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What Causes Constipation?

Constipation is a condition in which the stool hardens in the intestine and colon, making it harder to pass through the bowels. This is generally caused by the colon absorbing too much of the water content in the waste as it passes through, hardening it. Several factors can play a part in causing this; let's look at each of them below.

Medications : We don't generally think of medications playing a factor in the way we pass wastes but actually they can affect it quite a lot, especially for elderly patients who tend to take more of them. Drugs that can affect your bowels include: Codiene, oxycodone, hydromorphone, imapramine, amitriptyline, phenytoin, carbamazepine, nifedipene, diltiazem, basaljel, amphojel and iron supplements. These aren't all of the drugs that can affect your bowel movements but this should give you a good idea of which ones might affect you. Correcting these changes can be as easy as changing your diet by adding more fiber or switching to another medication that's just as effective without the constipating side effects.

Resisting the Urge : If you hold your bowels more often than is necessary to reach a bathroom it can lead to constipation as it trains your bowels to retain waste.

Laxatives : If you use laxatives too often it can actually cause constipation rather than helping relieve it. Overuse may cause damage to the muscles and nerves of the colon slowing or stopping waste excretion. As a result most doctors recommend using it after you've tried adding more fiber to your diet.

Diet : Fiber is one of the most important parts of a healthy diet; it's also the best way to keep your bowels running smoothly. Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to avoid and help relieve constipation.

Hormonal Imbalance : A shift in hormonal balance can alter your waste elimination as much as other body functions. If you are pregnant, approaching a menstrual cycle or suffer from thyroid problems you may become constipated.

Disease : There are several forms of disease that can affect the function of or damage the way the nerves and muscles in your colon work. These diseases include: multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, scleroderma, colon cancer, scleroderma, Hirshsprung's disease, and Chaqas disease.

Colinic Inertia : This disorder affects the function of the nerves and muscles in the colon causing waste to not be effectively expelled from the colon. Though the cause of this is condition is unclear it's been linked to disease of the muscles and nerves of the colon and may also be caused by overuse of laxatives.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction : This condition occurs when the muscles near the rectum in the lower pelvis don't work properly. It can cause elimination to be difficult even when there are no other causes that should be affecting the bowels.

It is important to speak to your doctor about all of the symptoms associated with your heath and keep track of how long these conditions persist so that they can help gauge what may be wrong.

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