8 surprising causes of constipation… and how to cure it 37



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Some people believe constipation is just a natural part of ageing, but it isn’t. In fact, constipation is not a good sign at any age, and can mean you are lacking in certain necessary nutrients.

If you aren’t sure why you’re constipated, there are some interesting lesser-known causes you mightn’t have considered.

Here’s what to look out for, and how to relieve that backed-up feeling.

1. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, slows the body’s metabolic processes so much so that it’s been found to cause constipation in many people. With that said, not everyone with an underactive thyroid has constipation, nor do all cases of constipation mean that your thyroid is underperforming however it is something to be looked into if there are no other probable causes.

2. Too much dairy

Too much of one thing is never good, and if you’re eating dairy constantly, this could be backing you up. Some women think consuming more dairy will strengthen their bones however we don’t need to overdo it.

3. Painkillers

Painkillers often cause constipation, because they pass the digestive tract and slow down all function in this area of the body. Some studies suggest that chronic users of pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen might be a higher risk of constipation. Simply ask your doctor for a light laxative if you must take painkillers.

4. Depression 

As depression causes a general slowdown of the body’s normal processes, it can also affect the bowel. As a double blow, antidepressants can also cause constipation. See your doctor for an alternative or if you are concerned.

5. Blood pressure medication

It’s a theme but it’s true: a lot of medications that are meant to alleviate one ailment may cause constipation. If you’re taking calcium channel blockers or diuretics to lower blood pressure, it could be dehydrating your body, resulting in constipation.

6. Bananas

The less ripe a banana is, the more it will cause constipation, so ensure any you eat are well ripened.

7. Frozen dinners
Frozen dinners are so convenient but often the lack of fibre, high fat content and preservatives can equal a backed-up gut. Opt for fresh veges and meat – some companies sell fresh products that can be put in the fridge, if you really are pressed for time.

8. Antacids

If you have heart burn, you may have noticed the antacids you take can cause constipation, especially those containing calcium or aluminium. Look for a product without these ingredients, or speak to your doctor about alternatives.

Simple ways to prevent constipation

  • Squat – A 2003 study found that squatting to do a number two was the most satisfactory way to do it, compared to sitting. Apparently, sitting requires excessive effort whereas squatting is quite easy and requires little pushing. All you need to do is find a stool and use it to elevate your feet whilst on the toilet.
  • Eat health foods –  Make sure you get plenty of high-fibre food in your diet, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Drinking plenty of water – Not drinking enough water can lead to constipation.
  • Exercise – Keeping active on a regular basis can help you stay regular.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. They missed the main one, dehydration, and water only, by itself, is the best and only cure for that.

    3 REPLY
    • Trish Daley should be the first one, it’s the single most important and effective. but your right, i did miss that.

  2. I eat a lot of dairy and don’t suffer from constipation at all. That’s because I do all the right things these days. Learnt that lessen when I was younger, the hard way (‘scuse the pun).

  3. If you can’t squat get a little stool and put your feet on it. That gets you close to the squatting position.

    Hydration helps in so many things so keep the water flowing. B|

  4. I noticed one of the recommended preventatives was “eat health food”……I think that should read, eat whole, unprocessed food. So much so called health food is loaded with sugar, preservatives and nasty fats/oils.

  5. I have found that if I eat anything with dried skim milk in it, it causes problems. Weet-Bix is a very constipating for me too. I may as well eat cement.

    In The Reject Shop I found small blocks that are used in Yoga. They are slightly larger than a brick, and made of styrofoam covered in plastic. They are ideal for raising your feet while sitting on the toilet and, because they are light, can be pushed out of the way when not needed by others.

    I didn’t know that BP medication could cause constipation , but since I have just changed brands, I might notice a difference. Yippee!

  6. Lemon juice in a glass of warm water first thing in the morning is great as far as I am concerned.

  7. I am 63 and have suffered from constipation for as long as I can remember, I read up on it the other day and apparently women need 30 to 35 grams of fibre a day, I started reading the labels on foods, I was having no where near that, started having one serve of special K 5.9 g fibre, plus one serve all bran 13.3 g fibre.and went from there, just counting the fibre on the package and sitting up straight and putting my feet on a little stool while on the toilet has made a great difference, can’t believe at my age have finally solved the problem,

    3 REPLY
    • Barbara, you can also use something like Benefiber which you add to your drink every morning to get extra fiber. It can be added to plain water, tea, coffee and is tasteless.

    • Yes I was trying one of them didn’t like it, will try Benefiber if it has no taste, the one I had was pretty thick. Thanks!

    • Metamucil. I have problems with diverticulitis and bowel cancer in our family and my surgeon recommends it to all her patients. You think by eating well i.e. fruit and veg every day you are getting enough fibre but hardly anyone is unless they take a supplement. Water water as well.

  8. I used to suffer with constipation but since changing my diet I rarely have a problem, as well as walking. I also use Benefiber every morning. You can mix it in plain water or any drink, and I do drink quite a lot of water during the day. I also have nuts.

  9. Eat papaw, pears. Prunes or anything that u think mke you open your bowel. Mine are fruits and if it’s really bad … Guess what? Ice cream and can fruit juice mix and no problem 👍. But it’s just an individual issues, people are different. Whatever suit your case.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes Jacqueline! I have found prunes are great,also tinned or fresh or frozen plums.

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