What Can Cause Constipation?

If you take a moment to look at the Standard American Diets, you will see that they are filled with foods that can not only disturb the whole system of digestion but other organs and processes that take place in the body.

There is no doubt that many people have the habit of taking unhealthy and often processed or refined foods that contain added sugars, ploysaturated, and trans fat that have a major role in causing some of the top ten diseases responsible for the highest number of deaths.

Digestive disorders have become popular and can now happen to anyone from children to adults because of such diets. These concerns related to digestion can cause great discomfort and can even lead to dangerous situations if not managed properly many times.

Constipation is one of these problems which is also not taken that seriously unless the affected person is an infant, someone over the age of 50, or has some other chronic illness that can be worsened because of it.

No matter how commonly it occurs and how trivial the reasons for it happening might be, constipation should not be taken lightly. Even if it lasts for a few days, constipation can cause problems in concentration and waste a lot of your time in the bathroom.

What Is Constipation?

You have surely heard the mention of constipation from any person around you since it is one of the body’s natural reactions to changes in diet. Sometimes, you can get constipation as a result of changing diet because the body takes time for the new adjustment.

But, what exactly happens in constipation? It can be defined as having difficulty in clearing the waste out of the bowels typically due to hardened feces. Putting it simply, it is a slower than normal movement of waste from digested food through the digestive tract.

According to the latest statistics, there are over twenty million adults in the United States who face the problem of constipation in their daily lives even when they several measures to avoid it. Additionally, around 2.5 million people now seek medical help for constipation.

Women seem to be more affected by this prevalent digestive problem than men especially the ones who are in their middle ages. Secondly, a change in diets also means children consume a lot more unhealthy food than before.

Consequently, the children are also more likely to develop constipation as they skip healthy, homemade meals over ultra-processed and packaged snacks from stores since most of them have easier access to it now.

It is normal to visit and spend a longer than usual time in the bathroom after a day or night of having food that you do not have normally such as the type of food you consume while attending a party or wedding.

In addition, if you are traveling getting constipation is not a big deal. This is because a majority of the people prefer and keep snacks or instant food with them to avoid any hassles in their trips and eat mindlessly which causes a reaction to the digestive symptoms.

However, frequent trips to the bathroom that end for several minutes that also cause a considerable disturbance on mood, health, mind, and overall quality of life indicate a different problem that might not go away on it’s on like traveler’s constipation.

Always remember that constipation can require help from a medical practitioner soon if you do nothing about it or if it keeps coming back even if you take steps to avoid getting it.

So, how do you figure out whether you are having the problem with constipation or not?

The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases ( NIDDK) considers someone to be having problems in the digestive tract when they have fewer than three bowel movements in a week.

The number of bowels also matters a lot. If a person is having a normal number of bowels but it is small, dry, hard and very often difficult to pass because of it being painful, he or she is also facing the issue of constipation.

What Are The Symptoms Of Constipation?

There are also a number of things that you can watch out for if you are not sure whether you have constipation or not. Following are some signs that you can have if you have constipation:

  • Bowel Movements

Keep a check on producing lesser than normal bowel movements. The important thing to know here is that there is not one specific number that can be considered normal for all of the people. Some people tend to go bathroom more frequently than others.

The only way to see whether you have constipation is to see whether you are going to the bathroom less than normal even when you have made no changes to your diet or similar habits.

  • Stool

Stool that is hard, dry, and often difficult to pass is a sign of constipation. You might even feel the need to push because of pain in your abdomen.

  • Bloating and gas

You are also highly likely to be bloated most of the day while having gas and pain in the abdominal area.

  • Lower Back Pain

The abdomen is not the only area you can experience discomfort. Often, the constipation pain travels all the way to lower back and sometimes the sides.

RELATED: Pain In The Lower Back?

  • Anxiety and Mood Swings

Having anxiety or mood swings is normal with constipation because many times you will feel fatigued and irritability because of not being able to empty your bowels properly. Any feces left behind can also affect the mood of the person.

 

What Are The Causes Of Constipation?

Constipation is one of the most widespread problems now affecting every other adult. Additionally, many of the people who face this health concern every other day also have the complaint of them facing the condition repeatedly despite taking preventive methods.

Knowing the cause of constipation is important because it is needed in the treatment. The mentioned complaint usually comes when a person has not even figured out the cause or has diagnosed the incorrect reason.

Usually, the temporary and less-severe constipation occurs due to a diet low in fiber, lack of water or dehydration, and high levels of stress.

Where people can improve their diets and drink more water, stress is very hard to get rid of and is one of the reasons why constipation keeps coming back. In fact, stress can have a lot of other effects on the processes in the body.

A person with constipation might have different things going on in his or her GI tract such as not enough formation of stool, slow movement of stool, delayed emptying of the colon from the pelvis or even a combination of all of these.

Functional GI disorders can also lead to constipation while disturbing the digestion. One of such disorders is the Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you have symptoms of IBS, you are likely to develop constipation.

Some other factors that can cause constipation are:

  • Inactivity (that causes less blood flow and decreased muscle strength in the GI tract)
  • Imbalance in intestinal flora (lack of probiotics in the gut which are usually obtained from prebiotic fiber)
  • Medication (such as antidepressants, calcium, antacids, and iron)
  • Magnesium deficiency (that causes abnormal muscle movements)
  • Hormonal and Thyroid problems (menopause, hypothyroidism)
  • Spinal injuries or neurological issues
  • Disturbed patterns of sleep (that disrupts all functions in the body)
  • Bad bathroom habits (rushing or sitting in a bad position)
  • Barium swallow (only if you do not eat fiber and drink enough liquids after having one)
  • Older age (and slowing down of digestion)

 

SOURCES:

https://www.med.unc.edu/ibs/files/educational-gi-handouts/Stress%20and%20the%20Gut.pdf
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9796084
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1590865813001163
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325863/

 

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