Constipation & causes of constipation

Constipation Constipation can be defined as infrequent or hard pellet stools, or difficulty in evacuating stool. Passing one or more soft, bulky stools every day is a desirable goal. While troublesome, constipation is not usually a serious disorder. However, there may be other underlying problems causing constipation and, therefore, testing is often recommended.

Causes of Constipation:
The stomach churns and mixes food so it can be digested. The near-liquid food then enters the small intestine which extracts calories, minerals and vitamins. The small intestine ends in the right-lower abdomen where it enters the colon. The colon, or large bowel, is 5 to 6 feet long. Its function is to withdraw water from the liquid stool, so that by the time it reaches the rectum there is a soft formed stool. If an excessive amount of water is extracted, the stool can become hard and difficult to expel.

Constipation is often caused by a lazy colon that does not contract properly and fails to move the stool to the rectum. The colon also can become spastic and remain contracted for a prolonged time. In this case, stool cannot move along. Too much water is absorbed and hard pellet-like stool develops. Constipation also can result from a mechanical obstruction, such as tumors or advanced diverticulosis, a disorder which can distort and narrow the lower-left colon. Other conditions that can produce a sluggish, poorly contracting bowel include: pregnancy, anal fissures and hemorrhoids, certain drugs, thyroid hormone deficiency, the abuse of laxatives, travel, and stress.



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