What Are the Different Types of Constipation?

Constipation is divided into numerous categories by doctors. It can be helpful to know the many types of constipation so that you can select the right treatment for your case.

Constipation is a widespread intestinal problem that millions of individuals experience globally. It may result in difficult or infrequent bowel movements, which can cause pain, discomfort, and frustration.

Doctors categorise constipation into multiple categories based on the underlying cause and other variables. This post will discuss the many forms of constipation, their origins, signs, and available treatments.

Types of constipation

Primary constipation (sometimes called functional constipation) and secondary constipation are the two basic forms. Issues that directly impact your colon's ability to operate are the cause of primary constipation. Most often, another ailment is the cause of secondary constipation.

Primary (functional) constipation

Physicians further categorise primary constipation into several subcategories based on the aetiology of the illness. Let's get into more depth about them.

Normal transit constipation

The most prevalent kind of constipation is normal transit constipation. This type causes regular, regular stools to be produced by your colon, but it may still leave you feeling constipated and causing fewer frequent bowel movements.

Those who experience typical transit constipation could have:

  • difficult bowel movements
  • bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • hard stools

Slow transit constipation

Constipation on slow transportation is uncommon. It happens when stool passes through the colon slowly, which makes bowel motions infrequent and stool passage difficult. Colonic nerve problems could be the cause of this kind of constipation.

Outlet constipation

Pelvic floor dysfunction is the cause of outlet constipation. The muscles that support the uterus, bladder, and colon are part of the pelvic floor. Together with other symptoms, problems with these muscles might make it difficult to pass the faeces.

Idiopathic constipation

When a doctor is unable to determine the cause of your symptoms, they may diagnose you with idiopathic constipation. This prevalent ailment is typically chronic, or long-lasting. Idiopathic constipation patients may experience difficult, sporadic, or insufficient bowel motions.

Secondary constipation

You may experience secondary constipation as a result of your lifestyle, a drug you're taking, or an underlying medical problem.

Secondary constipation can have a variety of causes.

  • dehydration or inadequate hydration
  • metabolic disorders like hypothyroidism or diabetes
Side effects of medications, such as:
  • certain analgesics, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or opioids
  • iron supplements
  • some antidepressants
  • neurological disorders such as dementia, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease
  • muscular conditions like amyloidosis, myotonic dystrophy, and scleroderma
  • additional ailments, such as pelvic prolapse or colon cancer

How do doctors treat constipation by type?

The underlying reason for constipation determines the course of treatment.

Normal and slow transit constipation treatment

Treatments for these kinds of functional constipation frequently involve altering one's lifestyle, like:

  • consuming more foods high in fibre
  • consuming lots of water
  • obtaining adequate exercise
Additionally, you may try using over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives or fibre supplements. OTC laxatives might have harmful side effects, thus they shouldn't be used as a long-term remedy.

Outlet constipation treatment

Physical treatment is typically necessary to assist in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles to treat outlet constipation caused by pelvic floor injury. Medication or, in some situations, surgery, may be additional alternatives.

Idiopathic constipation treatment

A doctor may prescribe prescription-strength laxatives or other drugs, and in certain situations, surgery, to treat this kind of constipation.

Secondary constipation treatment

The primary cause of secondary constipation is typically addressed during treatment. For instance, you can change to another antidepressant or modify the dosage of an antidepressant to alleviate constipation brought on by the medicine.

In case treating the underlying reason proves to be insufficient or unfeasible, your physician may concentrate on relieving the symptoms of constipation. This will probably consist of:

  • medications
  • biofeedback therapy
  • surgery
  • physical therapy

When to contact a doctor

Anyone can experience occasional constipation. If this symptom lasts for a long period or keeps coming back, don't disregard it.

Additionally, if you experience any concerning symptoms in addition to constipation, such as:

  • blood in your stool
  • severe abdominal pain
  • unexplained weight loss

A medical expert can perform a comprehensive assessment to identify the underlying problem and offer the right course of action.


A mix of dietary adjustments, lifestyle changes, and medicinal therapies can help manage your symptoms and how they affect your day-to-day activities, whether you have primary or secondary constipation.

Consult a medical practitioner as soon as possible if your constipation is severe or ongoing.

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