As food moves through the colon it absorbs water while forming waste. Muscle contractions in the colon push food towards the rectum. By the time the waste reaches the rectum it is hard because it has lost most of its moisture. Constipation is started when the colon absorbs to much water. Or if the colons muscle contractions are slow or sluggish. Some common causes of Constipation are, not enough fiber. Not enough liquids, lack of exercise, Medication, pregnancy, old age,Abuse of laxatives, Stroke or ignoring urge to have bowel movement.
The most common cause of constipation is low a low fiber diet. People who eat lots of fiber have a smaller chance of getting constipation. Average Americans eat 5 to 14 grams of fiver a day and were supposed to eat 20 to 35 grams a day. Liquids like water and juice add to bowel movements and make them softer and easier to pass. People who have problems with constipation should drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of liquid each day. Liquids which contain caffeine have a dehydrating affect.
Lack of exercise can cause constipation although doctors have not figured out why yet. An example of this is often after people are in an accident they have to lay in a bed and cannot exercise, many times when that happens constipation occurs.
Some medicines can cause constipations. They include Pain Medications, Antacids that contain aluminum and calcium, blood pressure medication, iron supplements, and many more.
Some people with I.B.S or (Irritable bowel syndrome) have spasms in the colon that affect bowel movements. Constipation and diarrhea often come with symptoms such as abdominal cramping, gassiness, and bloating. Although I.B.S is often a lifelong condition it is not life threatening. It is often worsened by stress but doctors see no specific reason why.
During pregnancy women often become constipated. Aging may also cause constipation because of a slower metabolism. Many people become constipated when traveling because there normal diet and daily routines are changed.