1

votes

Acute constipation out of nowhere? Advice and tips, please!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

I'm female, mid 20s, ~100 lbs, lean and fit. I eat very well, no processed foods or sugar, lots of proteins and fats and veggies, drink at least 2 liters of water a day, work out 5 days a week, eat paleo about 95% of the time (the other 5% being the occasional yogurt).

I usually have a BM every day after breakfast and coffee / tea. My chronic constipation started two weeks ago when I came back from a weekend vacation and since then I've only gone twice, and both times were difficult and incomplete BMs. It's never been this bad.

There hasn't been any changes in diet, though on my trip I did eat some dim sum which was the first time I had eaten anything with a significant amount of flour / gluten in a long, long time. My morning breakfast usually consists of a kimchi omelette and tea, and lunch and dinner will be protein and veggies. The only change I can think of is that I have started to eat more peas, but that happened after I became irregular. I also had started drinking coffee every morning a couple months ago, but I stopped that a few days after I became irregular as well.

Things I've tried: eating prunes (I've been eating like 10-15 a day the past week with no luck) and papaya, eating more pickled stuff like beets and pickles, eating more yogurt and probiotic drinks, eating more coconut oil and olive oil, cutting down on protein and upping my veggie intake even more, walking more, and squatting on the toilet.

Nothing has helped so far. I just took two Ducolax stool softeners in hopes that I'll go tomorrow. I really would like to avoid resorting to taking a laxative, because I'm worried about forming laxative dependency.

My fear is that this seemingly came out of nowhere, and even if I am able to have a BM tomorrow I'm afraid it may happen again despite my healthy diet. It's causing me a lot of anxiety and it's interfering with my life - I feel so uncomfortable that I haven't gone out and my workouts have decreased - I've had to stop plyo and just do weight training. Could it be the coffee? Something I ate on vacation that screwed up my digestion? Are the peas making it worse? Is it psychological? Now every morning when I eat breakfast I stress out because I want to go but I can't.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there. Eat more fiber, reduce fat. Less fiber, more fat. Fiber isn't important, you need more probiotics. Etc.

I've never been constipated for this long before. So what really works for you to stay regular and what tips do you have? What do you do that works for you when you get constipated?

* EDIT- Just wanted to update on my pooping situation and hopefully help anyone who might be in the same situation as I was. I was able go last week!! The night before the big event happened (teehee) I took 2 Dulcolax, coconut oil, had some salmon sashimi and papaya. The morning that I pooped, I had taken a tablespoon of olive oil and eaten an omelette with some black tea for breakfast. After breakfast I felt the urge to go, and it was successful! The next few days I actually lowered my fiber intake. I've started eating more salmon (cooked and uncooked), and taking a tablespoon of olive oil before making and eating my breakfast (one fried egg, sunny side up) in the mornings. I've also started mixing ground flaxseed and cocoa powder in with a small serving of regular yogurt and having that daily. The past 7 days have been regular with a BM every morning, thank god. I upped my water intake slightly as well, from 2.2 L to about 3 L / day.

Things I've learned from doing hours of research on the web: - Magnesium is important for bowel movements. Something about it helping to draw water into the intestines. Almonds are a good source of magnesium, as is cocoa powder. I had stopped eating almonds around the same time this happened, but I'm not sure if it's a correlation or causation. Nonetheless, I'm still not eating almonds but I've been consuming more cocoa powder and 99% chocolate, and I've been regular. - Good fats are important for bowel movements as well. Apparently bile is the body's "natural laxative", and consuming olive oil stimulates bile flow. Good thing I love the taste of straight up olive oil.

I still haven't pinpointed the reason why this case of acute constipation popped up. Was it something I ate? Was it caused by subconscious stress / anxiety? All I know is that it was very mentally and physically distressing. It was mentally distressing because I hadn't changed my diet and I was eating very well, and I couldn't understand why my body just decided to stop functioning properly for no apparently reason. It was physically distressing because I looked ridiculously preggers, and I couldn't work out because it was so uncomfortable. Sometimes, sh*t just happens I guess (pun very much intended).

So I hope this helps others who may be encountering this problem! :)

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on October 06, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Thanks, me too!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 05, 2012
at 07:51 PM

Good to hear that you are back on track!

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on October 02, 2012
at 01:25 AM

:-) Good luck!!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 29, 2012
at 05:52 PM

You can make your own. You know what really helps me? Raw beets. They are more powerful than anything else I tried (WARNING: don't eat them in the morning, eat them at night).

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 04:55 PM

Thanks! Unfortunately I can't find kefir where I'm living right now. I've been also eating more raw salmon for protein and increasing my olive oil intake. Hopefully something happens soon ...

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 04:51 PM

I've heard that about bananas too, even though they're usually recommended as one of the fruits to relieve constipation. I wonder why.

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 04:43 PM

I googled and found that almonds and chocolate are high in magnesium. I have some 99% chocolate everyday but I recently have cut out almonds. Never thought that I may be low in magnesium. Thanks, I think this may be a contributing factor!

75e8ceee00e2459860ea38220a3a8118

(276)

on September 29, 2012
at 11:13 AM

Mine too, but I find coffee helps prevent the sinus headaches I used to get, and figure it's better than (other) drugs. However, now that I'm gluten-free, I'm hoping my sinus issues will clear up, and I'll be able to cut back on my 2 coffees. I'd avoid bananas too; many people find them binding.

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 06:37 AM

I will try cutting out the peas, but I'm trying to avoid adding in the coffee, because I think my body may have started to depend on the coffee to go.

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 06:35 AM

Thanks, that helps me feel a bit better about taking a laxative if it comes down to it!

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 06:34 AM

I am definitely going to the doctor if it doesn't resolve itself within the next week. However, it's hard to find a good doctor where I am ... I'm currently living in Asia right now and it's difficult to find an English speaking doctor.

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 06:32 AM

I agree with you that it may be mental. I get anxious pretty easily, so that may be it. Trying to avoid taking laxatives like magnesium citrate, but I may have it if it doesn't come out soon!

4a3611b0503cbc5ee14d8d1d566c7f44

(124)

on September 28, 2012
at 08:19 PM

I've been having the same problem and I'm using the magnesium citrate with good results. I still wonder what caused this sudden change. I have a great diet. I shouldn't need to take something.

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7 Answers

7
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 28, 2012
at 03:30 PM

Magnesium is a great way to get things going. Any drug store sells liquid magnesium citrate, which should do the trick.

The other usual advice is water, veggies, exercise, which you seem to have pretty well covered.

Vacations are notorious for backing me up, but I think it is more mental than anything. I just prefer the comfort of my own home.

4a3611b0503cbc5ee14d8d1d566c7f44

(124)

on September 28, 2012
at 08:19 PM

I've been having the same problem and I'm using the magnesium citrate with good results. I still wonder what caused this sudden change. I have a great diet. I shouldn't need to take something.

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 06:32 AM

I agree with you that it may be mental. I get anxious pretty easily, so that may be it. Trying to avoid taking laxatives like magnesium citrate, but I may have it if it doesn't come out soon!

1
1963db946ae415764d9044222fbf4c5b

on September 29, 2012
at 10:48 AM

Try cutting out the eggs for a few days. More fish and fruit (bananas?). And take a magnesium supplement, most people are deficient!

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 04:43 PM

I googled and found that almonds and chocolate are high in magnesium. I have some 99% chocolate everyday but I recently have cut out almonds. Never thought that I may be low in magnesium. Thanks, I think this may be a contributing factor!

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 29, 2012
at 06:35 AM

Here is an answer from somebody else - hope it helps:

http://eugenia.queru.com/2011/11/15/fixing-constipation/

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 29, 2012
at 05:52 PM

You can make your own. You know what really helps me? Raw beets. They are more powerful than anything else I tried (WARNING: don't eat them in the morning, eat them at night).

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 04:55 PM

Thanks! Unfortunately I can't find kefir where I'm living right now. I've been also eating more raw salmon for protein and increasing my olive oil intake. Hopefully something happens soon ...

1
75e8ceee00e2459860ea38220a3a8118

on September 28, 2012
at 04:06 PM

Your original diet is excellent! I'd omit the peas for now and add back in the coffee, and 300 mg/day of magnesium citrate. (I would also recommend colon hydrotherapy, but apparently that's not Paleo, so I'm re-thinking it.)

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 04:51 PM

I've heard that about bananas too, even though they're usually recommended as one of the fruits to relieve constipation. I wonder why.

75e8ceee00e2459860ea38220a3a8118

(276)

on September 29, 2012
at 11:13 AM

Mine too, but I find coffee helps prevent the sinus headaches I used to get, and figure it's better than (other) drugs. However, now that I'm gluten-free, I'm hoping my sinus issues will clear up, and I'll be able to cut back on my 2 coffees. I'd avoid bananas too; many people find them binding.

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 06:37 AM

I will try cutting out the peas, but I'm trying to avoid adding in the coffee, because I think my body may have started to depend on the coffee to go.

1
194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 28, 2012
at 03:31 PM

Fiber, oil (fat), probiotics...

doctor.

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 06:34 AM

I am definitely going to the doctor if it doesn't resolve itself within the next week. However, it's hard to find a good doctor where I am ... I'm currently living in Asia right now and it's difficult to find an English speaking doctor.

0
76211ec5301087de2588cfe3d6bccba9

(1178)

on October 04, 2012
at 02:09 PM

the regular caffeine intake could easily be masking a more chronic constipation problem, since it's a stimulant and usually assists everyone's morning BM. you might want to experiment with living decaf.

0
1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on September 28, 2012
at 03:54 PM

To stay regular I do much of what you do - hydrate, probiotic foods, fiberous fruits (especially apples and oranges) and veg...with regard to your issue:

If you've only gone twice in two weeks and the laxative doesn't help or produces more "difficult" or "incomplete" BMs, you might consider seeing a physician (ideally a paleo-friendly, or at least open-minded doc). I don't think laxatives generally produce dependence used for acute issues (I had a paleo friend who desperately needed one for uncharacteristic - for her - constipation during the last trimester of pregnancy...she took it then, and only then). Most constipation remedies I've seen even at hospitals for in-patients tend to be rather innocuous like milk of magnesia, docusate na, or soap-suds enemas. Rarely anything extreme.

23a240b30b8622fed011ccbd4054fac2

(489)

on September 29, 2012
at 06:35 AM

Thanks, that helps me feel a bit better about taking a laxative if it comes down to it!

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on October 02, 2012
at 01:25 AM

:-) Good luck!!

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