Common causes of constipation are:
1. Not enough fiber in the diet
The most common cause of constipation is a diet low in fiber found in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. People who eat plenty of high fiber foods are less likely to become constipated.
Fiber, both soluble and insoluble, is the part of fruits, vegetables, and grains that the body cannot digest. Soluble fiber dissolves easily in water and takes on a soft, gel like texture in the intestines. Insoluble fiber passes through the intestines almost unchanged. The bulk and soft texture of fiber help to prevent hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.
A low fiber diet also plays a key role in constipation among older adults, who may lost interest in eating and choose convenience foods low in fiber.
2. Not enough liquids
Liquids like water and juice add fluid to the colon and bulk to stools, making bowel movements softer and easier to pass. People who have problems with constipation should drink enough of these liquids every day, about eight ounce glasses. Liquids that contain caffeine, like coffee and cold drinks, and alcohol have a dehydrating effect.
3. Lack of exercises
Lack of exercise can lead to constipation, although doctors do not know precisely why. For example, constipation often occurs after an accident or during an illness when one must stay in bed and cannot exercise.
Some medications can cause constipation. They include:
Pain medications, antacids that contain aluminum and calcium, blood pressure medications, antiparkinson drugs, antidepressants, iron supplements, diuretics.
5. Irritable bowel syndrome
Some people with IBS, also known as spastic colon, have spasms in the colon that affect bowel movements. Constipation and diarrhea often alternate, and abdominal cramping, gassiness, and bloating are other common complaints.
6. Changes in lifestyle or routine
During pregnancy, women may be constipated because of hormonal changes or because of heavy uterus compresses the intestine. Aging may also affect bowel regularity because a slower metabolism results in less intestinal activity and muscles tone. In addition, people often become constipated when travelling because their normal diet and daily routines are disrupted.
7. Abuse of laxatives
Laxatives usually are not necessary and can be habit-forming. The colon begins to rely on laxatives to bring on bowel movements. Overtime, laxatives can damage nerve cells in the colon and interfere with the colon’s natural ability to contract. For the same reason, regular use of enemas can also lead to a loss of normal bowel function.
8. Specific diseases
Diseases that cause constipation include neurological disorders, metabolic and endocrine disorders, and systemic conditions that affect organ systems. These disorders can slow the movement of stool through the colon, rectum, or anus.