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What causes change in bowel habit and constipation? 31 possible conditions

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.



Constipation refers to infrequent bowel movements with hard, dry stools. Poor diet and dehydration are usually to blame, though certain diseases or other medical issues are possible causes.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine and causes many uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and pain.

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The thyroid gland produces a hormone that controls how your cells use energy (metabolize). Hypothyroidism occurs when the body doesn't produce enough. Untreated, it can cause complications like obesity and heart disease.

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Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen veins located around the anus or in the lower rectum. Internal hemorrhoids develop within the anus; external hemorrhoids develop outside of the anus. Of the two forms...

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PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

PMS symptoms start five to 11 days before menstruation and typically go away once menstruation begins. The cause of PMS is unknown.

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Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of types 1 and 2 diabetes due to uncontrolled high blood sugar levels that result in damage to the nerves. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), between 6...

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Anal Fissure

An anal fissure is a small cut or tear in the skin lining the anus. Childbirth, straining during bowel movements, or bouts of constipation or diarrhea can all tear the anal lining. Anal fissures are usually not a caus...

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Anal/Rectal Abscess

An anal, or rectal, abscess occurs when a cavity in the anus becomes filled with pus. In addition to pain, it can cause fatigue, rectal discharge, and fever.

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Crohn’s Disease

Crohn's disease is a chronic bowel disease that causes severe inflammation of the digestive tract. It is associated with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and may affect your quality of life. Crohn's disease is characterized b...

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Intestinal Obstruction

If your small or large intestine becomes blocked, fluid and digested food cannot move through. This can cause bloating, stomach cramps, and burping.

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Depression Overview

Depression is a mood disorder that can cause extreme and persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Depression type largely determines what kind of medical treatment is best.

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Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that originates in the rectum or colon. Both of these organs are located at the lower portion of your digestive system. The colon is at the end of the large intestine and the rectum is a...

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Colonic (Colorectal) Polyps

Colonic polyps are growths that appear on the surface of the large intestine. A person may have more than one polyp, and they may be flat or raised, benign or cancerous.

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Proctitis is a condition in which when the lining tissue of the inner rectum becomes inflamed. The rectum is part of your lower digestive system.

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Celiac Disease (Gluten Intolerance)

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by an immune reaction to gluten. Symptoms vary but can include arthritis, fatigue, and abdominal symptoms.

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Spinal Cord Injury

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A spinal cord injury, or damage to the spinal cord, is an extremely serious type of physical trauma. It will likely have a lasting and significant impact on most aspects of daily life. According to the Nationa...

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Diverticula are bulging sacs that can appear in the lining of your large intestine. Diverticulitis occurs when these sacs get acutely infected or inflamed.

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Low Blood Potassium

Hypokalemia occurs when the blood's potassium levels are too low. A normal level of potassium is 3.6-5.2 millimoles per liter. Levels below 3.6 are considered low.

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Hirschsprung Disease

Hirschsprung disease is a blockage that occurs in the colon in about one of every 5,000 births. The cause is unknown, but tends to affect more boys and those with Down syndrome or another inherited condition.

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Hypercalcemia is a condition in which you have too much calcium in your blood. Serious cases could cause symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, and weakness.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.