ZocdocAnswersCan constipation result in weight gain?

Question

Can constipation result in weight gain?

I'm a middle aged guy and for the last year I have really started packing on the pounds. I have also had chronic constipation. I do my best to take lots of water and fiber, and I sometimes use laxatives if that's not enough, but I'm concerned that constipation may be causing waste and fats to just build up inside me.

Answer

Constipation is defined as the infrequent passage of hard stools or the inability to pass stools without straining. If bowel movements are relatively infrequent, this may cause your weight to fluctuate a bit, say 5 pounds or so, from retained stool. However, the stool does eventually come out and, except in the most extreme of situations, does not sit around and contribute to sustained weight gain (despite what some of the colon cleansing TV ads claim!). However, if the constipation is a relatively new thing for you, or if it started at about the same time as the weight gain, then it is very important to investigate whether there may be an underlying general medical condition which is causing both of these symptoms. For example, problems of the thyroid gland can cause both weight gain and constipation. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor is highly recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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