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What causes constipation? - Heba Shaheed

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  • 4,299 Questions Answered
  • TEDEd Animation

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Visiting the bathroom is part of the daily human experience. But occasionally, constipation, a condition that causes a backup in your digestive system, strikes. In some especially uncomfortable cases, the food you eat can take several days to exit your body. What's behind this unsettling phenomenon? Heba Shaheed takes us into the digestive system to find out.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Heba Shaheed
  • Director Mimi Chiu
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Producer Aaron Augenblick, Jeremy Jusay
  • Animator Mimi Chiu
  • Composer Eric Matyas
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox, Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Fact-checker Francisco Diez
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Interested in learning more about constipation? Visit the Mayo Clinic site, which provides a detailed description of the physiology of chronic constipation.

Want to know why “vacation constipation” happens? Read this piece on The Atlantic, which reveals how your gut’s bacteria reacts to a new setting.

What is the difference between mechanical and chemical digestion? This TED-Ed lesson breaks down the different ways our bodies process and eliminate waste.

A large percentage of the world’s population does not have access to basic sanitary toilets. Watch this TED video on how communities grapple with this difficult reality.

If you want to find out more about pelvic health, visit The Pelvic Expert, which was co-founded by the educator.

Customize This Lesson

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Heba Shaheed
  • Director Mimi Chiu
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Producer Aaron Augenblick, Jeremy Jusay
  • Animator Mimi Chiu
  • Composer Eric Matyas
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox, Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Fact-checker Francisco Diez