Many of us face this problem sometimes, or some people also have constipation more frequently or regularly. Usually, this problem is not much serious. Though it can also be serious if the reason for constipation is quite serious. So, it is important to understand the various causes of constipation. Before going for the causes that are responsible for constipation, let us know what it is and what are the symptoms associated with constipation.
What is Constipation?
- The one who has constipation will have tougher bowel movements and have lesser bowel movements than it should be.
- Anybody can have constipation due to one reason or another.
- The normal time between two bowel movements can differ from person to person.
- Some people have even two to three times a day, while others do not have bowel movements for even two-three days straight.
- After passing there or more days with bowel movements, your poop may get much harder to pass.
Symptoms of Constipation
People with constipation may experience all or a few of the following symptoms:
- Three or lesser bowel movements per week
- Having hard, dry or lumpy stools
- Struggling to have bowel movements
- Sensing a blockage in the rectum, which feels like stopping bowel movements
- Feeling like your rectum is not empty
- Belly bloating
Constipation and the Colon
The colon’s function is to absorb the water from the food we eat when it passes through the digestive system.
- Then, the colon prepares stools as waste to get passed out of the body.
- The colonel’s muscles propel the stools by applying force to the rectum so that they can easily get eliminated.
- When these stools stay inside the rectum for a longer time, they become harder to pass and become hard by nature.
What Causes Constipation in Adults?
Causes of constipation in adults are very common and are related to our daily habits. These bad habits, which we have, promote constipation and makes the situation harder for our body. The causes of constipation in adults may be one of the following:
- Poor diet: Poor diet is the main cause of constipation. A diet that lacks dietary fiber is very unhealthy for bowel movements.
- Inadequate water intake: People who drink water less than normal people should drink have this problem more frequently.
- Eating dairy products more than needed.
- Not exercising or having less physical movement.
- Stress also induces constipation.
- Over-usage of laxatives
- Travelling or change in routine.
- Changes in eating habits
- Ignoring the urge to go and poop.
- Medications like strong pain killers such as narcotics, iron pills or anti-depressants.
Constipation Due to Medical Problems
Among the causes of constipation, there are certain medical problems that can also lead to constipation. These medical problems are:
- Diseases like stroke or diabetes.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Issues related to the rectum or colon. These may include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), intestinal blockage or diverticulosis.
- Hormonal issues like lesser activity of the thyroid gland.
Causes of Constipation in Infants
- Constipation in infants is really very common, which are of less than 1 year in age.
- Not all the time, you think the baby is constipated. He will be actually constipated.
- Infants need time to manage their schedule for their bowel movements.
- Generally, an infant has easy to pass and softer stools than adults.
- So, an infant may have irregular bowel movements even after NOT being constipated.
- In very rare cases, some babies lack nerves or face some structural issues in the large intestine.
- It is a cause of constipation in newborns. But, this condition is not very common. If your doctor advises you to diagnose whether there is some issue, then only go for it.
- Sometimes, infants have flowy stools, i.e. liquid stools. It can be because of diarrhea.
- In this case, solid stools remain inside the body, and liquid stool gets eliminated.
- Infants also have constipation due to gas which makes their abdomen (belly) swelled.
Foods that Cause Constipation
Constipation is a common problem. It may occur due to bad eating habits and can also be reduced with good food. So, some foods that cause constipation are:
- Alcohol has a major role in causing constipation.
- When you intake a lot of alcohol, it will increase urine.
- Along with urine, many fluids are also lost.
- And, this condition causes dehydration and, thus, constipation too.
- Dehydration, however it is occurring, will be harmful to your stools.
- Either you don’t drink enough water or lose so much water due to alcohol, it will create problems.
- Alcohol may affect differently on various people.
- Those who want to cop up with dehydration while consuming alcohol should try and offset each alcohol serving with a glass of water or something non-alcoholic.
#2. Foods Containing Gluten
- Gluten is a kind of protein present in many grains such as wheat, rye, barley, Kamut and triticale.
- Some people can face constipation after eating gluten-containing foods.
- Also, some of them become gluten intolerant, which makes them unable to digest gluten.
- It is commonly known as gluten intolerance and celiac disease too.
- If you find the fact that gluten causes your constipation, then talk to some healthcare expert.
- He will cut gluten from your diet, and thus, you will not be taken to celiac disease.
#3. Processed Grains:
White rice, white bread or white pasta etc., all have processed grain in them.
Does rice also cause constipation?
You did not know, Right? But it does.
Because these are low in fiber contents and thus, they will cause more constipation.
- Studies have found that intake of higher fiber contents can reduce the rate of constipation unexpectantly.
- Therefore, people facing constipation issues should lower the intake of processed grains.
- You can replace them with whole grains.
- In whole grains, the bran ad germ part, which is removed generally, contains high fiber. And this way, it helps in easing up the bowel movements.
#4. Dairy Products and Milk:
- It is a question of many of the people that can too much milk cause constipation?
- Then yes, of course, it does cause constipation.
- Dairy products are also one of the importantcauses of constipation.
- Not everybody, but some people have major issues with dairy products linked to their bowel movements.
- It is a major cause of constipation in infants, children or toddlers because they are comparatively more sensitive to proteins present in this milk.
- There are a lot of studies that explain this sensitivity of children to cow’s milk.
- When it gets replaced by soy milk or almond milk, they got relief from constipation.
- However, some adults who are lactose intolerant gets diarrhea when they consume dairy products.
#5. Fried Food Items
- Fast food or fried foods also increase the risk of constipation.
- It happens because of less amount of fiber in them along with a high amount of fat portion.
- This combination of high fat and low fiber is enough to make digestion much slower than usual.
- It happens the same way in which red meat cause constipation.
- Moreover, fried food and fast foods have a significant amount of salt, which lowers down the water content in one’s stools.
- It makes the stools dry and harder to pass out of the body.
Also, many of us doubt eggs too.
Do Eggs Cause Constipation?
Then yes, it may cause constipation. Any food which is high in fats and low in fiber may cause constipation to you. So, when you feel constipated, avoid eating cheese, red meat and eggs. They may enhance your constipation.
Can Stress Cause Constipation?
Our emotions and bowels are closely related. Once you get stressed, you can make your gut upset. It will tense the muscles. Tensed muscles will not be able to push your stools out of the body and will worsen your constipation.
When we are stressed, our brain remains on high alert, and you will know that your belly is upset too.
Experts found that serotonin, which manages one’s mood, body, and health, plays a major role in digestion. Along with enhancing your mood, serotonin will also provide a better bowel movement. So, don’t be stressed, at least for your gut.
Ways to Prevent Constipation
- Watch your diet and add fiber-rich foods like vegetables, beans, whole grains and fruits etc.
- Cut on low fiber processed grains.
- Drink lots and lots of water.
- Reduce the consumption of milk and dairy products.
- Stay physically active and exercise for at least 4 to 5 days per week.
- Avoid caffeine consumption because it may dehydrate your body.
- Reduce stress.
- Do not ignore the urge to poop.
- Drink a lot of fluids and stay hydrated.