You have constipation when you have less than three bowel movements in a week, characterized by hard and dry, small fecal pellets that are troublesome to eliminate. A lot of the times, people also experience bloating when they are constipated, as well as the feeling that they have full bowels. While constipation is merely a symptom and not a disease, it can be quite uncomfortable. Knowing what causes constipation is important here because it aids in the prescription of the right kind of treatment.
The most common constipation causes include: not getting enough fiber in your diet, not enough physical activity, medications, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, milk, changes in routine or lifestyle, too much use of laxatives, dehydration, ignoring your urge to go, specific conditions or diseases, rectal and/or colon problems, and intestinal trouble.
If you’re not sure as to what exactly is causing the problem for you, it would be best if you paid your doctor a visit, more so if your condition is severe enough to cause pain and extreme discomfort. Most of the time constipation can be relieved just by changing your eating habits and loading up on fruits and vegetables and drinking a lot of water. But if you’re still not getting any bowel movement after consuming more fiber and water, your doctor may have the solution to your troubles as they can help you pinpoint more uncommon causes for constipation.
Some of the more uncommon (but very possible) constipation causes you might be looking at are:
- Painkillers. A lot of the receptors for narcotic drugs can be found in your digestive tract that’s why they bring bowel movements to a halt. If you find that you are getting constipated alongside your use of painkillers, popping a gentle laxative everyday should aid in softening your stool to help bowel movement along.
- Chocolate. It’s quite sad to find that sweet confections are the reason behind your constipation but a study points out that only those who are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or chronic constipation to begin with, are the most susceptible to chocolate-induced constipation. Try cutting back or avoiding chocolate in your diet to get things moving along.
- Vitamins. Vitamins are generally good for you but certain components can cause constipation, such as iron and calcium. To remedy the situation, doctors advise using iron and calcium supplements only when really needed. And while in use, these vitamins are to be taken with stool softeners to counteract their effect.
- Laxatives. It’s funny to think that laxatives can be one of the constipation causes out there but it’s true that they can lead to slower bowel movements; an effect completely the opposite of what they were initially designed for. This is because laxative use can lead to dependence which makes the body incapable of functioning without them. To avoid developing dependence, make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions and never use laxatives for longer than what was recommended.
Of course, the role of Probiotics and Prebiotics is also important when it comes to the health of your digestive system. While your stomach probably already has all the probiotics it needs for proper digestion, nourishing these beneficial digestive bacteria with the best probiotics can help relieve digestion problems like constipation.