What Causes Constipation?

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Constipation, Digestive Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Discover what could be causing your constipation symptoms

You should be moving your bowels at least once a day, and ideally two or three times a day—otherwise you have a constipation problem. After all, you eat three meals daily, and each meal creates its own waste products that need to be eliminated. But to help relieve constipation, you should determine the root cause of your constipation symptoms. Consider the following factors that can cause constipation.

Lack of Fiber

All together, we need a minimum of 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily to stave off constipation symptoms. Unfortunately, modern food processing techniques often remove the fiber from food and, as a result, many of us get less than 20 grams a day. I do, however, have a simple, all-natural solution to increase the fiber in your diet.

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Closed Ileocecal Valve

The ileocecal valve is located between the small and large intestine. Basically, it's in the same area as the appendix and many times what is thought to be an appendix problem is, instead, a problem with this valve. This little valve has two very important jobs to do. First, it is to serve as a block that prevents the toxic contents of the large intestine from backing up into the small intestine. Second, it keeps the food products in the small intestine from passing into the large intestine before the digestive processes have been completed. This valve can at times become either "stuck shut or stuck open." When stuck shut, the closed ileocecal valve can cause constipation symptoms. Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to open your ileocecal valve.

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Not Enough Water

Sometimes the body just needs a more consistent water intake to keep things moving along smoothly. Drinking six to eight glasses of water every day has been shown to correct constipation symptoms in some people.

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Supplemental Iron

Various forms of iron can be constipating to some people, so the iron in your multivitamin could be causing your constipation symptoms. Try taking the multivitamin in the middle of your largest meal when the hydrochloric acid levels in your stomach are elevated (iron requires adequate acid levels to be digested properly). You could also switch to a multivitamin that doesn't contain iron in its formula.

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More Dr. Williams Advice on Constipation

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