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Constipation: 6 Surprising Causes
25 Jan. 2016

causes of constipationConstipation is a condition when one does not pass stools regularly and has fewer than 3 bowel movements per week. It is a quite common disorder and, according to statistics, it occurs most often in young children and the elderly. Annually, constipation accounts for about 2.5 million visits to physicians and 20,000 hospitalizations.

So what causes this unpleasant condition? Almost all people experience constipation while traveling, when under stress or after a surgery. Such types of constipation usually go away when a person returns to his or her routine and are not considered a disorder. However, if constipations are too frequent and even become habitual, then it is essential to find the cause of this condition and treat it.

Here are some of the most surprising causes of constipation:

Diseases of the endocrine system. Constipation can accompany both hypo- and hyper-function of the endocrine glands. For example, such thyroid problem as hypothyroidism can cause constipation. High levels of calcium in the blood associated with hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid) can result in constipation as well.

Overuse of laxatives. Frequent use of laxatives cannot directly cause constipation, but it can provoke the dependence on their stimulating effect. It means that the body becomes accustomed to the laxative effect of such drugs and cannot function properly without them.

Medications. Constipation can be a side effect of certain drugs, especially if they are taken over a long period of time. Constipation can be associated with the use of certain painkillers, anticonvulsant or antispasmodic medicines, antidepressants, anti-allergic agents, antacids containing calcium or aluminum, tranquilizers as well as such antihypertensive drugs as calcium channel blockers.

Sedentary lifestyle. Regular physical activity supports the body’s metabolism and stimulates the function of the intestine. Therefore, those who lack physical activity tend to have constipation more often than physically active people do.

Vitamins and supplements. Certain food supplements can slower the digestion process. It is particularly true for calcium and iron supplements.

Depression. People suffering from depression are not active enough, they tend to eat more or vice versa less in general and thus change their regular diet. Eating more, especially carbs and sweets, and moving less can result in problems with the bowel movement and constipation.

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