Constipation is a reduction in the frequency of bowel movements, in which stools may be harder and more painful to pass. Passing a stool after every meal, approximately 3 times per day, is considered optimal. However; the average number of bowel movements per day for the average is person is roughly 1.
Constipation can have many causes but in many cases is the cause of insufficient fluids and not enough fibre in the diet. Without enough fluids and fibre, to give the stools bulk, they become hard and can develop rough edges, making it very painful to pass.
Lack of exercise and movement can result in a sluggish bowel. Peristalsis is the gentle movement caused by the bowel to allow the faecal matter to pass through, this is facilitated by movement. If we are inactive this peristalsis is less effective and we can therefore become constipated.
Holding back a bowel movement, due to busy schedules, social situations stress can change our bowel habits, resulting in constipation. Also the inability to let go (emotionally, physically or mentally) can quite literally result in us not able to ‘let go’
Medications and their strong side effects and certain hormonal changes within the body may also be the cause of constipation.