Managing Constipation

Four days without a movement can signal a medical emergency.

What Causes Constipation?


Personal diet, exercise, and physiology affect your toilet contribu­tions. Whether regular evacua­tions are three times per day or as many times per week, at some point in life you experience constipation. It is indi­cated by the inter­ruption in your normal bathroom routine. Time and effort on the toilet is unproductive or incomplete. Bloating, straining, hard stools, and flatulence make constipation uncomfortable.

  • Primary constipation: Slow intestinal movements caused by an anatomical issue. This is often associated with not consuming enough fiber or not drinking enough fluids.
  • Secondary constipation: Associated with metabolic disease (such as diabetes), neurologic diseases (stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis), connective tissue disorders, or eating disorders.

Your predicament has much to do with what you include or exclude from your diet. Lack of whole fruits, too little or too much fiber, overuse of laxatives, and some prescription medications can be culprits.

Some causes of constipation include:
  • Antacid medicines containing aluminum or calcium
  • Colon cancer
  • Consuming too many dairy products
  • Eating disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Insufficient water or fiber in your diet
  • Inactivity
  • Ignoring the urge to defecate
  • Laxative overuse
  • Pain relieving medications (opioids, antidepressants, NSAIDs, iron pills)
  • Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Problems with the nerves and muscles in your digestive system
  • Stress
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

Treatments For Constipation

Updated: Aug 10, 2023
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