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What is Constipation?

Verified By Apollo General Physician June 12, 2019 3543 0

What is Constipation?

Unable to have normal bowel movements is quite irritating and it affects our lifestyle drastically. What with our hectic lifestyles, fast food, and lack of exercise, most of us have this menacing condition called constipation. Usually, associated with the elderly, constipation is a condition that is even affecting the younger generations these days.

In its literal sense constipation means to press or to crowd. Any person with this condition would easily understand the crowded feeling in the lower abdomen. In medical parlance, constipation is associated with a condition in which bowel movements are incomplete or infrequent.

This is clearly a condition of the digestive system. A person with constipation has hard feces. It would be very difficult for them to expel. Commonly, it happens when the colon absorbs too much of water from the food that we eat. Also, if the food moves slowly in the digestive tract, more water is absorbed by the colon.

This results in dry feces and defecation becomes hard and painful. When constipation becomes severe, it leads to a condition called obstipation.

What are the causes of constipation?

Inadequate fiber in diet:

People consuming diet that is rich in fiber generally don’t have constipation. While people who consume lesser amounts of dietary fiber have more chances of having constipation. With our hectic lifestyles, binge eating, and consuming foods like meat, cheese, and eggs, we tend to neglect vegetables and fiber rich foods. This leads to constipation.

Dietary fiber can be categorized in two types – soluble and insoluble. Though fiber cannot be digested, the soluble fiber is fermented by the bacteria in our digestive tracts. This absorbs water and becomes gelatinous. It helps in bowel movements and prevents constipation.

Physical Inactivity:

This is again something that is symbolic of our age. With long hours of sitting in the office, and being a couch potato at home, we miss out on vital physical activity that helps the peristaltic movements. Peristaltic movement helps bowel movements. This is the reason why people with sedentary lifestyles have constipation when compared to people with active physical lives.

Medications that cause constipation:

● Antidepressants.
● Opioid painkillers.
● Anticonvulsants.
● Calcium Channel Blockers.
● Aluminum Containing Antacids.
● Diuretics.

Other causes include pregnancy, aging, change in routine due to travelling, and in some cases, milk. Also, lack of hydration, not going to the toilet when there’s an urge, and overuse of laxatives can lead to constipation.

Some signs that you may have constipation:

● You are not going to the toilet every day.
● Your poop is very hard and dry.
● You have to push and strain to relieve.
● You never get the empty feeling.

Some medical conditions that may cause constipation:

Colon Cancer.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
● Parkinson’s Disease.
Multiple Sclerosis.
● Hypothyroidism.
● Stress.
● Chronic Idiopathic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction.
● Uremia.

Home remedies for constipation:

● Mix some lime juice in a spoon of olive oil and consume it on empty stomach.
● Add lime juice in a glass of warm water and drink it on empty stomach.
● Add a lot of natural fiber to your diet.
● Mix one spoon of flaxseed oil in a glass of orange juice and drink it.
● Aloe vera juice (one glass).
● Mix one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water and drink it on empty stomach.
● Drink a glass of warm water mixed with two spoons of epsom salt.
● Consume a lot of fruits.
● Do yoga.


Though home remedies work wonders, it is always better to evaluate the underlying cause of constipation. Ruling out a possible medical condition is very necessary.  Not only is prolonged constipation irritating, it can be bad for your health and wellbeing. Gastroenterologists would do the required tests to eliminate some causes.


You can consult gastroenterologists of Apollo Hospitals online now. Book an appointment for an online consultation here.

Verified By Apollo General Physician

Our expert general medicine specialists verify the clinical accuracy of the content to deliver the most trusted source of information, making the management of health an empowering experience.

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