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What Actually Causes Constipation?

Constipation seems to be one of those problems that people have with their bodies that frequently goes unreported to physicians.  This is not really due to any embarrassment about the condition but rather because constipation affects all of us from time to time.  Infrequent bowel movements, straining, and even a drastic reduction in stool size are all common in people from time to time.  Many people seek constipation relief in the form of laxatives and their occasional use is actually normal.  The only problem arises when chronic constipation prevents us from regularly eliminating the solid waste that accumulates in our bodies.  But what actually causes constipation and when should we be concerned enough to consult a physician about the problem?

Common Constipation Causes

 More often than not, it is actually your diet causing the constipation.  The two main culprits in your diet are a lack of water and fiber.  Straining during a bowel movement is often due to dehydration while infrequent or reduced stool sizes generally can be traced to a lack of fiber.

Constipation relief is often necessary for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle as well.  The body needs a certain amount of physical activity to function properly.  Constipation is often a side effect of obesity but can easily be remedied by increasing physical activity and modifying diet.

Many travelers find themselves in need of constipation relief because changes in a person’s environment can affect bowel movements—especially air travel.  Plus, diet tends to change dramatically during travel which also tends to bring on constipation. 

Simply delaying or “putting off” a bowel movement can also cause mild constipation.  The simplest constipation cure for travelers or persons delaying bowel movements is a laxative.  So long as the condition does not persist for more than a day or two, you should be fine.

Pregnancy has also been known to cause constipation as well as starting a new medication.  Anti-depressants, pain killers, blood pressure medication, and diuretics are all known causes of mild to moderate cases of constipation.  Any time you notice a problem with constipation immediately after starting a new medication, consult your physician so they can prescribe a different medication. 

Finally, especially in cases of chronic constipation, the cause can be internal.  Growths on the colon or a severe narrowing of the colon can also cause constipation.  In these instances, surgery may be the only effective constipation relief available to a patient. 

But, such severe forms of constipation are indeed rare but they are growing in frequency.  The most common constipation remedy continues to be laxatives but avoid using these for more than a day or two.  If the constipation persists, consult your health care professional  immediately because it could be the result of a much more serious medical condition.  However, in most cases, simply modifying your diet and increasing physical activity are the best long-term solutions to avoiding short term problems with constipation.

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