee, tea, alcohol or soft drinks in excessive quantities can develop constipation because these drinks are dehydrating.

Natural Moves
Promotes healthy open bowels and naturally encourage regularity

Learn More

Lack of exercise: There is no research to support this observation, but it is often viewed that the lack of physical activity can lead to constipation. This typically affects individuals who are inactive because of certain circumstances including injury, recent surgery, pregnancy, or old age.

Excessive use of laxatives/purgatives: Individuals who resort to the use of laxatives or purgatives in order to defecate on a daily basis eventually become dependent on these medications. Regular defecation without using laxatives becomes difficult and even impossible, which leads to constipation.

Irregularity or changes in routine: Disruption in daily routine because of traveling, change in food quality or meal timing, or stress may affect the functioning of the colon and may cause difficulty in passing stools.

Pregnancy: The uterus enlarges and suppresses the colon during pregnancy which affects the regularity of bowel movements.

Medicines: Some pain killers, antacids containing aluminum and calcium, diuretics, iron supplements, and antidepressants may cause constipation as a side effect.

Suppressing bowel movements: Ignoring the urge to pass stools can lead to constipation. This is commonly observed in the cases of young children or in individuals who prefer to only "go to the bathroom" at home.

Medical conditions: Disorders like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal chord injuries, brain stroke, diabetes, uraemia and hypothyroidism, and psychological problems like obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia, and depression can lead to constipation. These diseases affect the functioning of the rectum, colon or the anus.

1   2

“GoCures does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.” See additional information
2007 GoCuresLtd, All Rights Reserved