It’s a subject few people wish to talk about — even with their doctors. Yet, at some point in our lives, most of us have had constipation.
What causes constipation?
If you suffer from constipation now and then, it’s probably no cause for worry.
“Lack of exercise, ignoring the urge to go, not drinking enough water and not eating enough fiber through fruits, vegetables and whole grains can all lead to the occasional bout with constipation,” said Dr. Satish Rao, gastroenterologist at the Augusta University Digestive Health Center.
Other causes, however, aren’t so obvious. Consider this:
- Check your medications. Certain antihistamines, diuretics, antacids and vitamins, including iron and calcium supplements, can cause constipation. Many prescription medications can also be at fault. If medications are to blame, talk with your doctor about alternatives.
- Take stock of your lifestyle. Sometimes a change in daily routine can bring about constipation. This might occur if you go on vacation or have an illness or injury. An increased activity level is your best bet to jump-start the body into functioning for you.
- Examine your coffee and other habits. Alcohol use, as well as the caffeine found in coffee and colas, can tend to cause dehydration, which may lead to constipation.
Need more? Consider over-the-counter remedies, including soluble fiber, laxatives, and stool softeners. But talk to your doctor if your constipation persists for several weeks or if you experience bleeding, pain or unusual symptoms. Chronic constipation may be a sign of more serious disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, slow transit constipation, dyssynergic defecation, colorectal cancer, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.
With a little extra help, today constipation can be effectively treated and in many cases cured.