Constipation Symptoms and Causes

November 12, 2012

Constipation Symptoms and Causes

Not a lot of people like to talk about constipation. However, if you have ever experienced it, then you know that constipation symptoms can be annoying and painful. Don’t get embarrassed, though. Everybody will get constipated at least once in their lives. In fact, it affects around 2% of the U.S. population. Out of all of these people, mostly women and seniors are affected. Now, even though constipation symptoms aren’t really seen as something serious, it can still be a cause of concern in some cases, though – especially if pain starts coming into the picture along with it.

A Definition

Constipation symptoms appear whenever it becomes hard or rare for people to pass their bowels on a regular basis. Although it is true that bowel movements will differ greatly from one person to the next – wherein some people have them thrice a day, while others only have them twice a week – going for more than three days would already be too long without bowel movements. After this time period, the feces or stool will become harder to pass, in general, because they will actually be harder in texture.

Here are other constipation symptoms to look out for:

  • At least 25% of hard stools out of all of the stools that were had during the week

  • At least 25% of incomplete evacuation of stool during the week

  • Straining for at least 25% of bowel movements during the week

  • Less than two bowel movements a week

The Causes

Constipation usually happens because of bowel function disorders as opposed to mere structural problems, though. Here are several other common constipation causes:

  • Antacid medicines that have aluminum or calcium in them

  • Colon cancer

  • Depression

  • Disruptions to regular habits

  • Disruptions to other routines

  • Disruptions in one’s diet

  • Eating disorders

  • Eating too much dairy

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Immobility

  • Insufficient exercises

  • Insufficient activities, in general

  • Insufficient fiber intake

  • Insufficient water intake

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Medicines, most of all strong ones, like antidepressants, iron pills, or narcotics

  • Neurological problems, like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease

  • Using too many laxatives and stool softeners that could weaken the muscles of the bowels as time goes by

  • Pregnancy

  • Resisting having bowel movements due to painful symptoms like hemorrhoids

  • Stress

  • Traveling

Sometimes, a lack of good muscle functions and nerves in the bowels might cause constipation, as well.

The Symptoms

Other constipation symptoms would include:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Trouble having bowel movements

  • Infrequent bowel movements

  • Pain

  • Swollen abdomen

  • Vomiting

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