Pharmacy Corner
Constipation: Time Goes Slow When You Can’t Go What causes constipation?

What causes constipation?

Common Causes of Constipation
Short Term3,4Long Term4
  • Changes in diet
  • Illness
  • Lack of exercise
  • Medications
  • Travel
  • Medications
  • Medical conditions
  • Problems with colon

Medications

What medications cause constipation?

Some medications that have been linked with constipation include:1

  • Pain killers like codeine, or morphine
  • Iron supplements
  • Medications or vitamins containing aluminum, or calcium (eg. antacids)
  • Some high blood pressure medications
  • Antidepressants, anti-Parkinson medications, antipsychotics

The above list is not complete. There are other medications that can cause constipation. If you think that a medication may be causing your constipation speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Reminder

Reminder

DO NOT stop or change any of your medications without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

Is constipation more common in the elderly?

Constipation is seen more commonly in the elderly. The reason is not because of aging itself but because elderly people often have:5

  • A less active lifestyle
  • Multiple medical conditions
  • More medications

Having any of the above can increase a person’s risk of getting constipation.

Is it important to treat constipation?

Yes. If constipation is not treated, it can cause problems such as hemorrhoids, cuts or tears in the skin in the anus, complete blockage, or fecal incontinence.6

Helpful tips

Helpful Tips

If you think you have constipation, a useful thing to do is to start keeping some daily notes on:3

  • Your bowel movements – This is most effective in the form of a stool diary.

  • What you eat and how much

  • How much water you drink

  • How much physical activity you do

There is a mobile application available for smart phones that will help you to keep track of these.

By keeping a record you can see what worked and what didn’t. It will also be helpful for your doctor as it will provide a good history of you and your condition.