Beyond a lack of fibre, what causes constipation?

If you’ve been sitting on the toilet for long enough that your Instagram feed says “you’re all caught up,” you’re probably suffering from constipation. Pooping should take no longer than a minute. Constipation is commonly associated with an inability to poop (along with less-than-fun side symptoms like stomach tightness and gas), but it is possible to be constipated and yet have a bowel movement every day.

“I see this daily in my gastroenterology practise; patients who poop at least once a day can’t possibly imagine that they’re constipated,” Will Bulsiewicz, MD, author of Fiber Fueled, previously told Well+G. “The reason that they’re suffering from abdominal discomfort, gas and bloating, a distended stomach, nausea, loss of appetite, or even acid reflux is actually constipation.”

In either event, if constipation is a regular occurrence for you, you may count on your G.I. doctor to inquire about your fibre consumption. Fiber, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and other foods, is essential for proper digestion and gut health. However, if you’re sure you’re receiving enough soluble and insoluble fibre, Dr. Bulsiewicz believes there could be other reasons for your constipation. He lists the top five he notices here.

Constipation is caused by a variety of factors. According to a G.I. medic, there are five stealthy triggers:

1. It’s possible that you’re using a prescription or supplement that’s causing the problem.

Check your medicine cupboard if you can’t figure out why you’re constipated, according to Dr. Bulsiewicz. “Prescription pain drugs are the most common cause of constipation,” he explains. (He adds that over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil and Tylenol don’t have the same constipating effect.) Blood pressure medication, according to Dr. Bulsiewicz, is another typical cause. Some antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs are the same way. “Another common medicine that might cause constipation is antihistamines,” he notes. Supplements, not only drugs, can cause constipation. Calcium, according to Dr. Bulsiewicz, is the most important factor.

All of these drugs can produce constipation for a variety of reasons. Blood pressure medicine, for example, relaxes blood vessel muscles, as well as the muscles in the gut, which can produce constipation, according to Dr. Bulsiewicz. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines impact gut nerve endings, causing constipation in certain people.

If you’re experiencing constipation as a result of a prescription or supplement, Dr. Bulsiewicz recommends taking a magnesium supplement, a vitamin associated to easing constipation. In fact, he claims that most calcium supplements already contain magnesium.

2. You spend too much time sitting.

Another cause of constipation, according to Dr. Bulsiewicz, is a work that requires you to sit for the most of the day. (Unfortunately, you won’t be able to collect workers’ compensation for this one.) “When you move, your gut moves,” he explains.

Going for a walk after lunch—or really any time during the workday—can help speed up the digestive process. The most important message is to just get moving in order to get things moving.

3. Constipation is a symptom of hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland does not produce enough of certain vital hormones, and one of the adverse effects is constipation. It’s one of the most prevalent symptoms of the illness, according to Dr. Bulsiewicz. Hormones play an important role in digestion, so if your thyroid isn’t producing enough of what you need for your body to function correctly, your gut will suffer as well.

If you’re constipated on a frequent basis and think it might be related to your thyroid, make an appointment with your general care physician or an endocrinologist who can run blood tests to examine your hormone levels.

4. It could be due to a problem with your pelvic floor.

Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors, including pelvic floor dysfunction, which Dr. Bulsiewicz says he sees frequently in his patients. “If someone is straining to go or doesn’t feel like they’re getting everything out,” he says, “that could be a clue that something is wrong with their pelvic floor.” “Passing a little bowel shouldn’t need much effort.”

To actually know if pelvic floor dysfunction is the cause of your constipation, you’ll need a doctor’s diagnosis, so make an appointment for tests rather than attempting to self-diagnose. This, like the other reasons of constipation on this list, has simple remedies, such as pelvic floor exercises or medicine.

5. Constipation is a common side effect of pregnancy.

The last type of constipation that Dr. Bulsiewicz wants more people to be aware of is pregnant constipation. Constipation, like having to pee more, is something you may expect to feel as you grow into a human. Hormone fluctuations are one reason why pregnancy can cause constipation. “Progesterone increases muscle relaxation during pregnancy, and your bowels are made up of smooth muscle. As a result, elevated progesterone causes the smooth muscle in the colon to relax and become less active, increasing the risk of constipation “Temeka Zore, MD, an OB/GYN, previously told Well+Good. Increased iron consumption is another factor. While increasing your intake of this vitamin is helpful during pregnancy, it can cause constipation.

Dr. Zore suggests drinking plenty of water, going for short walks (if you’re able), and taking a magnesium supplement if you’re pregnant and suffering constipation.

As you can see, constipation has a wide range of causes that aren’t always related to what you eat. Also, keep in mind that you are not required to play detective on your own. An appointment with a gastroenterologist can also help you figure out what’s causing your constipation. A doctor can help you figure out what’s causing your pain and provide answers. You’ll be able to spend less time on the toilet and more time actually living life.

Hello everyone! You appear to enjoy free workouts, savings on cult-favorite wellness brands, and access to unique Well+Good content. Sign up for Well+, our online network of wellness insiders, and you’ll have quick access to your rewards.

These products have been hand-picked by our editors. If you make a purchase using our links, Well+Good may receive a commission.

Leave a Comment