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Causes of Constipation

Causes of Constipation

The Intestinal Flora: A Complex System of Body Protection

The intestinal flora is located on the surface of the intestinal mucosa. This mucous is home to a countless number of bacteria and microorganisms. The bacteria and microorganisms will find ideal living conditions here. The colonization of bacteria in our intestines is completely normal and not pathological in itself. While the embryo in the womb still has a sterile gastrointestinal tract, this colonization begins at birth and continues with the diet. This individual intestinal flora depends upon various factors, for example, among other things, genetics plays an important role.

The bacteria can also be called as our "roommates", and it makes perfect sense. Because they form an important protection against pathogenic microbes.

"Good" and "bad" roommate in the gut

Bacteria strengthen the immune system (e.g. lactobacilli) are referred to as "good" or "friendly" intestinal bacteria. Harmful intestinal bacteria such as clostridia, by contrast, medically referred to as "pathogenic", or harmful bacteria. Good and bad bacteria normally keep the balance. Health-promoting bacteria such as bifidobacteria keep pathogens in check - so there is virtually a healthy coexistence, the basic prerequisite for a strong immune system and our (intestinal) health.

Bifidobacteria: The main actors for a healthy gut

Recent studies show that certain bifidobacteria are the key stakeholders in terms of beneficial intestinal bacteria. In the broadest sense, only if these health-promoting bacteria are sufficiently present in our gut, we are adequately protected from intestinal problems and health problems.

Why? Bifidobacteria have many different tasks. Together with the lactobacilli, they provide a strong immune system, lowering the pH in the intestine and form anti-bacterial substances and along with other vitamins. They are therefore, an important shield against infection.

Disturbance of the system because of co-existence of certain bacteria

A disturbed intestinal flora, and in particular, the decrease in the number of certain subspecies of Bifidobacterium bifidum, is now seen as the main cause of irritable bowel syndrome and thus of functional constipation.

But which confounding factors can lead to a negative change in the intestinal tract?

They include:

  • High-fat and low-fiber diet
  • Antibiotics
  • Stress
  • Age

Lack of Bifidobacteria: the gut on alert

Decrease in the number of health-promoting bifidobacteria, bifidobacterium bifidum subspecies of the family, causes the effect of disease-causing germs to rise. They gain the upper-hand, penetrate the intestinal wall and cause inflammation. In such case, typical symptoms arise that include abdominal pain Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The formation of gases such as methane and carbon dioxide is increased. This gas formation not only leads to bloating and a distended belly, it also hinders the transport of food through the intestine, and the transit time of chyme (a thick fluid mass of partially digested food and gastric secretions, passed from the stomach to the small intestine) through the intestinal passage is extended. It leads to constipation.

Recent studies have confirmed - In a majority of patients with Irritable Bowel Symptom including constipation, there is a significantly reduced number of certain bifidobacteria. This fact is an important insight regarding the understanding of the genesis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and also the basis for a causal and long-term effective therapy.

Other possible causes of constipation at a glance (examples):

  • Constipation can arise from a side effect of certain medications that affect the bowel movements (eg, blood pressure medicines, painkillers, antidepressants, opiates)
  • Constipation during pregnancy (hormonal influences)
  • Prolonged bed rest such as when an illness or after surgery
  • Iron supplements
  • Dependence on laxatives
  • Diseases such as hypothyroidism, bowel obstruction and multiple sclerosis
  • Pelvic floor weakness (especially in women after childbirth)
  • Intestinal obstruction by tumor or diverticulum (evaginations of the intestinal wall)
  • In babies: changing from breastfeeding to bottle food

Influence of dietary and lifestyle habits on the occurrence of constipation

  • Constipation can arise from an incorrect diet
  • High-fat, low-fiber diet
  • Sweets
  • Too little liquid
  • Hardly sport and exercise
  • Wrong toilet habits, such as frequent suppression of defecation

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Thanks for sharing.

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