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Constipation Root Causes

Updated: Mar 9

I see clients on a daily basis that have finally decided to tackle their constipation. Many have been labeled with an IBS-C diagnosis or functional constipation and given laxatives and vague advice to eat more fiber, do more exercise and drink more water. Although these things are very important for managing constipation, they only take you so far. There is almost always an underlying (and treatable!) cause for chronic constipation that needs to be addressed to fully overcome it.

This post is for everyone who has been ‘diagnosed’ with IBS-C or Functional Constipation (or self-diagnosed) and haven’t yet found the right education and/or courage to identify and treat their underlying root cause.

Here is a summary of what we are going to cover:

  • What is IBS-C and Functional Constipation?

  • What’s wrong with these definitions?

  • What’s the difference between a symptom and a root cause

  • The top 3 constipation root causes that your doctor probably isn’t considering.

Definition of IBS-C and Functional Constipation

Let’s get the definitions out of the way. As outlined in the Rome III diagnostic criteria:


1. Recurrent abdominal pain/discomfort for 3 or more days, that is associated with 2 or more of the following:

  • Improvement with defecation

  • Onset associated with fewer stools

  • Onset associated with harder stools

2. Lumpy or hard stools (Bristol Stool Form Scale 1–2) for ≥ 25% of defecation.