We all experience constipation at some point in our lives. In order to prevent and manage this condition you need to first understand what causes it.
Constipation is a very common condition that can occur in people of all ages. Constipation sufferers can be affected in a variety of ways including;
- Hard and lumpy stools
- Unusually large or small stools
- Not being able to pass stools regularly
- Not being unable to completely empty your bowel.
The severity of constipation varies from person to person – constipation is when you are passing stools less frequently than you would normally. For many people constipation is an acute, short term issue that is easily treated. For others it can be a chronic, long-term issue that can cause considerable pain and discomfort, affecting ones quality of life. The type of constipation you suffer with will affect the type of treatment used.
Your colon extracts water from your food. However, as waste builds in your colon, it can lose too much of its water content, making it dry and harder to pass and hence resulting in constipation. Constipation has many causes, the most common being:
- Lack of dietary fibre
- Sedentary lifestyle/lack of exercise
- A change in routine or eating habits
- Side effects from certain medications including antacids, antiepileptics, antipsychotics, painkillers and iron supplements.
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Ignoring the urge to pass stools
- Being underweight or overweight
- Certain medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, IBS, diabetes, hypothyroidism, Parkinsons, MS and bowel cancer.
- Age - as you get older, your digestive tract muscles are not as active as they once were.