All About Constipation – Symptoms, Causes & Solutions

Constipation isn’t defined with one definition

Constipation is a symptom, not a disease. Different individuals have different perceptions of symptoms. Some regard constipation as straining, while for others, it means hard stools or prolonged time to stool or an inability to defecate when desired or infrequent defecation. Being constipated it’s no laughing matter. When you can’t go to the toilet for days on end, you feel bloated and miserable. If left unsolved, prolonged constipation can also lead to more serious issues, like haemorrhoids or even prolapse of rectal tissue.


Constipation may be acute or chronic

Acute constipation occurs suddenly, and it lasts for few days. It is usually caused by dehydration, medication, blockage, prolonged activity or missing a bowel movement. Acute constipation is common in pregnant women as the womb is pressed against the intestine. 

The Rome IV criteria categorizes disorders of chronic constipation into four subtypes:

1. Functional constipation

Individuals (who do not take laxatives) report at least 2 of the following in any 12-week period during the previous 12 months:

  • Less than 3 bowel movements per week
  • Hard stool in more than 25% of bowel movements
  • A sense of incomplete evacuation in more than 25% of bowel movement
  • Excessive straining in more than 25% of bowel movement
  • A need for digital manipulation to facilitate evacuation

2. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation

Recurrent abdominal pain at least 1 day weekly for the last 3 months, and 2 or more of the following:

  • Related to defecation
  • Less than 3 bowel movements per week
  • Associated with hard or lumpy stool

 3. Functional defecation disorders

Must include all the followings:

  • Satisfy criteria for functional constipation or IBS with constipation
  • Abnormal test result from balloon expulsion test, anorectal manometry or any relevant test

4. Functional abdominal bloating/ distension

Must include all the followings:

  • Insufficient criteria for functional constipation or IBS with constipation
  • Recurrent bloating and/ or distension at least 1 day per week
  • Recurrent bloating and/ or distension predominant over other symptoms

Knowing the difference between acute and chronic constipation is an important step as it will determine the management strategy and treatment plan.


Common causes of constipation

Knowing what causes your constipation can help you avoid the need for harsh laxatives! Here is a list of common causes of constipation you may overlooked:

  • Imbalance gut flora
  • Not enough water
  • Not enough fibre in the diet
  • Too much fibre in the diet
  • Too much gluten containing/ processed food products
  • Too much milk and dairy products
  • Too much red meat
  • Too much fried food
  • Low calorie intake/ not eating enough
  • Alcohol intake
  • Changes in diet/ eating habit
  • Lack of exercise
  • Sitting/ lying down too much
  • Medications
  • Abuse of laxatives
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
  • Changes in daily routine/ lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnant
  • Travelling
  • Underlying intestinal problems
  • Medical problems such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, depression

At home-tips to relief constipation

Laxatives may seem like the quickest and simplest solution, but they are not a good idea. Most often, constipation can be treated through dietary and lifestyle changes, which relieve symptoms and help prevent the condition. Here are 3 simple steps to begin with:

  • Identify the causes
  • Eliminate the causes
  • Boost your gut health with M101 Microbe Hack, click here.

For more information, speak to our nutritionist now!


  • Gray JR. (2011) What is chronic constipation? Definition and diagnosis, Can J Gastroenterol,25 Suppl B(Suppl B):7B-10B.
  • Imran Aziz, William E Whitehead, Olafur S Palsson, Hans Törnblom & Magnus Simrén (2020) An approach to the diagnosis and management of Rome IV functional disorders of chronic constipation, Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 14:1, 39-46.

Jacie Chiew

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla ullamcorper risus ante. Ut commodo quis lacus quis vulputate. Aenean imperdiet porta mi. In congue congue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Be the First To Know About New Releases or Special Sales.

Sign-up for 30% offer