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What causes chronic constipation in adults?

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Quick Answer

Chronic constipation can be caused by many conditions, including lesions or abnormalities in the colon and hormonal changes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Certain medications can also cause it.

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Medications commonly associated with chronic constipation include narcotics used for pain, calcium channel blockers used to treat high blood pressure and anti-seizure medications, reports the Gail and Gerard Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress. Sometimes switching to a similar medication can alleviate the symptoms in these cases.

The likelihood of a serious underlying cause is more likely in patients over the age of 50, according to CNS. This can include certain types of colon and bowel cancers, so these patients should consult their doctors as soon as possible.

Hormonal and metabolic disorders including diabetes and hypothyroidism can cause constipation in some patients, according to the Mayo Clinic. Pregnant women also my experience chronic constipation. Physical problems, including spinal cord injuries, may contribute to the condition in some people.

Some people may believe they have chronic constipation when they do not, cautions WebMD. There are many myths about constipation and what constitutes normal bowel movements, including the belief that a person is constipated if he does not have a bowel movement at least once a day. In reality, as few as three movements per week can be normal. Mild constipation can often be helped by staying hydrated and reducing stress.

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