Constipation is the most common condition faced by many people. It makes life miserable as it makes you feel bloated, irritable and have a severe headache.

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Chronic constipation is a condition in which no matter how long you sit for a bowel movement the stool would not pass. There can also be infrequent, hard, formed, or small stool. Constipation associated with bleeding and weight loss within a couple of days could be a sign of colon cancer.

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Most of us are aware that a lack of dietary fibers can lead to constipation. But there are some lesser-known factors which threaten the regularity of the bowel. The list is wide ranging from pregnancy to the side effects of anti-depression medications.

12 Often Missed Causes Of Chronic Constipation

  1. Hypothyroidism: Thyroid affects the organs all over the body which includes bowel. If the condition is detected, which is often given a miss by the gastroenterologist, you can be treated and relieved from the condition. A study also shows that hypothyroidism is a rare cause of constipation.(1)
  2. Hyperparathyroidism: Parathyroid gland is located near to the thyroid gland. Hyperparathyroidism is a less common factor leading to an irregularity of the bowel when compared with hypothyroidism. It leads to hypercalcemia and can cause constipation.(2) Treatment of which can help bring in relief from constipation.
  3. Painkillers: Prescription painkillers such as Opioids can lead to constipation. It is generally prescribed after surgery can prove to be an obstacle to the quality of life. Research shows opioid-induced constipation affects 40%-60% of patients receiving opioids.(3) Taking different pain medication or adding a laxative can help in easing the bowel irregularity.
  4. Laxatives: Doctors prescribe a laxative to give relief from constipation which leads to tolerance build-up when taken regularly. Missing on the laxative the person misses a bowel movement as well. Some laxatives such as milk of magnesia and polyethylene glycol do not affect the tolerance and therefore can be a better bet.
  5. Antidepressants: Antidepressants such as tricyclics can interfere with the transmission of nerves that stimulate the bowel to move and lead to constipation. In modern SSRI antidepressants, constipation is a less common still a possible side effect.
  6. Antacids: If you suffer from heartburn you are advised antacid. They relieve the heartburn but some antacid such as those containing aluminum cause constipation.(4) Try and change the medication but before that make sure you read the ingredient list. If the antacid intake is very regular, consult a doctor and get tested for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  7. Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD): Though diarrhea is the most common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. About 15% to 25% of people suffering from IBD suffer from constipation.(5) It is seen in those with Crohn’s disease which affects the small bowel.
  8. Pregnancy: Constipation during pregnancy is very common. In starting of pregnancy it occurs due to the change in hormones and later pregnancy gets affected due to the pressure put on the organ by the growing baby. Never strain for a stool at this time as it can lead to other problems. Also, take medicine only after consulting your gynecologist.
  9. High Blood Pressure Medicine: Amlodipine present in the high blood pressure drugs prescribed by most physician lead to constipation.(6) Also, diuretics used in the treatment acts on salt in the body to control the fluid level. This dehydrates the body and also steals away moisture from the stool making them hard. The best solution can be changing the medication or adding a laxative.
  10. Diabetes: A study done to find the relation between diabetes and constipation revealed an increase in the frequency of constipation in the people suffering from diabetes compared to the other population.(7) It can be due to the nerve inflammation which comes along with being a diabetic. It is therefore important to keep the sugar level under control.
  11. Supplements: Calcium and iron supplements are known to cause constipation. If really deficient talk to your doctor on the better ways to supplement it. It can also be done through the diet.
  12. Heavy Metal Poisoning: Constipation due to lead poisoning can be a factor which is often missed off by the doctors. Heavy metal poisoning can lead to nerve damage which can affect the bowel function and lead to constipation.

There are many lesser-known constipation causing factors, knowledge of which can help you get rid of those long washroom sittings.

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: August 7, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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