Constipation: symptoms, causes, remedy for constipation

Discomfort in the abdominal region, mild cramps and gas . These may be some of the symptoms that arise when the intestine does not function regularly.

The condition is quite common and can happen to anyone. Many people go 2 or 3 days without going to the bathroom and already feel that something is out of the routine.

But there are cases where constipation can last 1 week or more. This depends on the common intestinal transit – there are people who go to the bathroom every day, there are people who go about 3 or 4 times a week, without being a problem.

What is stuck intestine?

The trapped intestine, also known as constipation or constipation , is characterized by difficulty in evacuating, incomplete evacuation and hard stools.

In general, there is a reduction in the frequency of evacuation, but it varies for each person.

There are those who go 2 or 3 days without going to the bathroom until they start to feel uncomfortable, but there are cases where the intestine is lazier for 1 week or more.

The time will depend, in general, on the normal functioning of the intestine – remembering that the intestinal regularity can vary between, approximately, 2 bowel movements per day up to 3 bowel movements per week.

The condition, although uncomfortable, is usually not serious. The main causes are food and emotional.

It is possible that there will be pain when evacuating, in addition to cramps and the perception that the stools are harder.

While the foods that are consumed pass through the digestive system, the nutrients and the water that are present in them are gradually being absorbed by the body.

What is not used by the body forms the fecal bolus, in which it is pushed out through muscle contractions of the intestinal wall.

When these movements become more weakened, there is an accumulation of undigested material in the intestine, which can cause a reabsorption of water and a hardening of this waste.

About 20% of the world population suffers from this disorder, affecting mainly women and the elderly.

Types of constipation

There are two types of constipation: organic, also known as brutal, and functional, also known as chronic constipation.

Organic or brutal

The rate of the intestine depends on changes in the structural of the large intestine, anorectal, perineal or its neuromotor elements.

It occurs by paralytic or mechanical blockage of the intestine as a result of adhesions, tumors of the intestine, narrowing of the anus or inflammatory processes.

It basically occurs when the body goes through physical changes, remembering that there is the possibility of constipation being caused by the use of drugs with a potentially constipating effect.

Functional or chronic

Caused by bad bowel and eating habits, emotional disturbance, physical inactivity, irritable bowel and spastic colitis . It is not associated with other changes in the other viscera of the digestive system.

What causes the stuck intestine?

The proper functioning of the intestine is directly linked to people’s lifestyle.

Insufficient consumption of fluids and fibers, food rich only in protein or with a lot of starch, physical inactivity, the use of some medicines, psychological factors, restraining the desire to go to the bathroom and even the way people sit on the toilet to evacuate can contribute to constipation.

Some specific medical conditions can also contribute to constipation, they are:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome;
  • Side effect of Diabetes;
  • Hypothyroidism;
  • Prolonged periods of fever;
  • Intestinal parasites;
  • Diverticulitis;
  • Indiscriminate use of laxatives;
  • Colitis (inflammation of the large intestine).

Groups and risk factors

Although it affects both genders among all ages, it is common for this disorder to appear more in women and in the elderly.


Female sex hormones influence the gut a lot, leaving you lazy already during your menstrual period. Pregnancy and menopause also help constipation for women.

In pregnancy, the uterus presses on the rectum and the lower portion of the colon, disrupting intestinal transit.

In addition to biological and hormonal reasons, shyness, present mainly in women, helps a lot to cause the disorder, as going to the bathroom away from home becomes a problem.


Lack of physical activity and consumption of some medications contribute to older people having constipation.


The low level of thyroid hormone impairs the movement of the large intestine. Therefore, people who have hypothyroidism , that is, a small production of hormones, consequently have a slower digestion, which can lead to constipation.


Controlling diabetes is of utmost importance in order to avoid the trapped intestine. The disease causes damage to some nerves in the body which influence the stimuli for the intestine to function properly.

Other factors

The use of medications such as painkillers and antidepressants and even the presence of tumors in the large intestine can also cause constipation.

What are the symptoms of constipation?

Who has a well regulated intestine, can notice very quickly when it slows down. If there is a routine – going every day, at the same time in the bathroom – the first sign of constipation is the non-routine evacuation.

In addition, these people may also notice swelling, swelling and mild cramps more quickly.

However, even those who spend a few days without evacuation with a certain frequency will also notice signs and symptoms such as:

Intestinal cramps

Cramps can occur especially when constipation is related to food. The low intake of fiber or water makes the stool dense and hard. This hinders intestinal transit and can cause mild cramps.


Increased and smelling gases can occur because the fecal bolus remains in the intestine for a long time. This favors the fermentation of bacteria.

Bloating or abdominal swelling

It is quite common that, after a few days without going to the bathroom, the person notices the swollen or puffed belly.

Bad mood and irritability

The good intestinal functioning is closely related to the emotional. Both stress or anxiety can affect the functioning of the intestines and not going to the bathroom can cause irritability and moodiness.

Feeling of heaviness

Feeling heavier and tired is common, especially in people who generally have a good bowel function.

Hardened stools

It is common to notice that the stools are harder.

How is the diagnosis of the trapped intestine made?

The most suitable professional for this type of disorder is the gastroenterologist, who takes care of the digestive system. Most of the time, constipation is functional, that is, mainly associated with poor diet and retentive behavior.

However, a doctor will be able to assess whether constipation may be of organic cause, in which case the disorder may be associated with other diseases such as hypothyroidism, celiac disease, colitis, among others.

The colonoscopy , an endoscopic examination used to detect problems in the large intestine, can help to see if the person has a bowel higher than it should, that is, to see if the person has bowel organic / brutal arrested.

The test also helps to see if there are nodules and other factors that can hinder the passage of the fecal bolus.

What is the treatment for the stuck intestine?

Increase your fluid intake, add more fiber to your diet and exercise. Basically, these three measures are indispensable and must always go together to have a good intestinal functioning.

Drink more fluids

80% of the feces is composed of water, the liquid hydrates the fecal cake, preventing it from becoming dry, helps in the digestion of fibers and consequently in the intestinal transit.

Beware of excess caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they cause dehydration.

Eat more fiber

The fibers assist in the formation of the fecal bolus. Foods such as fruits and vegetables are extremely important for our health, are great sources of fiber and do not yet have much energy stimulus.

In addition to whole grains, such as flax seeds, oats, whole grain bread, among others, which are also great options.

Fruits such as plums and papaya are considered foods with a laxative effect , as they are rich in fiber and water. The ideal is to consume them daily, to mobilize the fecal cake and fight the trapped intestine.

Read more: Pitaya: the benefits of fruit and how to eat

It is good to avoid, or at least moderate, foods that contain a lot of starch, processed foods, dairy products, very fatty foods, very spicy and protein-based diets.

In addition to having low fiber content, they cause the intestinal mucosa and acidify the pH of the intestine, which makes it difficult to function.

According to the Ministry of Health, an average adult needs 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily. Some of the most fiber-rich foods are:

  • Fruits such as papaya, orange (with pomace), plum and pineapple;
  • Black beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans and brown rice;
  • Vegetables and vegetables such as pumpkin, broccoli, eggplant, artichokes, boiled corn, spinach and kale;
  • Chia: a dessert spoon has more than 6 grams of fiber;
  • Oats, popcorn, peeled sweet potatoes and nuts;
  • Flaxseed (soak in water for a few hours).

Get more exercise

Physical activity makes the body work better. Running, walking, swimming, among other diverse options, stimulate the peristaltic movement, which is responsible for the intestine, causing the fecal cake to be expelled from our body.

In addition, the practice of these activities relieves tension, stress and bad mood, improving the quality of life in general.

Don’t hold back at will

It is common for many people to get stuck in their intestines when they are away from home. In this case, the causes are linked to the psychological, as they feel ashamed to go to other bathrooms. The ideal is to never hold back the will.

When the first stimulus is not evacuated, the stool retreats from a more final portion of the rectum to the segment above, the sigmoid colon, which absorbs the water present in the feces, causing them to return to the rectum more dry in the next stimulus.

When this behavior becomes a habit, the body gets used to a larger fecal cake and no longer sends the signal to go to the bathroom.

Educating the body, always choosing the same time to go to the bathroom, sitting on the toilet and spending a few minutes there, even without feeling like having a bowel movement, are good options that also contribute to having a good result.

Medicines: what you use to loosen stuck intestines

If necessary, some medications may be indicated to assist in bowel evacuation and regulation.

The orientation will depend on the frame. For example, it may be necessary to reinforce with fibers or opt for laxatives.


Laxatives should preferably be avoided. This is because they have a very aggressive mechanism, which can affect the health of the intestinal flora. However, if necessary, the doctor can guide the use of remedies such as:

  • Bisalax ;
  • Dulcolax ;
  • Guttalax ;
  • Lacto-purge ;
  • Minilax .

Intestinal regulators

Among the regulars there is Lactulose , which can be used for a long time. Its effect is softer on the intestine and, therefore, does not harm the flora. In general, the medication promotes humidification of the faeces, concentrating more water in it, which makes it less hard and easier to eliminate.

Among the options are:

  • Colact ;
  • Lactulife .

In addition, there are fiber supplements, which are important for good bowel function, especially when the diet is low in fiber. And also the helpers of replenishing the intestinal flora. Between them:

  • Fibrems ;
  • Metamucil ;
  • Simbioflora


NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Living together: tips for releasing the stuck intestine

Living with a stuck intestine can be discouraging, but there are several tips that can help you solve this problem.

Abdominal massage

Massage can speed up intestinal transit. Perform small circular movements with your fingertips, preferably from right to left, as if you were dragging the material that is inside out.

It is a quick and practical option, since it can be done by the individual, sitting or lying down, in just 5 minutes. If doubts arise, a physical therapist can help you.

Eating habits

  • Drink warm tea when waking up on an empty stomach, such as chamomile or lemon balm, which are considered mild and not with a laxative effect, such as the sacred cascara;
  • Before going to sleep, have a small orange juice with papaya;
  • Drink coffee in the right measure (1 or 2 cups a day), the excess can cause the opposite effect;
  • Eat peeled fruits (plum, apple, peach and pear);
  • Take yogurt with black plum.

Evacuation made easy

The position in which people sit on the toilet is an important factor to take into account when evacuating. Depending on the position, the stool comes out more easily.

Sitting normally, as if you were in a chair, with your knees at the same height as your hips, impairs the passage of stool, as the puborectal muscle holds the intestine.

You should always sit with your knees elevated, above the hip line, so the puborectal muscle relaxes, releasing the passage of the intestine and facilitating evacuation. Some people choose to use a small support under their feet to help stay in that position.


The biggest complication that constipation can cause are hemorrhoids, inflammations in the blood vessels of the anus, which can be caused by cracks caused by dry stools.

There is also the chance that the person will suffer a rectal prolapse, which is when there is an extravasation of the part of the intestine out of the body, through the anus. This is more common in the elderly.

How to prevent stuck intestine?

It is possible to prevent the trapped intestine by adopting some simple little habits. Like:

  • Drink more fluids (at least 2 liters of water per day);
  • Maintain a healthy diet, based on fruits, cereals and salads;
  • Do physical exercises;
  • Don’t let go to the bathroom when you feel like it.

Common questions

Can stuck intestines cause cancer?

It is common for some people to think that chronic constipation is a risk factor for colorectal cancer , however, although it is quite uncomfortable, problems like this are not able to develop an increased risk of cancer.

However, it is good to always be on the lookout for sudden changes and the intestine does not work directly for no apparent reason.

Often, in this case, there is a high chance of being a symptom of cancer or other diseases. See a doctor and have the necessary tests to investigate such abnormalities.

Arrested intestine fattening?

Because your body does not function as it should, digestion slows down, causing discomfort and causing a bad feeling. However, although constipation makes the belly more bloated, the trapped intestine does not make you fat .

Is the use of laxatives good for the stuck intestine?

They may even mask the disorder, but they do not resolve it. In isolated cases, when constipation becomes a nuisance, it is very common for people to opt for the use of laxatives, but they are nothing more than a type of initial treatment.

Excessive use of the drug can cause physical and psychological dependence, in addition to causing inflammation in the colon wall.