In view of the fact that about 2 million annual doctor visits in the U.S. are due to constipation, according to the Wrong Diagnosis.com website, many wonder about the causes of chronic constipation. Constipation occurs in the large intestine, or colon. Food travels from your stomach to the small intestine and into the large intestine. As the muscles in your colon contract, the contractions push the bowels toward the rectum to be eliminated. The colon can serve as a retention place for the bowels for about 24 hours; however, if the bowels remain in the colon longer than 24 hours, toxins start to form and you might feel discomfort. If the problem persists, the constipation becomes chronic. Knowing what causes this digestive disorder can help you find constipation relief.
Chronic Constipation and Insufficient Water Intake
Unless you suffer from kidney or heart failure failure, it’s important to drink the recommended 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. Sufficient water is the first recommendation when it comes to natural constipation treatments. Lack of water will cause your stools to become dry, and you will likely experience difficulty evacuating. Your liver also needs water to function efficiently and aid in digesting the food. You can experience chronic constipation even if you include sufficient fiber in your diet. The lack of fluids will cause the fiber to expand in your intestines, but won’t pass through to the rectum to be eliminated.
Chronic Constipation and a Low-Fiber Diet
Fiber works much like a broom. It sweeps the waste out of your intestine. Without fiber, your stools will be infrequent or you may have poor stools. The American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily.
Processed and fast food generally account for a low-fiber diet. To ensure you include enough fiber in your diet, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables as often as possible. Beans are good choices, as they are high in fiber. Choosing brown rice and whole grain breads will also help you eliminate one of the reasons for chronic constipation, a low fiber diet.
Chronic Constipation and Stress
Stress can cause the muscles in your intestines to tense up. Instead of contracting and relaxing to push your bowels through the large intestine, your muscles stay in a contracted state. Chronic stress also affects the digestion in your stomach, which can also lead to constipation.
Chronic Constipation and Laxative Abuse
Another cause of chronic constipation is the abuse of laxatives, as they are often habit forming. The body can become dependent on the laxatives. You may not be able to have a bowel movement without taking laxatives, or you may need to increase the dosage.
Chronic Constipation and Prescribed Medications
Patients who take prescription medications often experience constipation. If you suffer from chronic constipation, inquire from your doctor whether it’s a side effect of your medication. You can also ask the pharmacist about the medication's side effects.
Chronic Constipation and Health Disorders
If despite including enough fiber in your diet and drinking sufficient water, you still experience symptoms of chronic constipation, consult your doctor. Various health disorders such as lupus, hypothyroidism, spinal cord injuries and obstructions in the large intestine can cause chronic constipation.
Chronic Constipation and Magnesium Deficiency
Calcium causes muscles to contract, while magnesium helps the muscle to relax. Therefore, a magnesium deficiency can prevent the muscles in the intestine from relaxing. If the muscles don’t contract and relax, the bowels don’t move.
Overall, drinking water, adding fiber to your diet and managing stress are the simplest ways to eliminate some of the common causes of chronic constipation. If you continue to experience the disorder, consider the side effects of any medications you may be taking. Consult your health care advisor if you rule out the most common causes.
Copyright © 2011 Ana Jackson. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part constitutes plagiarism, is illegal and strictly prohibited.
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