last updated 24-06-2024



This figure depicts the causative factors for constipation. Common physiological factors include:

  1. overstimulation of the sympathetic system
  2. inhibition of the parasympathetic system
  3. significant resorption of water in the large bowel
  4. lack of significant bulk in the lumen

These physiological effects can arise from co-morbid disease states and/or concomitant drug use (see drug-induced constipation for a listing of drugs that can cause constipation). However, patient-related factors are also common and includ lack of exercise or water intake.


I. Stimulation of sympathetic nerves slows gastrointestinal movements.

II. Increasing parasympathetic tone increases colonic motility.