What is Constipation?
Constipation refers to a condition characterized by infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools. It is a common digestive issue that affects people of all ages. While the normal frequency of bowel movements varies among individuals, having fewer than three bowel movements per week, experiencing hard or dry stools, and struggling to pass stools can be indicative of constipation.
Causes of Constipation:
- Insufficient Fluid Intake: Not drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration, resulting in hardening of the stool and difficulty passing it.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle can slow down the digestive system, leading to constipation.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as opioids, antidepressants, and antacids, can cause constipation as a side effect.
- Medical Conditions: Various medical conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hypothyroidism, diabetes, and neurological disorders, can contribute to constipation.
- Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect bowel movements and lead to constipation.
Symptoms of Constipation:
- Infrequent bowel movements (fewer than three times per week)
- Difficulty passing stools or straining during bowel movements
- Hard, dry, or lumpy stools
- Feeling of incomplete bowel movements
- Abdominal bloating or discomfort
- Rectal pain or discomfort
- Experiencing a sense of urgency but unable to pass stools