Chronic constipation is a common health issue that has a variety of causes. It is estimated that up to 63 million people in North America live with chronic constipation.[i] Constipation most commonly occurs when stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract or cannot be eliminated effectively from the rectum.
If left untreated, constipation could lead to complications such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fecal impaction, diverticulitis, or bowel incontinence. If any of these risk factors apply to you, take extra caution in monitoring your bowel movements.
A common cause of constipation is dehydration. When a person experiences dehydration, their intestines cannot add the proper amount of water to stools, which can cause a lack of stool production.
Hormonal imbalances or changes play a role in constipation by throwing off the balance of fluids in the body. Women experience constipation more often than men due to hormonal changes from menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Other causes of hormonal imbalances that can cause constipation include diabetes, thyroid issues, medications and medical treatments that disrupt the hormonal balance.
In people with chronic constipation, it is vital to maintain a healthy balance of water, fiber, and nutrients in the body for proper digestive functionality. Diets lacking enough fiber can interfere with the digestive system and the movement of stools. Fiber is a plant-based nutrient that is important for digestive health and regulates the proper passing of stools through the intestines. It is recommended to maintain a high-fiber diet and stay properly hydrated to maintain a healthy and flowing digestive system.
Blockages in the colon or rectum are another way the body can become constipated. These blockages can include anal fissures, an obstruction or blockage of the bowel, or cancers such as colon or rectal cancer. Keep an eye out for these conditions, as they could be causing your constipation.
Nerve and neurological damage can affect the nerves that allow muscles in the colon and rectum to contract and move stool through the intestines. Some of these neurological conditions include spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and strokes.
It is always important to be aware of your body’s digestive functionality and the potential for constipation. If you or a loved one experience chronic constipation, consider a clinical trial with Preferred Research Partners in Little Rock, Arkansas. Sign up to learn more!