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Constipation With Nausea- Causes, Management, and Complications

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Individuals with constipation may also suffer from other symptoms, such as abdominal pain or nausea. Read below to know how these are related.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Published At May 25, 2023
Reviewed AtJanuary 12, 2024

Introduction:

Constipation is a common condition that affects many people, and it can be accompanied by a range of symptoms. One of the most common symptoms of constipation is nausea, which is a feeling of sickness in the stomach that may be accompanied by vomiting. While it may not immediately seem clear how constipation and nausea are related, there is a clear link between the two. Constipation is a common gastrointestinal problem in India, and it is estimated that up to 14 % of the Indian population experiences chronic constipation.

Constipation-related nausea may be more common in certain populations in India, such as older adults, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Constipation can be related to nausea in several ways. When a person is constipated, it means that their bowel movements are infrequent or difficult to pass, which can lead to a buildup of stool in the rectum. This buildup of stool can put pressure on the intestines and stomach, which can cause discomfort and pain. This discomfort and pain can extend to other parts of the body, including the stomach, which can lead to feelings of nausea.

Furthermore, when stool remains in the colon for an extended period, it can cause bacteria to produce gas, which can cause bloating and discomfort. This can also lead to feelings of nausea, especially if the gas buildup is significant.

In addition to the physical pressure and gas buildup that constipation can cause, there are other factors that can contribute to nausea. For example, when a person is constipated, they may experience a decreased appetite, as their body is not able to digest food properly. This can cause feelings of nausea, as the body is not getting the nutrients it needs to function properly.

What Are the Causes of Constipation?

Constipation can have various causes, including:

  • Inadequate Fluid Intake: Not drinking enough water or other fluids can lead to dehydration, which can cause constipation.

  • Low-fiber Diet: A diet low in fiber can cause constipation. Fiber helps add bulk to stool and promotes regular bowel movements.

  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity or prolonged sitting can slow down bowel movements and contribute to constipation.

  • Certain Medications: Certain medications, such as opioid painkillers, antidepressants, and antacids, can cause constipation.

  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hypothyroidism, or neurological disorders, can cause constipation.

  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and increased pressure on the bowels during pregnancy can cause constipation.

  • Ignoring the Urge to Have a Bowel Movement: Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can lead to constipation.

  • Aging: As people age, the digestive system may slow down, leading to constipation.

Does Constipation With Nausea Affect Daily Life?

Yes, constipation causing nausea can have a significant impact on a person's everyday life. Nausea can cause discomfort and a loss of appetite, making it difficult to eat and perform daily activities. Additionally, constipation can cause bloating and abdominal pain, which can further impact a person's quality of life.

Chronic constipation can also have a significant impact on a person's mental health, leading to anxiety and depression. The discomfort and embarrassment associated with constipation and nausea can cause social isolation and may affect a person's ability to work or perform daily tasks.

Untreated or chronic constipation related to nausea can lead to several complications, including:

  • Hemorrhoids: Straining during bowel movements can cause hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the anus and rectum. Hemorrhoids can be painful and may cause bleeding.

  • Fecal Impaction: This occurs when a large mass of dry, hard stool becomes stuck in the rectum and cannot be passed. Fecal impaction can cause severe pain, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Anal Fissures: Chronic constipation can cause anal fissures, which are small tears in the tissue lining the anus. Anal fissures can be painful and can cause bleeding.

  • Rectal Prolapse: Straining during bowel movements can cause the rectum to protrude through the anus. Rectal prolapse can be painful and may require surgery.

  • Colon Cancer: While rare, chronic constipation may increase the risk of colon cancer, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as blood in the stool, weight loss, or abdominal pain.

  • Malnutrition: Chronic constipation can cause a decreased appetite, which can lead to malnutrition if not properly managed.

What Is the Treatment for Constipation Causing Nausea?

Constipation causing nausea can be treated with a combination of lifestyle changes, over-the-counter remedies, and prescription medications. Below are some of the common treatments for constipation causing nausea:

  • Lifestyle Changes: Eating a diet high in fiber and drinking plenty of water can help alleviate constipation and reduce nausea. Regular exercise and stress reduction techniques, such as meditation or yoga, may also be beneficial.

  • Over-The-Counter Remedies: Over-the-counter laxatives, such as fiber supplements, stool softeners, and laxative stimulants, can help alleviate constipation. Anti-nausea medications, such as ginger supplements or over-the-counter medications like Meclizine or Dimenhydrinate, can also help alleviate nausea.

  • Prescription Medications: In severe cases of constipation or nausea, prescription medications may be necessary. Prescription laxatives, such as Lubiprostone or Linaclotide, may be prescribed to alleviate constipation. Prescription anti-nausea medications, such as Ondansetron or Prochlorperazine, may also be prescribed to alleviate nausea.

  • Medical Procedures: In cases of severe constipation, medical procedures may be necessary to remove impacted stool. These procedures may include manual disimpaction, enemas, or suppositories.

Several lifestyle changes and habits can help prevent constipation and reduce the risk of nausea. Here are some tips for preventing constipation related to nausea:

  • Drink Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated can help prevent constipation and reduce the risk of nausea. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

  • Eat a High-fiber Diet: Eating a diet high in fiber can help prevent constipation. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet.

  • Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity can help keep your bowels moving and prevent constipation. Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes.

  • Manage Stress: Stress can contribute to constipation and nausea. Practice stress-reducing techniques, such as meditation or yoga.

  • Do Not Ignore the Urge to Have a Bowel Movement: Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can lead to constipation. Make time for regular bowel movements, and do not delay if felt the urge to go.

  • Avoid Medications That Can Cause Constipation: Certain medications, such as opioid painkillers or antidepressants, can cause constipation. Talk to the doctor about alternative medications or strategies to prevent constipation if you are taking these medications.

Conclusion:

Constipation can cause nausea and lead to several complications if left untreated. However, with the right treatment and lifestyle changes, constipation-related nausea can be managed effectively. It is essential to eat a high-fiber diet, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and manage stress to prevent constipation and reduce the risk of nausea. Additionally, if a person experiences chronic or severe constipation, it is important to seek medical attention to prevent complications. With proper treatment and prevention strategies, constipation-related nausea can be managed, and you can improve your overall quality of life.

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Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)

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