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Constipation – Causes and Symptoms of Constipation

Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal problem where a person suffers from infrequent bowel movements which results in hard and dry stools that are painful or difficult to pass. If an adult has not had bowel movements for three days is considered constipated. This disease of the GI tract is considered as the most common medical problems in the United States. Constipation is more common n women than in men especially during pregnancy.

Causes of Constipation
The causes of constipation include many factors like:

  • If the muscles used in the bowel movements do not coordinate properly, it causes you to strain.
  • Inadequate fluid intake or dehydration.
  • Lack of physical activity.
  • Changes in lifestyle or routine like traveling, pregnancy and aging.
  • Frequent use of laxatives.
  • Problems with colon and rectum.
  • Intestinal obstruction.
  • Anal fissures and hemorrhoids.
  • Injury to the spinal cord which can affect the nerves that are connected to the intestines.
  • Inadequate amounts of fiber in your diet.
  • Inattention to bowel habits.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Illness.
  • Diseases like stroke, diabetes, thyroid and Parkinson’s.
  • Medications for pain like diuretics and antidepressants.
  • Loss of body salts through vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Hormonal disturbances like under active thyroid gland.

Risk Factors for Constipation
Some of the risk factors include:

  • Sedentary life style
  • Eating a diet that is low in fiber
  • Taking certain medications like narcotics, sedatives and drugs that reduces blood pressure
  • An older adult
  • Confined to bed
  • Undergoing chemotherapy

Symptoms
The signs and symptoms include:

  • Experience hard stools
  • Pass lesser than three stools in a week
  • Experience a sense of rectal blockage
  • May use maneuvers like manual examination to have bowel movement, like manipulation or finger evacuation
  • Excessive straining during bowel movements
  • Having an incomplete feeling after having a bowel movement
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Blood in the stool
  • Rectal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss

When to consult the Medical Health Professional?
Consult your doctor when you observe the above signs and symptoms to find out the cause of constipation. There may be certain underlying factors that can result in severe constipation.

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