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Constipation and its causes

Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Mostly, it is temporary and not serious. Understanding its causes, prevention, and treatment will help you find relief.
Tanvi Malik
Tanvi Malik
Apr 172 min read
Constipation and its causes

Constipation is very common and almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life. It is more common in the elderly, in pregnant women and people leading a sedentary life.

What is constipation?

Constipation may be defined as the retention of faeces in the large intestine beyond the normal time of emptying. Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Mostly, it is temporary and not serious. Understanding its causes, prevention, and treatment will help you find relief. 

What are symptoms of constipation?

Constipation can be characterised with few of these symptoms: 

  • Feeling of a full bowel
  • Irregular/delayed evacuation/ bowel movement
  • Pain during bowel movement
  • Straining
  • Bloating
  • Pain in abdomen, occasionally
  • Headache
  • Lack of appetite
  • Foul breath
  • Coated tongue

What are different types of constipation?

  • Atonic constipation : also called lazy bowel syndrome, there is loss of muscle activity in the intestine which causes difficulty in the passage of stool
  • Spastic constipation : caused by increase in muscle activity which narrows the passage and movement of faeces is retarted
  • Obstructive constipation : due to obstruction of the bowel by some growth, like cancer, etc.

Causes of constipation?

  • Irregular intake of meals
  • Inadequate intake of fluids
  • Emotional disturbances, like tension, depression, anxiety or excitement
  • Lack of exercise
  • Painful fissures or haemorrhoids
  • Obstruction in the intestine or diseases like colon cancer

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In the next series of learning, read about how you can work on reducing constipation. Foods that can help you reduce constipation and general habits, guidelines that can help you keep releive of constipation!

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