About constipation, everything you want to know is here – causes of constipation and ways to improve it

Have you ever suffered from constipation? Or do you have a bowel movement only once every two days, and it smells so bad? ! ! ! I think the answer for many people is yes.

constipation situation
constipation situation

The expert Consensus on Chronic Constipation (2019) issued by the Gastrointestinal Dynamics Group of the Gastroenterology Branch of the Chinese Medical Association pointed out that the current prevalence of chronic constipation in adults in China is 4.0% to 10.0% . This means that approximately 50 million adults suffer from constipation, and the prevalence of constipation will continue to increase as age increases. According to statistics, the prevalence of chronic constipation among people over 70 years old reaches 23% .

What is constipation?

“Constipation” as the name suggests means difficulty in defecation. There are two meanings here: First, the frequency of defecation is less . Although the amount of bowel movements each person has each day varies from person to person. But if you have fewer than three bowel movements a week, you may be constipated. Second, if your stool is dry and hard , or it is difficult to pass , or you feel like your stool is not finished every time you have a bowel movement, you may be constipated.

Before we delve into the causes of constipation, we need to first understand it:

How is food digested? (Or how stool is formed)

  1. The food we eat enters the stomach, where it is ground into small particles.
  2. These particles travel to the small intestine, where fats and proteins are broken down by enzymes and then absorbed along with other nutrients.
  3. What’s left (a liquid mixture of fiber, bacteria, undigested fat, and digestive tract mucus) passes into the large intestine. The water in these mixtures is absorbed by the large intestine, forming stronger stools. Feces passes into the rectum at the end of the large intestine, where it becomes firm.
  4. Once the volume of these feces reaches the maximum capacity of the rectum, the brain receives a signal to release the feces. When you prepare to exert force, your abdominal and rectal muscles tense while your sphincter relaxes.

Then, let’s analyze again:

What causes constipation?

There are many factors that can cause constipation. Sometimes it can be caused by diet or lifestyle, or it can be a symptom of other diseases. Here are some of the causes of constipation.

  • lack of fiber in diet

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate, and it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet. It helps you feel full faster and aids digestion. A lack of fiber can lead to constipation. A diet that includes high-fat meats , dairy products , eggs , sweets , or processed foods can cause constipation.

  • Holding stool for a long time

Holding in your stool will make your stool drier because the longer the stool stays in the large intestine, the more water it contains is absorbed by the large intestine. This condition is more common in children, and some children feel embarrassed when using public restrooms. I was immersed in playing games or watching cartoons, so I kept holding in my bowels. In this way, the stool becomes drier (and harder to pass), eventually leading to constipation.

Constipation caused by other diseases

Constipation can also be a symptom of other illnesses. These include: conditions that affect the nerves, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease ; rectal problems , such as rectal fissures (small tears) or hemorrhoids; gastrointestinal conditions , such as celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome; cancer growths (may block intestines); spinal cord and brain damage; diabetes.

  • trip

Traveling can also cause constipation. “You may be sitting still in a car or on a plane or on a train” during long-term travel, and changing time zones when traveling across time zones can also disrupt your bowel habits.

  • drug

Medications you take may also cause constipation. Some medications that may cause constipation include: aluminum- and calcium-containing antacids, anticonvulsants, calcium channel blockers, iron supplements, diuretics, narcotic pain relievers, and antidepressants.

  • Hormone changes in the body

Fluctuations in hormone levels in the body (such as during menstruation or pregnancy) can also affect the gut. During pregnancy, an increase in the hormone progesterone causes the muscles in the intestines to relax, causing food and waste to move more slowly through the gastrointestinal tract. Conversely, menstruation can help relieve constipation. In addition, thyroid disease can also cause constipation.

What does normal stool look like?

If you’re not sure whether you’re constipate, you can make a preliminary judgment by checking your stool quickly. The appearance of your stool can indicate constipation and show signs of other gastrointestinal problems. For example, the color and smell of stool can initially determine whether the intestinal tract is healthy.

  • color

Normal : Stool is brown because dead red blood cells are break down in the intestines.

Abnormal : Red or black, which may indicate blood in your stool. If your stool is dark green to yellowish brown, this may be a sign that there is mucus or bile in your stool. Red or black stool does not always mean bleeding. If you eat red foods (such as cakes or colorful breakfast cereals), this can also cause your stool to be red. In addition, Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate), which is use to treat an upset stomach, iron supplements, or dark-colored foods such as black licorice or blueberries can also turn stools dark.

  • odor

Normal : There is an odor. Bacteria in the gut produce sulfur-containing compounds, which cause odor.

Abnormal : A super strong stench. People whose diets are high in fat are likely to have foul-smelling stools. If the body doesn’t absorb nutrients from food properly, this can also cause a strong odor.

  • shape

Normal: A long sausage shape or snake shape .

What’s Not Normal : If your stools come in soft specks or pieces (rather than a solid shape), you may have diarrhea. A single hard lump may indicate constipation.

  • consistency

Normal : Soft and smooth enough to pass through easily, but still compact.

Not normal: Small, hard particles mean there may not be enough fiber in the food. A pasty or liquid consistency is a sign of diarrhea.

What are the ways to deal with constipation?

The principle of relieving constipation is to increase intestinal peristalsis. Expert advice: Adjusting diet and lifestyle is the best way to improve constipation.

  • Get enough fiber

Fiber cannot be completely break down by the digestive system, so it moves through the intestines relatively quickly, keeping the rest of the food moving through the intestines.

Most adults should consume 22-34 grams of fiber daily. You can try fiber supplements such as Metax or Limonene, or you can add more fiber to your diet. Some of the best sources of fiber are: fruits, vegetables, whole grains

  • add enough water

We need plenty of fluids to remove waste from the body and hydrate the stool to keep it soft. If you don’t drink enough water or fluids, your stools may be harder and harder to pass.

  • stay active

Staying active not only improves brain health, reduces the risk of disease, strengthens bones and muscles, but it can also help relieve symptoms of constipation. Get more exercise: Walking, hiking, jogging, biking, skateboarding, yoga, weightlifting, dancing, ball games (such as tennis, football, hockey or basketball) Everyone’s physical activity level is different. The World Health Organization recommends that most adults aged 18-64 should engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.


About laxatives or supplements that promote bowel movement through diarrhea

Laxatives should not be use long-term. Over-the-counter laxatives can mask the real cause of constipation, whether it’s a poor diet, medication side effects, or even a serious health problem. Repeated use can also disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut.

  • Don’t hold in your bowels

Because holding in your stool will cause the intestines to absorb liquid in the stool, making the stool hard and dry, leading to constipation.

  • Try probiotics

The “good” bacteria in probiotics contribute to healthy gut flora, which improves digestion. One study shows that taking probiotic supplements can help increase bowel movement frequency and soften stools.

  • Don’t use your phone on the toilet

Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time increases pressure in the rectum, and looking at your phone while on the toilet can make you lose track of time, causing bowel movements to take too long. Defecation should be a fairly quick, effortless process.


Constipation can be cause by a lack of fiber, other health conditions, medications, or other causes. If you don’t have bowel movements often, or if your stools are hard, dry, and difficult to pass, you may be constipate.

If your constipation problem cannot be improve through diet and exercise, you need to seek help from your doctor.

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