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Causes and Symptoms

What Causes Constipation?

Constipation is usually caused by a disorder of bowel function rather than astructural problem. Common causes of constipation include:

  • Inadequate water intake.
  • Inadequate fiber in the diet.
  • A disruption of regular diet or routine; traveling.
  • Inadequate activity or exercise or immobility.
  • Eating large amounts of dairy products.
  • Stress.
  • Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement, which is sometimes the resultof pain from hemorrhoids
  • Overuse of laxatives (stool softeners) which, over time, weaken the bowel muscles
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
  • Antacid medicines containing calcium or aluminum
  • Medicines (especially strong pain medicines, such as narcotics, antidepressants, or iron pills)
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Colon cancer

In some cases, lack of good nerve and muscle function in the bowel may alsobe a cause of constipation.

What Are the Symptoms of Constipation?

Symptoms of constipation can include:

  • Infrequent bowel movements and/or difficulty having bowel movements
  • Swollen abdomen or abdominal pain
  • Pain
  • Vomiting