Top 5 Causes of Constipation and Other Digestive Issues

May 7th 2016

Constipation is frequently caused by dietary issues, ranging from inadequate fiber or water intake to a diet of foods that promote constipation. Other common causes of constipation include reactions to medication, overuse of laxatives, and irritable bowel syndrome and related disorders. Digestive issues related to constipation include abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

Dietary Issues Leading to Constipation

Constipation is often caused by inadequate intake of water or fiber. When a person doesn't drink enough water, the body removes water from the intestines, making stool harder to pass. In addition, a diet filled with dairy can often promote constipation. Since fiber retains water when in the intestines, eating plenty of fiber-filled foods allows the body to retain enough water for normal elimination. Fruits, whole grains and vegetables work naturally to prevent constipation.

Reactions to Medication

Constipation is a side effect of many common medications, including antacids, antidepressants, narcotics, antihistamines and pills containing iron. Some sedatives and antihypertensive medications also cause constipation.

Overuse of Laxatives

When people use laxatives too frequently, the bowel can come to rely on them, resulting in a loss of muscle function. It's easy for a reliance on laxatives to result in increasing constipation, which in turn often results in the perceived need for more laxatives.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Related Disorders

People with irritable bowel syndrome often experience constipation as a result of dyschezia. In this condition, a person has difficulty controlling and relaxing the muscles around the rectum, resulting in a feeling of having to pass stool but the inability to do so.

Another cause of constipation occurs when a person tries to delay going to the bathroom too frequently; this often results in hemorrhoids as well as constipation.

About 2 percent of the population experiences chronic constipation. While laxatives seem like an obvious answer to occasional constipation, the problems involved with their overuse point to other solutions. Regular exercise, a high-fiber diet and sufficient hydration are better solutions to the problem of constipation.

Sources

webmd.com "Digestive Diseases" http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-constipation#2
merckmanuals.com "Constipation" http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/digestive_disorders/symptoms_of_digestive_disorders/constipation.html
health.usnews.com "Common Digestive Problems and How to End Them" http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2012/09/06/8-common-digestive-problems-and-how-to-end-them?page=4

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