Common Causes of Constipation

Constipation is not just an inconvenience. If you suffer from continual constipation it could be a sign of a more underlying health problem, such as bowel cancer. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, constipation is caused when stools in the large intestine lose water, become dry and hard, move more slowly and become difficult to pass. There are certain foods that contribute to constipation and not drinking enough water during the day is another factor. Not eating enough fibre in your diet will also make you constipated and some drugs can have an effect on your bowel movements as well. Here are the foods we recommend you avoid if you are constipated:


According to eMedTv, one of the most common foods that causes constipation is dairy foods. This is because dairy food is high in fat and tends to stay in the gut for longer, it is low in fibre and as it is the fibre in foods that is not digested it is this that helps to facilitate bowel movements. If a food stuff stays for too long in the intestine it becomes hard and dry and then difficult to shift. Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, ice cream and butter are low in fiber and can contribute to constipation, according to American Chronicle.


Most red and processed meat has very little dietary fibre in it and as such, can seriously increase risk of colon cancer, according to a study in the Oncology Times. Research conducted by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University School of Public Health and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2005) showed that dietary fiber intake is inversely associated with risk of colorectal cancer. This means that the more fibre you eat, the less likely you are to be at risk from colorectal cancer. Meat also tends to sit in the large intestine for longer, increasing the chances of you becoming constipated.

Junk Foods

It is well documented that junk food is among the unhealthiest types of foods that can cause constipation, according to American Chronicle. Most junk food has little or no dietary fibre in them and therefore will increase the risk of you becoming constipated. These foods also tend to be high in fats and sugars and a study lead by K. Murakami, published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (2007) found that confections and bread are positively associated with constipation. Moreover, Healthcastle Nutrition says refined foods such as white bread, bagels, buns, English muffins, white rice and pasta are typically low in fibre, and as such will make you more prone to becoming constipated.

To decrease the risk of becoming constipated you should try and eat your regular 5 a day fruit and vegetables, drink plenty of water and stay away from too much dairy, processed and red meats. Make sure you include a lot of dietary fibre in what you eat such as granary breads, cereals, seeds, fruits and nuts.

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