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When Everything’s Not Coming Out Okay: 6 Causes of Constipation


January 8, 2014 | Published by

ceramic frog on toilet

I have a question for you: how often do you poop? You may find the question uncomfortable, but we all do it, and not going enough can be trouble. How often you go is a direct correlation to how well your gut is functioning (unless you have acute diarrhea from an infection or parasites, giardia, appendicitis, etc). If you aren’t going 1-2 times a day soon after meals, you may be constipated. Below are some causes of constipation. Read through each and make note of the ones that sound familiar.

You’re a Distracted Eater

Do you work while you eat? Take bites between emails? Maybe eat in front of the TV? Check Facebook on your phone? How you eat is just as important as what you eat. Having a meal in relative peace with no distractions is ideal for optimal digestion. Busy? Take a dedicated meal break (you have the time!). Chew your food thoroughly and take time to enjoy it.

You’re Not Getting Enough Water

Dehydration is one of the most common causes of constipation. Divide your weight in half-that’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking daily. You may not be getting anywhere near that amount, particularly if you have been quite constipated for years.

Not Enough Dietary Fiber


Far too many of us are not getting enough daily fiber. Not only do many of the foods we eat lack fiber, but their lack of nutrients can also cause digestive issues. Some great natural sources of fiber include: legumes (navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans); nuts and seeds (almonds, pistachios, peanuts); fruits (prunes, pears, mangoes, apples, raspberries); vegetables (artichokes, soy beans, Brussel sprouts); and breads and grains(rye bread, bran flakes, quinoa).

Long Periods of Immobility, Stress or Depression

Emotional and mental strain can have a heavy impact on digestive health. If you aren’t as regular as you should be, take a stress assessment. Any recent changes in lifestyle? Serious illness or accident? Relationship problems? Job woes?


If you listen to the fine print on drug commercials, constipation almost always makes the side effects list. Medications like codeine and morphine can do great things for pain but can also reduce the motility of stool. Even aspirin can seriously affect the digestive tract, particularly the stomach, liver and small bowel. Some antidepressants can cause constipation as well. You may want to check with your practitioner for alternatives/solutions.

Gallbladder Problems

Long-term constipation can be a sign of a deeper issue. For one, constipation can be a sign of a gallbladder issue. Other common signs of a problematic gallbladder are pain or tenderness between the shoulders or under the ribcage, light or chalky colored stool, indigestion after meals (especially fatty or greasy foods), excess gas and bloating, and nausea.

In my next blog, I’ll offer tips to help combat and prevent constipation. There are several natural methods that can help, and most cases of constipation will improve just by making a few small lifestyle changes.

dr eric bakkerAbout the Author: Eric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many YouTube videos:  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:

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