6 Possible Reasons You’re Constipated and What to Do About It

6 Possible Reasons You’re Constipated and What to Do About It

Having fewer bowel movements than usual or having a hard stool that’s difficult or painful to pass are signs of constipation. Many people experience this uncomfortable symptom, but the underlying cause can vary. 

At Legacy Pain and Regenerative Medicine, our chiropractic physician and family nurse practitioner, Dr. Trace Alexander, manages a wide range of health concerns, including constipation. 

Here, we want to share some of the common causes of constipation and what you can do about it.

1. Change in your routine

Have you ever noticed that you tend to go to the bathroom at the same time every 

day? This is common and a sign of a healthy digestive system. Your bowel likes routine.

Any change in your usual routine, like when you travel or deviate from your usual eating schedule, can affect the regularity of your bowel habits. Though you can’t avoid all changes in your routine, try to keep your bathroom visits regular to stay regular. 

But don’t force your bowel movements. Trying to go when you don’t actually have to may lead to other problems like hemorrhoids. 

2. Not eating enough fiber

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. It adds bulk to stool and helps move food waste through your large intestine, making it easier to pass. Not eating enough fiber is a common cause of constipation.

Adding fiber-rich foods can improve your bowel habits. But go slow when upping the fiber. Getting too much fiber too fast may worsen your constipation. 

You can also try prunes and flaxseeds, which have fiber and a natural laxative.

3. Not drinking enough water

It doesn’t take much to get dehydrated. If you’re thirsty, you’re mildly dehydrated. If you’re not drinking enough fluids, your body may withdraw more fluid from your large intestine, making your stool harder and drier. 

Drinking the right amount of fluids helps keep stool moist and soft and may alleviate or prevent constipation. Fluid needs vary, so talk to your doctor to find out how much water you should drink each day. Most people need about 11 to 16 cups of fluid from food and drinks.

4. Living a sedentary lifestyle

Inactivity is a common cause of constipation. Regular exercise improves bowel function by speeding up the movement of food waste through the digestive tract. 

The large intestine continuously removes water from food waste as it makes its way towards the exit. The longer it takes for waste to move through, the more water it removes, leading to dry, hard, difficult-to-pass stool.

If you live a sedentary lifestyle and constipation is a problem, add some activity. A daily 30-minute walk can make a huge difference. 

5. Medications

Medications are also a common cause of constipation, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Talk to your pharmacist or prescribing doctor about how your medications may affect bowel health and ask about alternatives.

However, if you can’t change your medications, any of the lifestyle changes mentioned above may help your constipation.

6. Underlying medical condition

Medical conditions that affect the digestive system, nervous system, or metabolism may affect bowel regularity, causing constipation. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes are examples of medical conditions that can cause constipation.

Lifestyle changes and stool softeners may help improve constipation caused by a medical condition.

If constipation is a recurring problem in your life and you can’t pinpoint the cause, we can provide the answers you need. We can also help with your nutrition and physical activity. 

Call the office most convenient to you — either in Plano or Addison, Texas — to schedule a consultation today with our health and nutrition expert.

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