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What causes constipation?

Stomachache, gastric pain

What causes constipation? - Part 2 of 2

<< Major contributing factors for constipation- Part 1 <<

There are numerous data indicating that fiber content in the diet is the main determinant for stool frequency. This is because approximately 80% of the stool is composed of water, and increasing the dietary fiber will result to further retention of water. Increased water content will increase the weight of the stools (some studies indicate that it can increase stool weight from 200 grams to 500 grams!), and therefore, faster stool passage. There are even recent evidence suggesting that a diet that is deficient in carbohydrates and foods with complex sugars such as fruits will most likely result to constipation. This is because a specific amount of dietary carbohydrates and polysaccharides normally proceed undigested towards the colon, where a number of bacteria capable of metabolizing it resides. In the colon, these undigested fecal materials are metabolized to osmotically active substances and invigorating agents, and will therefore assist in defecation. See? Sometimes the answers for prevention lie in the provisions of nature!

Lack of physical exercise is associated with constipation but the exact mechanisms are yet unknown. This is currently a subject under study. A phenomena observed among bedridden patients, there are various speculations as to whether constipation is a direct consequence of sedentary lifestyle, or a consequence of both sedentary lifestyle and low fiber diet.

Obstruction of the colon is the most important thing to rule out in cases of constipation. Every doctor has to be sensitive to patients suffering from constipation, in order to rule out this possibility, since it may call for a medical emergency. A sigmoid carcinoma or colonic carcinoma in general may perhaps cause the obstruction, and this is one of the most prevalent types of cancer and one cause of mortality due to cancer nowadays. Other causes of obstruction may include fecal impaction, abnormal twisting in the colon as in the cases of intussusception or volvulus.

Now that we have known a bit about the causes, let us now start figuring out how to prevent constipation. Take note, some of the answers are just right under our noses!

<< Major contributing factors for constipation- Part 1 <<

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