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22 Factors That Contribute to Constipation & Irregularity

22 Factors that Contribute to Constipation & Irregularity

FactorsImpact on Regularity
Low Fiber Diet The colon uses fiber to form stools. Without fiber, stool quality is poor & constipation is more likely.
> About Insoluble Fiber > About Soluble Fiber
Inadequate Fluid Intake The colon uses water to form stools. Without adequate fluid intake, stool quality is poor & constipation is more likely.
Lack of Movement Movement stimulates bowel activity and helps to maintain colon muscle tone. Without movement constipation is likely.
Stool Withholding Withholding stools (ignoring the urge to "go") promotes constipation & can lead to problems with chronic constipation.
> About Stool Withholding
Laxative Use Laxatives damage the colon promoting conditions that lead to constipation.
Laxative Over-Use Used long term, the damage from laxatives leads to dependency - the inability to move the bowel without laxatives.
> About Laxative Over-Use
Imaginary Constipation Many people believe themselves to be constipated because they think that they need to move their bowels every day or several times a day.
> What is Regularity?
Certain Medications Some medications have side effects that promote constipation.
> About Medication Induced Constipation
Travel Dietary changes (eating fast foods while on the road, or not eating fresh foods), not drinking enough fluids, not having easy access to
a restroom (common with road travel), and interruptions in daily bowel and sleep habits can lead to constipation.
Stress Response to stress can cause disruptions in normal bowel function. Being too busy to go to the bathroom, reducing fluid intake, skipping meals, eating in a hurry (not properly chewing food), and eating convenience or fast foods all contribute to constipation.
Depression Depression can include a depressed appetite, poor eating habits, a reduction in fluid intake, a reduction in physical exercise, excessive bed rest, and drug abuse. These factors can bring about constipation.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Spasms (interruptions) in the rhythmic action of the colon muscles can delay or the speed up the passage of stools through the colon. This can lead to constipation, diarrhea, or alternating constipation and diarrhea.
Smoking Smoking causes digestive distress. When the digestive system is under stress, constipation and diarrhea are more likely to occur.
Disease Many diseases affect the tissues of gastro intestinal tract and producing constipation or diarrhea.
Significant Changes in Diet Significant changes in diet can bring about bouts of constipation as the body adjusts to the change in available fiber and fluids in the “new diet”.
Pregnancy Compression of the intestine due to a pregnant womb, and the changes in hormones that occur during pregnancy can cause constipation. > About Constipation During Pregancy
Mechanical Compression The interior of the colon can become compressed due to pregnancy, scarring, inflammation, and infection around diverticula, tumors, and cancer. Compression can lead to constipation.
Hormones Hormonal disturbances such as an inactive thyroid gland, or hormonal changes with pregnancy, can result in constipation.
Hemorrhoids & Anal Fissures During a bowel movement, the fear of the pain that accompanies these conditions can produce a spasm of the anal sphincter muscle, delaying a bowel movement - which promotes constipation.
Aging With aging, the metabolism can slow down. Slowed colonic motility, illness, and the breakdown of other bodily functions, commonly associated with aging, can lead to constipation.
Colonic Motility Disorders Delays and disruptions in normal bowel function from a disorder can result in constipation.
Nerve Damage & Interruptions in Neural Activity Injury to nerves lining the G.I. tract , injury to the spinal cord, or interruptions of the transmission of messages to the brain due to tumors pressing on the spinal cord, or medications that affect neurological activity, can produce constipation.