Constipation is defined as moving the bowels less than thrice a week. Having dry and hard stool that is difficult or painful to pass also categorizes you as someone with constipation. This problem is so common that medical experts say that as much as 15 percent of the US population is suffering from it.
A diet that’s low in fiber, lack of exercise, insufficient fluid intake — these are some of the well-known saboteurs of having regular bowel movement. Ignoring the urge to go each time can also leave you with a bout of constipation. Are you still facing constipation despite of doing your best to avoid all of these usual culprits behind the problem? It could be brought about by some of the little-known causes of constipation. Read on to get to know some of them!
Some people complain of facing constipation after consuming chocolates. However, others say that those decadent treats actually help them move their bowels. According to a 2005 study, individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation were likely to end up constipated after having chocolates.
Intake of Painkillers
Painkillers can put an end to pain, but they can also disrupt the functioning of your digestive system, leaving you with constipation. This is especially true if the ones you are taking are narcotics. Experts say that narcotics can have an effect on the nerves in the gut. Some studies suggest that chronic intake of ibuprofen and aspirin may leave you constipated too.
Taking Certain Vitamins
It’s no secret that vitamins are good for you. However, there are certain vitamins or supplements that may leave you constipated or make your constipation worse, such as iron and calcium. In fact, some doctors who recommend their patients to take calcium or iron supplements also prescribe stool softeners to be taken with those.
Certain laxatives work by stimulating the functioning of the gut. It’s ironic that these medications designed to help promote regular bowel movement may actually leave you constipated, particularly when they’re overused. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s or your doctor’s directions when taking laxatives or any other medication.
Consuming Lots of Dairy
Milk, cheese, butter, yogurt — all of them may leave you constipated. Although nutritious, dairy products are high in fat and contain zero fiber, and it isn’t surprising why including lots of them in your diet may keep you from being regular. Reduce the amount of dairy and consume more fiber-rich foods in order to keep constipation from striking.
Depression is something that can cause all sorts of processes going on inside your body to slow down, and it includes your digestive system. It’s not unlikely for you to end up with a bout of constipation if you are constantly feeling glum. Also, experts say that certain types of antidepressants may leave you constipated.
Taking Some Types of Antacids
You may swear by the effectiveness of your preferred antacid in putting a stop to your heartburn. But if you often find yourself facing constipation, it may be due to its intake — especially if it contains aluminum or calcium. You can either look for a different type of antacid or do your best to prevent heartburn from attacking.
Being a Diabetic
One of the symptoms of diabetes is having increased blood sugar level, something that can damage the nerves in the long run — including the ones that regulate your digestive system. It’s exactly the reason why you may end up facing constipation regularly if you have advanced diabetes.
It’s not unlikely for someone who is always complaining of having constipation to have hypothyroidism, a condition characterized by an underactive thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism can slow down the body’s metabolic processes, including the performance of the gut. However, not everyone with the condition is facing a bout of constipation.