Chronic Constipation: What Your Gut Is Trying to Tell You

What your gut is trying to tell you

It’s not just a matter of feeling bloated or having diarrhea; it’s actually a complex set of symptoms that may include the following:

1) An increase in gas production (gassy bowel movements).

2) A decrease in stool frequency.

3) Increased pain during defecation.

4) Difficulty passing stools due to abdominal distention and discomfort.

5) Frequent trips to the bathroom.

6) Decreased bowel habit retention time.

7) An inability to pass stools without assistance.

8) Painful urination.

What causes chronic constipation?

There are several possible causes of your condition.

1) A decrease in the frequency of bowel movements (stool retention).

2) An inability to move stool through the large intestine (ileum) to the rectum.

3) A decrease or cessation in the urge to pass stools (anal incompetency).

4) Hormonal changes, such as during and after pregnancy, or the onset of menopause.

5) Lack of exercise and physical inactivity.

6) Certain foods, such as bran, beans, cabbage, dairy, and wheat.

7) Medications such as calcium-channel blockers, certain antidepressants (SSRIs), anti-seizure drugs, and narcotics.

8) Not drinking enough water or other liquids.

9) Poor diet lacking in fiber (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables).

Sources & references used in this article:

Biofeedback provides long term benefit for patients with intractable, slow and normal transit constipation by E Chiotakakou-Faliakou, MA Kamm, AJ Roy, JB Storrie… – Gut, 1998 – gut.bmj.com

Chronic constipation by A Lembo, M Camilleri – New England Journal of Medicine, 2003 – Mass Medical Soc

Symptoms and physiology in severe chronic constipation by H Mertz, B Naliboff, EA Mayer – The American journal of gastroenterology, 1999 – Elsevier

Gut Instinct: What Your Stomach is Trying to Tell You by P Pallardy – 2006 – books.google.com

Polyethylene glycol 3350 plus electrolytes for chronic constipation in children: a double blind, placebo controlled, crossover study by MA Thomson, HR Jenkins, WM Bisset… – Archives of disease in …, 2007 – adc.bmj.com

Do stool form and frequency correlate with whole-gut and colonic transit? Results from a multicenter study in constipated individuals and healthy controls by RJ Saad, SSC Rao, KL Koch, B Kuo… – American journal of …, 2010 – journals.lww.com

Recent advances in chronic constipation by R Walia, L Mahajan, R Steffen – Current opinion in pediatrics, 2009 – journals.lww.com

Sacral nerve stimulation for intractable constipation by MA Kamm, TC Dudding, J Melenhorst, M Jarrett… – Gut, 2010 – gut.bmj.com