What are the types, causes and symptoms of Constipation?

Constipation may be defined as less than 3 motions per week or it is a condition in which a person has difficulty passing bowel movements. The stool may be hard and dry, or it may be difficult and painful to pass.

An accurate meaning is related to personal habits, since the frequency of bowel movements varies among individuals. For some people, daily bowel elimination is quite normal, in some other equally healthy persons, elimination occurs every second or third day.

In these cases, insufficient emptying of the bowel may lead to headache, coated tongue, foul breath, loss of appetite and malaise (feeling discomfort or illness). All these symptoms are reduced after sufficient evacuation is happened.

Constipation is often caused by lifestyle habits such as not drinking enough water, not eating enough fiber, and not exercising. It can also be caused by certain medications and certain health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Types of constipation

There are mainly two types of constipation as follow:

  • Atonic constipation: This is the most common type of constipation, where the intestinal walls lack muscular tone, so that peristatic action is impaired. Here, the food mass cannot move normally, so the stagnation in colon develops bacteria. This bacterial actions or products leads to have some of the symptoms which results constipation.
    • Causes: Eating less bulk foods, drinking insufficient fluids, poor personal hygiene, chronic illness, pregnancy, lack of exercises or excessive use of enemas.
  • Spastic constipation: It is caused by irritation of the intestinal mucosa which is characterized by abdominal cramping, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. It is referred as Irregular Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It is most commonly seen in highly tensed and nervous people.
    • Causes: Excessive use of alcohol, spices, coffee, tea, bran and laxatives.

What causes constipation?

Constipation is when the stool in the large intestine becomes hard and dry. This can happen because there’s not enough water in the stool, or it’s too difficult to push out.

The most common causes of constipation are:

  • Inadequate diet
  • Use of highly refined and concentrated food
  • Lack of fiber in diet
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Lack of exercise
  • Medications for other health conditions
  • A trip away from home
  • Chronic use of laxatives
  • Ingestion of drugs
  • Pregnancy

When constipation is due to low intake of dietary fibre, there is often pain in the left side of the abdomen and feaces may be passed on hard pellets. When the passage of feaces occurred, pain get reduced. Whenever the sign of defaecate has been ignored many times, feaces get accumulated in the decending colon, then the fluid contents of colon may run down the side of the mass and cause diarrhoea.

Faecal output range per day ranges from 75 to 200 grams of which 50 to 75 grams is water.

What are the Medications that can cause constipation?

Constipation is a common problem that can be caused by many different medications. Some of these medications include laxatives, anti-diarrheal medications, pain relievers, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.

The most common type of medication that causes constipation is narcotic pain relievers. This type of medication can work by slowing down the bowel movement or stopping it all together.

What are the symptoms of constipation?

Constipation is the passage of dry, hard stool that may be difficult to pass.

The symptoms of constipation may include:

  • A feeling of incomplete bowel movement
  • Hard, dry stool
  • Pain or aching in the lower abdomen or rectum
  • Feeling bloated
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urgency to have a bowel movement but being unsuccessful

How does constipation happen?

Constipation is a common problem that causes people to feel bloated and uncomfortable.

Constipation happens when you don’t have enough water in your body or when the muscles in your intestines are not working well. It can also happen if you don’t eat enough fiber, which is found in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

Constipation is a condition that occurs when there is difficulty in passing stool.

The frequency of constipation varies from person to person. It may be caused by different factors such as diet, lifestyle, stress levels, medication, etc.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, constipation affects about 11% of people in the United States.

Can I Prevent Constipation?

Constipation is a common problem in adults. It happens when food and waste stay in the digestive system for too long, which makes it hard to have a bowel movement. This can lead to straining, discomfort, bloating and painful abdominal cramps.

There are many things that can cause constipation such as diet, lifestyle habits and medications. You can prevent constipation by eating healthily and drinking plenty of fluids, staying active and managing stress levels.

  1. Eat well balanced
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Drink 2 quarts of water
  4. Limit dairy products

What Should I Do If I Am Constipated?

First, drink plenty of fluids. You may need to drink more than usual to help soften stool and keep it from getting hard. Try warm liquids, especially in the morning.

Second, add fiber to your diet. Fiber can help move food through your intestines and give you a sense of fullness faster. You can get fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables or supplements like psyllium husks or methylcellulose that turn into fiber when they reach the intestines.

Third, try taking a natural supplement like magnesium citrate, Senna leaf extract (sennosides), cascara Sagrada bark extract (cascara), or Bisacodyl.


Constipation is a condition where bowel movements are difficult to pass or occur less than three times per week. The causes of constipation can vary from person to person. Some common causes are stress, diet change, lack of fluids, and hormonal changes. There are many ways to treat constipation including taking laxatives, drinking more fluids, and exercising.