Constipation can be a miserable problem for children or adults, but a lot of people are not aware of what causes constipation. Constipation can range from difficult, painful bowel movements to completely blocked bowel movements, which must be treated with a variety of uncomfortable methods. Constipation can be an isolated event, or can be a chronic problem. It is an embarrassing and private topic for most people, but there is no need to suffer constantly. There are several causes of constipation which can be avoided by making simple changes in lifestyle.
A big factor of what causes constipation is an inadequate intake of water and other fluids in the diet. Experts recommend that we drink a minimum of eight full glasses of water daily, in addition to the other liquids that we consume. Most people fall short on this requirement. Lack of water in the diet immediately affects bowel function. A loss of water causes the stool to be dry and difficult to pass through the colon. This leads to much discomfort and distress. This is a major cause of constipation in the elderly, and can lead to a serious problem called fecal impaction.
Poor dietary choices and habits can also cause constipation. In order for our digestive systems to work properly, dietary fiber is required. We must eat several servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains daily. These foods give the body the necessary fiber content for healthy stool passage. Heavily processed, fatty, fried foods are a leading cause of constipation. They simply cannot move through the body as easily as healthier foods.
Lack of sufficient exercise is also a cause of constipation. The body requires movement to stay healthy in every way. The gastrointestinal tract is no exception. Regular exercise and activity helps the body to properly process the food we eat, and increases the rate at which the stool is formed and moved out of the body.
Finally, maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to prevent constipation. Excess weight can cause constipation by pressing on the stomach and intestinal tract and slowing the passage of food through the body. This is the reason that pregnant women often experience problems with constipation, due to the pressure of the developing baby and uterus on the GI tract.