12 Surprising Causes of Constipation
A common problem
What causes constipation? Well, the obvious culprits include a low fiber diet, repeatedly ignoring the urge to go, not drinking enough water, or a lack of exercise. But constipation also has other, less-well-known causes, here are 13 possible causes of constipation you may not have considered.
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, slows the body’s metabolic processes—even the gut. Not everyone with an underactive thyroid has constipation, nor do all cases of constipation mean that the butterfly-shaped gland in your neck is underperforming.
Painkillers, specifically narcotics, can cause constipation.
A lot of receptors for the narcotic class of drugs are in the digestive tract, so it tends to bring everything to a halt, In general, it’s a good idea for everyone who’s placed on one of these drugs to also place them on a gentle laxative like a stool softener.
There’s some evidence that chocolate can cause constipation, though other studies show chocolate may actually help some people。 Eliminate or cut back on chocolate if you think it could be causing your constipation.
Vitamins in general won’t cause constipation, but certain components, such as calcium and iron, can be a problem.
Some laxatives work by stimulating bowel activity. Such stimulant laxatives should be taken only as directed. If used for long periods of time, stimulant laxatives can lead to dependence, meaning your body simply won’t function properly without them. Don’t take any medication—including laxatives—for longer than instructed by either the product’s label or your doctor.
Too much dairy
A diet high in cheese and other low-fiber/high-fat foods such as eggs and meat can slow down your digestion. The obvious solution? Cut down on your intake of such foods, and increase fiber intake to 20 to 35 grams a day. And avoid fast foods and processed foods, which are generally low in fiber.
Constipation can be associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants such as Prozac (fluoxetine). If you’re taking an antidepressant and have this side effect, think about using a gentle stool softener.
Ironically, the very condition that antidepressants are meant to treat—depression—can also cause constipation. Like hypothyroidism, depression causes a general slowdown of the body’s normal processes, which can also affect the bowel. People with irritable bowel syndrome, which can be closely linked to depression, are also prone to constipation.
Blood pressure and allergy meds
Constipation can be a side effect of some common drugs used to treat high blood pressure, such as calcium channel blockers and diuretics. Diuretics, for instance, lower blood pressure by increasing urine output, which flushes water from your system. However, water is needed to keep stools soft and get them out of the body. Antihistamines used to treat allergy symptoms can be a problem too
Constipation is common during pregnancy, but childbirth itself can be a problem, possibly due to sluggish abdominal muscles or perhaps the use of pain relievers or an anesthetic during the delivery. Also, there may be some perineal soreness right after the delivery, so the fear of causing more discomfort may be an important factor in the constipation. Although stretch injuries during childbirth can sometimes cause nerve damage that leads to constipation, this is less common.
Diabetes and neurological conditions
Diabetes can cause nerve damage that can affect a person’s ability to digest food, Most people with advanced diabetes know they have it. Still, it’s reasonable to do a blood sugar test on someone who is regularly constipated.
Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease can cause constipation. Usually, though, this goes with another symptom such as trouble urinating, double vision, or a gait problem.