Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why am I experiencing frequent constipation?"
I am a 20 year old full-time student with a history of yo-yo dieting. It seems that when I am restricting my diet, I am constantly constipated despite eating plenty of fiber and drinking a lot of water. In addition to constipation, I have stomach cramps, bloating, and gas. Is my diet to blame for this, and how can I relieve my constipation without the use of laxatives?
Chronic constipation is a condition that should definitely be checked out by your primary care doctor, as there are several possible medical causes. Common causes of constipation include problems with an imbalance in the thyroid gland, which can be checked with simple blood tests. Other symptoms of thyroid problems include changes in weight, changes in hair and skin, and mood changes. Another common cause is lactose intolerance, which is commonly known for causing cramping and diarrhea with the ingestion of dairy products,but can also cause instead chronic constipation. Celiac disease is a very common disease in the United States and it is caused by an allergic reaction to the gluten proteins that are found in wheat and related grain products. It can cause chronic fatigue, skin rashes, abdominal pain, and constipation. Finally, irritable bowel syndrome is a condition in which either constipation and diarrhea together with pain and bloating wax and wane, often in associate with emotional stress. Fortunately, all of these conditions can be diagnosed and treated. In order to get a definitive diagnosis, it is important to talk to your primary care doctor, who will perform a physical examination and may also decide blood work or specialized tests are needed.
Need more info?See a doctor today
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.