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13 Surprising Causes Of Constipation

Health     First Posted: 03/16/11 11:51 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:40 PM ET

What causes constipation? Well, the obvious culprits include a low fiber diet, repeatedly ignoring the urge to go, not drinking enough water, or a lack of exercise.

But constipation also has other, less-well-known causes, including certain medications and supplements, as well as potentially serious medical conditions.

What's causing your gut trouble? Here are 13 possible causes of constipation you may not have considered.

Hypothyroidism
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Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, slows the body's metabolic processes -- even the gut.

Not everyone with an underactive thyroid has constipation, nor do all cases of constipation mean that the butterfly-shaped gland in your neck is underperforming.

Still, "when I see a young person who's constipated more than normal and really complaining, I do tend to get a thyroid level," says Carla H. Ginsburg, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

More from Health.com:
Quick Cures for Tummy Troubles
10 Risk Factors for IBD
13 Reasons for Bladder Trouble

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Filed by Nicholas Miriello  |