Constipation: Causes and Symptoms

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Constipation: Causes and Symptoms

a person with constipation

Constipation is one of the most common digestive problems in the United States. In fact, approximately 16 out of 100 American adults experience constipation. The number nearly doubles when it comes to people over 60.

The condition can make you feel constantly bloated and uncomfortable, and it might result in harmful consequences. For example, chronic constipation might lead to something as serious as bowel obstruction.

It’s important to know more about constipation to get proper treatment and prescription drug assistance.

Keep reading to find out more.

What Is Constipation?

Before we understand what constipation is, we need to know how the digestive tract works.

The body absorbs nutrients and breaks down the waste along each point of the gastrointestinal tract. Movements such as churning and peristalsis help move the food along the digestive tract. The softer and bulkier the stool is, the more likely it is to trigger these movements. Finally, the muscles near the end of the alimentary canal help push the stool out of the body.

Constipation occurs when the body has fewer bowel movements. The condition can occur due to many factors, such as when stool passes through the colon too slowly. However, there are other reasons for constipation as well, like a blockage in the large intestine. If that’s the case, the affected individual might need medical attention immediately.

Symptoms of Constipation

Bowel habits can vary from person to person. However, if you have constipation, you might experience the following symptoms:

  1. Bowel movements occur less than three times a week.
  2. Experiencing difficulty in emptying the bowels.
  3. Feeling strain or pain.
  4. Feeling like you haven’t emptied your bowel properly.
  5. Lumpy, hard, or dry stools.

People with constipation might also experience other symptoms. According to NIDDK, you should consult a professional if the symptoms persist or if you experience the following symptoms.

  1. Blood in stool
  2. Fever
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Nausea
  5. Pain in the abdomen
  6. Pain in the lower back
  7. Rectal bleeding
  8. Vomiting

Causes of Constipation

1. Lack of Fiber in Your Diet

More often than not, poor dietary habits lead to constipation. A low-fiber diet with high content of processed foods and high-fat food such as cheese and meat can cause constipation.

Individuals need a diet full of fiber and hydration to ensure regular bowel movements.

2. Physical Inactivity

Low levels of physical activity may lead to constipation. Various studies have found that physically active people are less likely to experience constipation.

3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

People with intestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome can also feel constipated. It can also result in symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, distension, etc.

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