Risk Factors for Constipation: The main risk factorsIn many factors, very different can favor the arrival of constipation in a person.

Thus, if certain risk factors are physical, others are psychological, some even social … Some factors can be easily avoided, others unfortunately much less quickly …

Below is a non-exhaustive list of the main known risk factors for the potential for constipation.

Risk Factors for Constipation
Risk Factors for Constipation

Transient constipation

In the case of occasional or temporary constipation, the temporary change in daily habits is often enough to explain the onset of constipation. Examples of commonly encountered factors that increase the likelihood of transient constipation include:

  • A trip abroad
  • The change in her usual diet
  • The fact of “restraining yourself” (consciously or not), for example, due to emotional stress or an unusual situation for you (dirt from the sanitary facilities of your place of residence on holidays for instance)

Chronic constipation

For more accurate chronic constipation, other risk factors may be involved. Some are generally due to a poor lifestyle, and the risk of constipation by these factors may be decreased by doing a little prevention of daily constipation:

  • An unbalanced diet: diet particularly low in fiber (lack of vegetables and fruits in particular), but also too fat or too sweet
  • The lack of drinks: liquid deficit
  • The sedentary lifestyle: physical inactivity, lack of exercise, the remains lying down for several days (in the context of a hospital for example)

Others, on the contrary, which can not be avoided only with a change in their lifestyle, can also promote constipation in the long term:

  • The stress or anxiety in general
    Ignoring systematically his need to go to the toilet because of a psychological disorder
  • The hormonal changes necessary such as pregnancy or menopause
  • The hypothyroidism
  • Some serious diseases: cancer, intestinal obstruction, …
  • Having an intestine that is too long
  • Taking certain medications (also called iatrogenic constipation)

People at risk most affected by constipation

  • The women

The female population is particularly affected by constipation problems, and women are 3 to 4 times more affected by constipation problems than men.

Thus, 75% to 80% of sick people (in adults) would be women.

Some medical theories explain in part this predisposition of women to problems of constipation by hormonal causes.

Thus, the action of progesterone on the motility of particular muscles involved in the intestinal transit would make the digestive tract less efficient for the evacuation of the stool. The concentration of this hormone varies significantly during the menstrual cycle and is secreted in greater quantity from the 14th day of the cycle (second half of the menstrual cycle). This period is therefore statistically more favorable to the disorders of transient constipation in the woman.

  • Pregnant women

During pregnancy, particularly in the beginning, progesterone is secreted in an even greater quantity (because it is necessary to maintain the endometrium at the beginning of pregnancy), accentuating all the more the effect of “lazy” intestines described here -above.

Moreover, towards the end of pregnancy, compression of the colon by the uterus also contributes to the slowing down of intestinal transit in general.

  • The elderly

The older population is also particularly prone to constipation. The risk of constipation increases sharply from 65 years, both in women and in men.

This is mainly due to the sedentary lifestyle of the elderly. Other factors such as diet, medication, and some old-age pathologies also explain the high number of older people with chronic constipation compared to the rest of the population.

  • Children and infants

Children are also frequently constipated, with a peak around the age of 4 years. This can be explained in part by the fact that many young children who start school do not dare to go to the bathroom and become accustomed to constant “restraint.”

Constipation also affects babies quite often, especially infants who are bottle-fed.

  • Other

In general, people with low levels of physical activity or poor nutrition are more likely to experience constipation problems than the average.

The same applies to people who are bedridden for long periods of time, such as long-term sick persons and persons with disabilities.

Finally, the incidence of constipation is twice as high among people with modest incomes. This is probably due to a lower hygiene of life ( bad eating habits in particular) in the population in a precarious situation.