The bad news: usually there’s no known cause for constipation. But here are five things you might be doing that could make the situation worse.

BTW, if you have gone less than four times in a week, you may want to see a doctor.

Eating a High Fat and/or Low Fiber Diet

Cheese, fried food, meat. They’re not only nutritionally sketchy, but these foods could actually clog up your colon. But you knew that, right?


According to an article in Men’s Health (which generally applies to women too), 33 percent of patients with constipation screened positive for depression. Dr. Gregory Thorkelson, M.D., of the UPMC Digestive Disorders Center comments, “It’s possible that depression literally slows down processes in your body, which may include that transit time in your intestines.”

Resisting the Urge

Yeah, we get it. You’re busy. But if you put off #2 because of your back-to-back meetings, you may be asking for trouble.

Calcium Supplements

A lot of people take calcium supplements for bone health, but too much calcium can slow the movement of food through your digestive system.

In their article “Thinking Twice About Calcium Supplements,” the New York Times suggests that a healthier diet might be better than taking calcium supplements. Calcium-rich foods include sardines, yogurt, figs, kale, almonds, and fortified whole grains. If you are not a dairy fan, check out Greatlist’s list of 18 Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium.

Vicodin, Percocet, or Other Opiate Pain Relievers

Ouch! These drugs may relieve pain, but they don’t do much to relieve constipation. In fact, they generally make it worse by reducing the automatic muscle contractions that push food through your digestive system. They also may hamper the secretions of fluids into the gastrointestinal tract, creating a harder stool that is more difficult to poo out. Gross, but hey, you wanted to know.

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