What Causes Constipation?

A bidet toilet seat lid opens up.

4 million Americans experience occasional constipation every year. Usually caused by lifestyle factors such as diet, travel, and water intake, constipation symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable – but generally treatable at home.

Avoid constipation by understanding the causes and having a game plan for when symptoms strike.

What Is Constipation?

Constipation is a medical condition defined by infrequent, possibly painful bowel movements. Overtime, this causes a build-up of fecal matter (that’s poop) that occupies the large intestines for longer than normal. The most common characteristics of constipation:

  • Large, hard stool that is difficult to pass
  • Fewer than three bowel movements in a week
  • Incomplete emptying of the bowels or feeling that you need to go again

Your bowel patterns may be more or less frequent than others. Individuals who poop once or twice a day may feel the pain and discomfort of constipation symptoms in a couple of days.

Early Constipation Symptoms

If you’re a bit behind, you’ll likely notice some common signs of constipation. In some cases, these symptoms may not be severe but may become more noticeable over time.

Watch for early signs of constipation, such as:

  • Bloating or gas
  • Hard or lumpy stool
  • Straining to pass stool
  • Feeling pressure in your bowels, colon, or rectum

How Common Is Constipation?

Constipation affects people of all ages; 29.6% of children will experience functional constipation, and the condition is the cause of between 3%-5% of all pediatric visits in the US. At any given moment,16% of adults worldwide are constipated. That’s 4,128,000 people backed up right now!  33.5% of  that total are adults over 60 years old.

Most of these common causes of constipation are due to one or more of these factors:

  • Low-fiber diet
  • Not drinking enough water
  • A change in dietary habits or exercise habits
  • Certain medications
  • Travel
  • Anxiety or depression

Additional Risk Factors: Constipation During Pregnancy

Pregnant women often experience constipation. While most battle the condition in the third trimester, as much as 39% of women report constipation symptoms during pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider about exercising safely, identifying high-fiber foods, and using over-the-counter stool softeners to avoid constipation.

How Does a Bidet Help with Constipation?

Bidets are a proven but underutilized way to get immediate constipation relief. One study focused on pregnant women to examine how bidets help constipation symptoms. The survey found that 70% of respondents with bidets used it to ease defecation. Twenty percent also noted the effectiveness of a bidet spray in mimicking an enema.

Bidets provide relief with a strong water stream that can break harden stool loose and stimulate complete bowel movements. Using a bidet for constipation is a safe, non-pharmacological way to relieve constipation symptoms quickly.

Other Ways to Relieve Constipation Fast

Over-the-counter stool softeners and laxatives provide quick relief but may have undesirable side effects, such as gas, bloating, and the urgent need to “go” at an inopportune time. In addition to bidets, there are several ways to address constipation: diet, water intake, and exercise.

Foods to Avoid When Constipated

Pass on prepared or processed foods that are low in fiber. Avoid eating fatty, greasy fast food, chips, frozen meals, and meat. It’s a good time to skip the drive-thru and choose a healthy meal at home!

Foods to Eat to Relieve Constipation

Focus on eating high-fiber foods, but not too much. Overeating when constipated may increase discomfort. Try small amounts of healthy foods like:

  • Whole grains, especially oatmeal
  • Lentils, kidney beans, and other legumes
  • Apples, oranges, and other fruits
  • Vegetables, such as peas, spinach, and carrots

Drink Plenty of Water

Be sure to drink water throughout the day, especially when constipated. Water aids in the digestion of high-fiber foods and helps to soften stool, which can reduce discomfort and help relieve constipation. Talk to your doctor about your hydration needs, or aim for 15.5 cups of water for men and 11.5 cups for women daily.

Get a Bidet for Constipation Relief, Keep It for the All the Other Reasons to Switch!

A bidet can help with constipation, but it can also help save the world. Learn more about the environmental impact of toilet paper and feel good about replacing TP with a daily splash of luxury. Find the right type of bidet for you with our Bidet Quiz, and let us know how we can help you decide!