What Causes Adult Constipation?

Q:
What causes adult constipation?

A:
Don’t worry, constipation is a problem that bothers one third of Americans every year. Many causes lead to constipation. Some can be avoided with your own efforts, while others need a doctor’s help. Here are the major causes of constipation:

Lifestyle and diet:

Poor diet and an inactive lifestyle are the most common causes of constipation. A lack of exercise and eating too much junk food can make you not “go” for over three days. You should be alert if the following causes apply to your condition:

  • Dairy products
  • Foods high in fat and sugar
  • Lack of high-fiber foods (like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains)
  • Lack of water and other fluids
  • Alcohol or caffeine

Besides, when you feel like you need to defecate, use it immediately. Putting it off for a more convenient time (like when you get home, for example) can lead to constipation.

Medications:

Constification is a common side effect of many frequently prescribed medications. Some common medications that can cause constipation are diuretics, antacids (with aluminum and calcium), narcotics, antidepressants, supplements, anticonvulsants, and blood pressure treatments.

Health conditions:

Constipation can also be a side effect or symptom of many health conditions. These conditions can cause stool to pass more slowly through the colon, resulting in constipation.

Health conditions that can cause constipation include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (the most common causes of constipation)
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Lupus

Aging can also trigger constipation.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.