What is constipation?
If you have constipation—less than three bowel movements a week, dry or lumpy stool, and/or stool that is hard to pass—you should know that every year around 2.5 million people in the US visit their doctor for this problem, so you’re not alone. This common problem can be be caused by anything from depression to low-carb diets. Here are some of the many factors that might cause constipation.
Sitting too much
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When figuring out what causes constipation, the answers may be surprising. Our modern sedentary lifestyle is bad for more than just your waistline, says Atif Iqbal, MD, a gastroenterologist and medical director of the Digestive Care Center at Orange Coast Medical Center, in Fountain Valley, California. Staying in a sitting position for long periods of time kinks up your colon, discouraging stool from passing through and causing constipation. Take regular breaks to stand up and move around. Walking and deep squats, in particular, are two movements that are particularly effective for producing a bowel movement. If constipation is a chronic problem and you don’t feel like squatting on top of your toilet, many have found relief using a “squatty potty,” which elevates the legs to a more natural pooping position.