Common Causes of Constipation

constipationConstipation is an ongoing inability to defecate or difficulty passing stool. While many people struggle with constipation at some point in their lives, the sudden onset of constipation can indicate a gastrointestinal condition that requires treatment.

What Causes Constipation? 

Various conditions can cause constipation; it can also be a side effect of some medications or occur from eating certain foods. It is typically classified as passing fewer than three stools per week or having trouble not being able to defecate. 


Water is crucial to forming healthy stool and helping it pass through your intestinal tract. When you are not adequately hydrated, you may not pass stool as often, have very hard stool, or struggle with constipation. 

Be sure to drink six to eight glasses of water daily, and replenish any fluids you lose through excessive perspiration that can occur through physical activity, such as manual labor or exercise. 

Lack of Fiber in the Diet

Fiber increases the size and weight of stool and softens it so it is easier to pass. If you are not eating sufficient fiber, you may have smaller bowel movements that are harder to pass. 

Eating more fibrous foods, such as broccoli, avocados, and beans, may help improve your stool. 

Certain Medications

Some medications can cause constipation as a side effect; these include antihistamines, some iron supplements, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and opioids. Talk to your doctor if you have difficulty with your bowel movements after starting a new prescription. 

Gastrointestinal Disorders 

Many types of health conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract are marked by constipation. These include irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, Chron’s disease, and hemorrhoids. If you suspect that an underlying issue may be the cause of your constipation, reach out to a specialist. 

When To See a Doctor

While constipation can resolve on its own, not being able to pass stool is a good reason to see a doctor. Visit our urgent care facility in New York City if you experience:

  • Blood in the stool 
  • Symptoms lasting longer than one week
  • Dark or black stools 
  • Changes to the shape, size, or texture of the stool 
  • Stomach pain
  • Inexplicable weight loss 

Contact Us Today

If you are struggling with constipation, consider reaching out to a New York City gastroenterologist at Gramercy Park Digestive Disease Center (GPDDC). We offer ambulatory services as well as treatment for various gastrointestinal conditions. Our GI doctors are highly skilled and offer rapid care when you need it.

Please contact us at 212-979-3237 for more information. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please visit our “Meet Our Doctors” page and request a visit with a provider.

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