Lesser known Reasons for Constipation – Common to All City Dwellers

A lot of my clients – be it office goers, house wives, young or middle aged, diabetic or therapeutic – seek advise on reasons for their constipation, feeling clogged up and heaviness in stomach and how to manage such frustrating conditions..

Lets today discuss the reasons for Constipation (a few might sound surprising) in our todays’ lifestyle and eating habits.

Firstly, Constipation is a common digestive complaint that affects one in five Indian residing in cities over 30. For most people, it involves hard, infrequent bowel motions that are difficult or painful to pass, abdominal bloating and cramps.

Inadequate fibre in diet, dehydration and a lack of exercise are common culprits, but there are some lesser-known but very crucial causes also. A few are –


Frequent official travel trips or even vacations can wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal health. Your bowel motions follow their own 24-hourly rhythm but when you travel, particularly across time zones, bathroom routine is thrown off and your risk of constipation increases. Feeling dehydrated from air travel, holding-on during long car trips and avoiding public restrooms when you need to go make stools harder to pass. Travellers’ constipation is also triggered by a change in diet – especially when you eat out of your daily food routine. Overeating, drinking more than usual and having limited access to fibre-rich foods can contribute to your constipation. Hence, to stay bowel happy… eating high-fibre cereal, fruit and veggies whenever possible is recommended.


Working irregular hours can have the same effect as travelling. Many people working under shifts – particularly those who have a rotating schedule between day and night are at a higher risk of developing constipation. Your body’s internal clock encourages you to have a bowel movement within the first six hours of your day but shift work disrupts this rhythm. Caffeine and high-fat foods can aggravate the condition, so it’s best to avoid them if your usual bathroom routine is upset


If you’re taking strong painkillers, constipation is a probable consequence. Infrequent bowel motions and bloating are side effects of many analgesics. The best strategy is to address this side effect with your doctor before you begin taking any pain medication. Also, discussing your current bowel movements will help your doctor recommend a laxative medicine that’s right for you.


Some supplements that contain iron or calcium cause constipation. Many so-called fitness capsules have very high doses, which could possibly have an effect on the muscles in your bowel, leading to constipation.


Low thyroid hormone production, or hypothyroidism, is often accompanied by constipation. This condition is common in women but can go undetected. When you have an underactive thyroid, many of your body’s functions slow down, including the muscular activity in your bowel. The muscles along your digestive tract that help move stools through your intestine weaken, causing them to move too slowly. So, if you have constipation and you’re constantly tired or you lack vitality get your thyroid function tested, for sure.


Stress, anxiety and depression can cause constipation because the neurotransmitters that play a role in your mental health are also affected by your gut. Also taking anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication will almost certainly cause constipation. That’s because these drugs also affect the neurotransmitters connected to your digestive system. So meditation, yoga or other forms of relaxation might help reduce the stress.

If the above are ruled out, there may be reasons including – High Diabetes, Fibroids or even a herpes infection.

In my next articles, I will discuss easy home remedies for treating Constipation…

Shivani Sikri @ Nutri4Verve

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