June 25, 2024


Outstanding health & fitness

Causes, Risk Factors, and Complications of Constipation

Constipation is one of the most frequent gastrointestinal complaints; it occurs when bowel movements become less frequent, and stool becomes hard to pass. Constipation occurs most of the time due to inadequate fiber intake or changes in diet or routine. Although nearly everyone constipates once in a while, some people experience chronic constipation, which gets in the way of their ability to perform everyday tasks; if you experience unexplained and persistent changes in your bowel habits, an appointment with the best Cypress gastroenterologist for treatment can help you avoid complications such as anal fissure and hemorrhoids.

How common is constipation?

Constipation is a common problem in the United States; at least 2.5 million people see their physician annually due to constipation. It occurs when the colon absorbs much water from waste, making the stool hard in consistency and difficult to push out of the body. When food moves slowly through the digestive tract, it gives the coon more time to absorb water from the waste, making the stool dry and hard.

Causes of constipation

  • Chronic constipation has various possible causes, including blockage in the colon or rectum that slows or stops stool movement. Blockages in the rectum or colon may be due to anal fissure, bowel obstruction, colon cancer, rectocele, rectal cancer, and rectal cancer.
  • Neurological problems such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury, and autonomic neuropathy can affect the nerves that control muscle contraction in the colon and rectum.
  • Conditions and diseases like diabetes, pregnancy, and thyroid problems that cause hormonal imbalance can also cause constipation.

Risk factors for constipation

Although anyone can have occasional constipation, some situations put you at risk of chronic constipation. For example:

  • Old age. Older people are more likely to have constipation since their metabolism is slower, and they have less muscle contraction strength than when they were younger.
  • Certain medications. Some drugs such as antidepressants, narcotics, iron pills, allergy medications, and antacid medications containing calcium or aluminum can cause constipation.
  • Being a woman. Women are also at risk of constipation due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and after childbirth. The baby’s weight also squishes the intestines during pregnancy, slowing down stool passage.
  • Less intake of high-fiber foods. Foods rich in fiber have extra bulk that softens stool and speeds digestion. Plant foods such as beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are rich in fiber.

Possible complications of constipation

  • Anal fissure. A hard or large stool can cause tiny tears in the lining of your anus.
  • Hemorrhoids. Because of straining during bowel movements, the veins in and around our anus could become swollen and inflamed.
  • Rectal prolapse. The intestines can protrude out of the anus due to straining when having a bowel movement.
  • Fecal impaction. Hardened stool may accumulate and get stuck in your intestines.
  • Straining during bowel movements can also damage your pelvic floor muscles, which help control your bladder. Eventually, you may develop stress urinary incontinence, whereby urine leaks from the bladder.

The good news is that most of the time, you can prevent constipation. For example, lifestyle changes such as increasing fiber intake, exercising, and drinking enough water can help prevent constipation.

If you have further questions about constipation, consult your healthcare provider today at GastroDoxs PPLC.