Constipation occurs because too much water is absorbed from the food, or the colon isn’t contracting frequently or strongly enough. The stool moves too slowly as a result.
You may have pain while passing stools or may be unable to have a bowel movement after straining or pushing for more than 10 minutes.
Normal patterns of bowel elimination vary widely from person to person and you may not have a bowel movement every day. While some healthy people have consistently soft or near-runny stools, others have consistently firm stools, but no difficulty passing them.
When the stool is infrequent, or requires significant effort to pass, you have constipation.
Possible Causes of Constipation
Constipation is most often caused by:
- Low-fiber diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Not drinking enough water
- Delay in going to the bathroom when you have the urge to move your bowels
Stress and travel can also contribute to constipation or other changes in bowel habits.
Other causes of constipation may include:
- Colon cancer
- Diseases of the bowel, such as irritable bowel syndrome
- Underactive thyroid
- Mental health disorders
- Neurological disorders and diseases
- Use of certain medications
Constipation in children often occurs if they hold back bowel movements when they aren’t ready for toilet training or are afraid of it.
Tips on How to Cope With Constipation
- It is important to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of fluids daily because this will help to soften the stool.
- If you are using medications that may cause constipation, then it is advisable to limit the use of high fibre foods. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist or other healthcare professionals if you think that medications make you constipated.
- If you are not using medications that cause constipation, then please use high fibre to help to soften your stool.
- Exercise is also known to help to ease constipation. Take a walk, if you wish to.
- Bulk-forming laxatives such as psyllium husks may be helpful.