Constipation Meaning

The term “constipation” is derived from the Latin word “constipare”, which means to crowd and press together. Constipation refers to a condition whereby the bowels movements become partial or sporadic. Other words used to describe the condition are irregularity and costiveness.

Being a problem that affects the digestive system, the patient expels rock-solid feces. In many cases, it is even hard to expel the feces because most of the water present in the ingested food is absorbed into the body.

Due to the slow movement of food in the digestive tract, the water content is absorbed in the food, making the resultant feces very hard. As a result, the feces are also dry. Defecation often causes a lot of discomfort.

And in many severe cases, an individual can suffer from obstruction of the bowels. Severe constipation makes it difficult for the sufferer to pass feces as well as gas and this condition is known as obstipation.

Cause of constipation

Constipation occurs as a result of absorption of excessive amounts of water in the food by the colon. In case the colon muscles contract gradually or weakly, constipation can also occur if the stool is pushed slowly, making it to lose excessive amounts of water on the way.

Below is some of the most prevalent cause of constipation:

Lack of enough amounts of fiber content in the diet. It is commonly believed that individuals who take diets having a good amount of fiber content are greatly less probable to experience constipation.

Diets that have reduced fiber content nut with high fat content are most likely to cause constipation especially if taken in wrong proportions. Such foods include eggs, meat and cheese. In case you eat them, be sure that you also include whole grains, fruits and vegetables so as to boast the amount of fiber in your diet.

Fiber can be classified into two major categories: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber will disintegrate in water whereas the insoluble won’t. It is not possible to digest fiber. But the soluble fiber type can be changes as it moves via the digestive tract. Such fiber content absorbs some amounts of water, hence becoming gummy. On the other hand, the insoluble fiber type doesn’t get changed while it moves via the digestive tract.

Fairly easily, fiber boosts the movement if the bowels and this can help to prevent the occurrence of constipation. Nonetheless, research has shown that fiber content in food doesn’t help that much as far as managing constipation goes. However, it is appropriate as a preventive measure.

Lack of enough physical exercises. In case a person is mainly inactive, as is the case with many elderly people, chances of constipation happening are quite high and additional physical activity can help avoid constipation.

It is generally accepted that if a person just relaxes for a long period of time, probably for a number of days, then the threat of experiencing constipation increases significantly. The explanation for that has not yet been agreed.

However, some experts assume that physical exercises helps to maintain a high rate of metabolism, which ensures that the body functions are carried out faster. Elderly individuals tend to stay inactive lifestyles as compared to young people. This put them at a higher threat for the occurrence of constipation.


At some point in pregnancy, there are many hormonal adjustments that make someone more prone to constipation. In addition, the uterus can push the intestines, making the fluid to flow slowly.

There are a number of other known causes of constipation but the situation can be managed in case it is detected.

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