Constipation is a relatively common problem that can often be traced to the presence of one or more risk factors. Identification of risk factors can often be the first step for reducing the problem.


Risk factors:

(1) extreme of age (very young or very old)

(2) female gender

(3) poor diet, low in fiber

(4) dehydration

(5) chronic pain

(6) inactivity or poor mobility, including paraplegia or quadraplegia

(7) pregnancy

(8) drugs (see below), especially in high doses and/or when multiple agents are taken

(9) stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or degenerative neurologic disease

(10) depression

(11) diabetes mellitus

(12) irritable bowel syndrome (may alternate with diarrhea)

(13) ischemic bowel disease

(14) inflammatory bowel disease

(15) other bowel disorders

(16) hypothyroidism


Drugs associated with constipation:

(1) anticonvulsants

(2) antidepressants

(3) antihistamines

(4) antispasmodics or antidiarrheal agents

(5) iron or calcium supplements

(6) aluminum-containing antacids


(8) opioid analgesics

(9) ganglionic blocking agents

(10) 5-HT3 receptor antagonists

(11) beta-blockers

(12) clonidine

(13) disopyramide

(14) diuretics


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