How does immobility cause constipation?

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re sitting on the toilet, straining like there’s no tomorrow, with nothing to show for it? You may not believe it, but immobility can cause constipation. Yes! That feeling of helplessness as though your bowel had turned against you is not uncommon.

So how does immobility lead to such trouble behind the scenes? Let’s find out!

The Mechanics of Digestion

To understand why constipation occurs because of immobility, here’s what happens during digestion:

  • The food we eat enters our mouth and saliva starts breaking down carbohydrates into small molecules
  • Once we swallow the food bolus slides down oesophagus using peristaltic movements.
  • Next stop is our stomach where digestive juices start dissolving solid foods into smaller particles
  • These particles then pass through pyloric valve reaching first part of small intestine called duodenum.
  • Here heptic secretion mix the chime with enzymes coming from pancreas which results in further biochemical breakdown leading to absorption
    -The undigested portion moves further towards large intestine which consists of colon ,cecum and rectum . Water gets absorbed in these parts leaving a desiccated faecal matter

Now that we’ve brushed up on our digestion 101 let’s move forward.

Immobility Precludes Natural Movement

Our bowels work best when they’re allowed to move naturally. When you’re immobilised or confined due to illness, travel sickness or even extra video games (nice try!), natural movement stops. This reducation encourages slow transit i.e., gastrocolic reflex doesn’t act appropriately (I know right!! Who’d have thought our body had so many cool scientific terms) since certain hormones that stimulate their motility are inhibited by this lack off stimualtion making intestinal smooth muscle sluggish/tonically contracted, leading to slower motility.

In a healthy individual, gastric emptying occurs in response to food intake, thereby stimulating the normal wave-like contraction of the colon (peristalsis) which promotes defecation. However, immobility impairs this natural mechanism triggering constipation. Waste slowly accumulates as it gets stuck and can’t get through properly! Furthermore the ascending and descending colons require gravitational help from different sides reinforcing that gravity also helps with our bowel movements which might come as a surprise!

Fluid Balance is Essential

Fluid balance plays an important role in proper digestion; dehydration impedes waste product removal from our system thus limiting peristalsis (the muscular contractions responsible for moving fecal matter) plus makes faecal reminants desiccated resulting in stiffer stools (something you don’t want). Generally people experiencing leg fractures or established arthritic joint disease often have limited mobility consequently they usually avoid fluids uptake fearing urination frequency despite their bodies screaming ‘give me fluids!!’ Hmm….A good bit advice would be rehydrate two litres/day irrespective of what one feels like doing (or not doing).

Another interesting fact relating hydration patterns to bowel movement difficulty is; when humans engage in heavy physical exercise such as running/jogging cycling there’s increased abdominal pressure generating due internal organs bouncing about inside along with diaphragmatic impact pushing GI contents along!!!

Disclaimer: Please note: attempting vigorous exercises at any speed may cause dribbling if done after drinking too many caffeinated drinks!

Slow Down on Medications

We take medications for various reasons like headache or pain relief . These medicines ultimately alter gastrointestinal sensitivity , promoting antagonistic influence upon gastrocolin reflexess.Most familiar examples are common medications such anti-depressant medication namely fluoxetine triggers intestinal smooth muscle tension ,barbiturates prop up stimulation zanamivir/salbutamol impede colonic motility by limiting salt intake (somewhat counterintuitive) All these kinds of mediations lead to constipation. So always swallow swigs with care!

Go Easy on the Foods that Plug Up

If you’re already facing non-specific but unmistakable feelings of bloatedness, abdominal pain and missed bowel movements then it makes sense not too ingest a lot that could plug you up even more! Normally we suggest incorporating high-fibre foods like legumes, vegetables or fruits into our diets due to their fermentable characteristics ,unfortunately they pose difficulty for people struggling with faecal retention as efficient fermentation requires gentle cellular transport.

Instead incorporate soluble fibre such as acacia gum and Inulin (ferment & gas production resistant) can be great alternatives!!

Sometimes while travelling especially eating at fast-food restaurants one invariably ends up partaking in heavy,difficult-to-digest greasy food items which leads towards further digestive difficulties . We’ve heard it – limit yourself if possible! And If easy digestion is your aim go light on heavy meals.


Attention should be focused towards minimising immobility whilst somehow staying active  thus including regular physical exercise into daily routine can make all the difference…not only enhances appetite /sleep but also supports overall health !!!

So next time someone questions Why? either show them this article along with imploring them to start moving…or explain it elegantly …because bowels appreciate activity just like any other organ does !

We hope this serves as an eye opener for anyone who has ever been stuck there cursing trying to wipe clean post defecation….now’s the time !”’

Just keep one thing in mind : keep moving – let body smoothly function … because nothing beats nature’s way of moving waste out àla bowel movement!!!