No one wants to talk about constipation. It’s one of those things that everyone deals with at some point, but no one wants to admit to. But if we don’t talk about it, we can’t talk about the causes of constipation so we can learn how to prevent it.
After all, few things are more frustrating than when you’re doing all the “right” things—drinking plenty of fluids and eating lots of fiber—and you still find yourself all bound up and miserable. So let’s take a look at the top nine surprising causes of constipation that could be the hidden culprit behind your bound up belly.
Stress, spicy foods, sleeping position even LOW stomach acid can all cause heartburn. But if you’re still reaching for an antacid to relieve the discomfort, you could be causing constipation.
Many antacids that contain aluminum or calcium that can bind you up and make it difficult to have a bowel movement. So check the labels – and talk to a integrative physician about pinpointing the cause and cure for your heartburn without resorting to antacids, which not only can lead to constipation but are linked to nutritional deficiencies and even weak bones!
Our favorite heart-healthy indulgence may not be all that great for some people’s digestive tract. While some people find chocolate helps keep things moving, other people have the exact opposite experience.
Folks who have other digestive issues, such as those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome… tend to be the hardest hit by chocolate’s constipating effects. Researchers don’t yet know why up to an estimated 20 percent of the population may have trouble with chocolate, but if you’re doing everything else right and still dealing with constipation, try eliminating chocolate from your diet and see if that helps.
Cheese, milk, and yogurt can all be a healthy part of your diet – but they could be causes of constipation. It all depends on your body’s reactions to these foods and how much you’re eating.
The problem is it’s easy to replace high-fiber snacks with dairy ones, which means you end up getting less fiber. Eat dairy in moderation, and make sure to balance it with other, higher fiber foods.
Few folks realize it, but diabetes is a common culprit behind chronic constipation. You see diabetes and nerve damage go hand in hand and it’s that nerve damage that can lead to constipation.
When your diabetes is well controlled you’re chances of suffering from nerve issues drops and your constipation issues often ease too. If your diabetes isn’t under control talk to your doctor, and reassess your diet. As you reign those blood sugars back in chances are you will experience fewer constipation issues.
5. Heavy metal poisoning:
It tends to surprise most folks when we they learn they’re being exposed to heavy metals every single day. The truth is heavy metal can accumulate in your body from lots of different sources including paint, pipes, seafood and even the soil your food is grown in.
If your house is contaminated with lead, it doesn’t matter how much water you’re drinking, you could be making your constipation worse. If you suspect heavy metal poisoning might be behind your constipation issues ask your doctor about testing you for heavy metal exposure and natural heavy metal detox.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland stops working as effectively as it should. When this happens, your metabolism slows down – but so do other systems in your body, including your digestion. And when your digestive tract isn’t working efficiently, you end up constipated.
A number of people have a sluggish thyroid and don’t even know it.
Some common symptoms include…
- weight gain
- dry hair
- hair loss
- memory loss
- thinning eyebrows
- dry skin
If you suspect a slow thyroid may be at the center of your digestion issues make an appointment to see your doctor for a diagnosis.
How’s this for irony? Taking laxatives to prevent constipation can cause constipation.
Most laxatives work by stimulating the nerves in the colon. But your body can become dependent on that additional help and it stops creating the motion that keeps things moving along. Soon without the laxatives, you can’t have a bowel movement at all.
If this has become a problem, switch to fiber-based, bulking laxatives until your body has time to readjust. Click here for a list of 10 constipation relieving foods you can try.
Constipation is a common side effect of drugs. In fact it’s so common that there are far too many medications that could cause constipation to list them all here. However allergy medications, blood pressure medications, pain killers and antidepressants top the list.
If you’re taking a prescription or over-the-counter drug it could cause your digestive system to slow down and block up. So be sure to check the labels on anything you’re taking, from a new prescription to your seasonal standby.
Living healthy often means taking vitamins and supplements to balance out our nutrition, and we wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. However, keep in mind some supplements—the metals iron and calcium are two of the most common—can cause constipation.
Don’t stop taking them, obviously, but be sure to stock up on plenty of high-fiber foods, and take them with plenty of water. Slow release formulas can often help too. If you are still having trouble talk with a doctor skilled in natural medicine about other solutions.
There. Now we’ve talked about some of the surprising causes of constipation, so you don’t have to. You can just take the information and get moving again, comfortably.
Listen, we get it. Poop isn’t anyone’s favorite subject. But the truth is it IS an important topic. In fact our poop can tell us all kinds of things about our health, even serving as an early-warning sign of a serious problem.
To find out what YOUR poop is saying about your own health click here to take our quick, and easy, Poop Quiz.