Obesity

Is There a Link Between Constipation and Weight Gain?

Research has revealed several links between obesity and specific physical and psychological disorders, however relatively little attention has been paid to the possible associations weight gain and obesity may have with general health issues, such as constipation. Can constipation lead to weight gain, or vice-versa? This article tries to gain further insight on the topic.

How Constipation and Weight Gain are Related

A condition where the number of bowel movements is less than three per week is known as constipation. The stool becomes hard and it is excreted out of the body in partial and painful manner. A sense of discomfort can prevail, owing to the incomplete bowel excretion.

Though the link between constipation and weight gain is a topic of debate, certain research studies have proposed that constipation can actually be a cause of weight gain. The reason cited for this is  that constipation can slow down the body’s metabolic rate, leading to fewer calories being burned and thus resulting in weight gain.  Accumulation of fecal matter and water retention in the colon are also believed to cause weight gain, which is likely temporary.

How to Beat the Problem of Constipation and Weight Gain?

Fortunately, these two conditions are such that treatment of one can help alleviate the other, as well:

  • Foods rich in fiber can make the passage of feces smoother, treating constipation. High fiber diets are also helpful in losing weight because they tend to keep you feeling fuller longer.
  • Regular exercise can reduce weight, improve the process of digestion and, in turn, treat constipation.
  • Drinking more water will help add bulk and fluid to stools, which may help relieve constipation. Additionally, drinking a glass of water before each meal can help you feel fuller in less time, thereby helping you eat less and lose weight.
  • Make sure to go to the bathroom when you feel the urge – don’t wait.

In short, there are many things you can do at home to treat both constipation and overweight. Much of the time, lifestyle and diet are the causes of constipation, however, if you have chronic constipation or feel that there is a deeper underlying cause, make sure to see your doctor. Gaining knowledge, identifying the cause and addressing of the issue in a timely manner can help your prevent or treat constipation-related complications in the future.

References

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/constipation/

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003125.htm

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