Getting Constipation Despite A Regular Diet: A Gastroenterologist Explains

Portrait of Dr Wai Leong Quan
Dr Wai Leong Quan

April 13th, 2019· 5 min read

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Constipation is such a common condition that to many people, it is a passing and temporary occurrence not to be worried about.

We know that diet is a major cause of constipation. By eating foods that aggravate the digestive system and compromise the digestion process, constipation is typically a symptom that follows.

However, many healthy eaters who pay attention to their daily diets have also experienced constipation.

A Human reader had constipation for two weeks in a row, despite taking a daily meal which includes green tea, low glycemic index bread, brown rice, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables to complement her lean food regimen.

Gastroenterologist Dr Quan Wai Leong discussed some possible causes of constipation people can have, even with a healthy diet. Here's what he had to share.

Fibre intake may cause different responses in different people

vegetables at a market

Constipation is a common condition encountered by many of us from time to time. While dietary fibre is known to encourage proper bowel movement, people have different responses to fibre intake in some instances. [1]

Dietary fibre is typically great for digestion

long beans in a pan

Dietary fibre is considered vital for the wellbeing of the digestive system. It can help bowel movement by forming the bulk which encourages proper bowel muscle contraction.

Additionally, fibre encourages friendly gut bacteria to grow, maintaining gut health. [2]

However, insufficient water could lead to problems with passing stool

a man drinking water and exercising

Fibre is a great digestive solution, provided that there is also sufficient water intake. Water helps retain the soft texture of the bulk that forms from dietary fibre, so too much fibre with not enough water can sometimes result in hard stools. Paradoxically, this can aggravate constipation. [3]

Sometimes, constipation is caused by slow gut movement

a mans left eye

Aside from insufficient water intake, constipation can also be caused by gut movement that is slower than usual. This may be due to a lack of exercise, irritable bowel syndrome, side effects from medication recently taken, or supplements that contain high doses of calcium and iron. [4]

Other symptoms, such as weight loss, could indicate other complications

a man on a weighing scale

It is also important to closely observe your condition for other associated symptoms. Significant weight loss, a change of bowel calibre, or having black and blood-stained stools are all indications that there may be a serious problem with your digestive tract, in which case, it is important that you go for a proper evaluation immediately. [5]

Constipation can be an annoying condition that wears off over time. It can be caused by many factors and it may even be followed by other symptoms or complications.

Monitoring symptoms as they fade and noting if constipation lasts longer than usual is helpful. Ask your doctor if anything seems unusual or there are a combination of symptoms occurring together with constipation.

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I hope that you've found this guide useful, and perhaps gained more insight into the application process. Most of the admissions-related information (admin and logistics wise) can be found on the official NUS Faculty of Dentistry website.

To help yourself out, you should take note of what people look for when they look for a dentist.

This article was written by Dr Wai Leong Quan and published on Wednesday, 25 January 2017. Human medically reviewed the article on Wednesday, 25 January 2017. The last update was made on Friday, 18 September 2020.

Disclaimer: Opinions belong to the author and not to the platform.

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