Constipation: symptoms and causes - THDLAB - CO UK


  • What is constipation
  • Constipation: symptoms
  • Constipation: causes

What is constipation

Constipation is not an actual disease, but rather the symptom of intestinal disorders. The term constipation, sometimes called irregularity, refers to a slowing down of the intestinal transit time and to an irregularity in defecation.

These irregularities may affect:

  • the quantity of faeces produced
  • the stool consistency
  • a difficulty during evacuation
  • a feeling of incomplete evacuation

Constipation: symptoms

From a medical point of view, we talk about constipation when a person has suffered from at least two of the following symptoms for at least 3 months, even if not consecutive:

  • difficulty in evacuating and excessive stress during defecation
  • less than two weekly evacuations
  • feeling of incomplete emptying or of anorectal obstruction
  • hard faeces, goat faeces or ribbon-like faeces
  • possibility of evacuating only by manual emptying

Constipation: causes

The causes of constipation can be multiple. Among these causes we find endocrine diseases, medicines, anorectal and intestinal diseases, neurological diseases, inadequate lifestyle, pregnancy.

  • Endocrine disorders
    Diseases of the endocrine system such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and some tumours of the endocrine system can cause constipation.
  • Medicinal products
    Some medicines, such as antidepressants, opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can adversely affect bowel function causing chronic or occasional constipation.
  • Anorectal and intestinal disorders
    Haemorrhoids, anal fissures, diverticulitis, chronic colitis and rectal prolapse are diseases which can often cause the onset of constipation.
  • Neurological diseases
    Severe diseases such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries may be an underlying cause of constipation.
  • Inadequate lifestyle
    In the absence of actual diseases, constipation can be caused by an incorrect lifestyle. Poor fibre intake, low water intake, excessive sedentary life and high levels of stress are among the factors which appear to play a part in the onset of constipation with hard stools which are difficult to evacuate.
  • Pregnancy
    Due to the hormonal changes it causes in the body, pregnancy can also lead to the development of constipation.

To deal effectively with constipation it is necessary to understand the underlying causes of the disorder. For this reason it is important to contact your doctor or pharmacist who will indicate the most appropriate therapy.