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Constipation - Causes

Causes of constipation are as follows:

  1. Lifestyle:Lifestyle causes of constipation are quite common these days, especially with our poor dietary habits and lack of exercise. Some of them are listed below:
    • low fibre intake
    • low fluid intake
    • ignoring the call to stools
    • lack of exercise
    • sedentary lifestyle
  2. Social factors
    • During early childhood, if a child is not comfortable passing stools during certain situations – such as while dining, getting late for school, while eating or while travelling – it can lead to a reduced urge or fear to pass stools, thus giving rise to constipation.
    • Too much scolding, punishing or some form of fear can also lead to a decreased urge to pass stools.
    • Sexual, physical or mental abuse in the forms of embarrassment or punishment can lead to constipation, especially in children.
  3. Medical factors
    • Intestinal disease: Blockage in the intestine or rectum may slow or stop stool movement. Some of these intestinal diseases are narrowing of the large intestines, pressure over the intestine due to excess weight, anal fissure, tuberculosis and colon cancer.
    • Nerve problems around the intestine: This makes the intestines function slowly, which could lead to diabetes causing autonomic neuropathy, stroke, spinal cord disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
    • Weakness of the pelvic muscles
    • Hormones: This includes problems like hypothyroidism, pregnancy and the associated hormonal changes, and diabetes.

Risk factors

Factors that increase the risk of constipation are as follows:

  • advanced age
  • mental stress
  • women get constipated more often than men
  • low-fibre diet
  • dehydration
  • limited physical activity
  • certain medications that include sedatives or narcotics that slow the body down

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