Does Constipation Cause Bloating?
However, sometimes, an underlying health condition can cause bloating and constipation. Talk with a doctor if you experience new, worse, or persistent bloating or other digestive symptoms.
This article explains the link between constipation and bloating, including other possible causes of your symptoms, treatment, prevention, and when to see a doctor.
In addition to bloating, other symptoms of constipation include:
- passing fewer than three bowel movements in a week
- passing hard, dry, or lumpy stools
- pain or difficulty passing stools
- feeling as if you haven’t passed all the stool
Read more about how often you should pass a bowel movement.
Other conditions can also contribute to bloating.
Other possible causes of bloating include medical conditions and daily habits, such as:
- swallowing air, such as from smoking, chewing gum, or eating quickly
- eating foods that contribute to gas, such as certain sweeteners, vegetables, dairy foods, and carbonated drinks
- acid reflux
- weight gain
Causes of constipation and bloating
Many other factors and health conditions can cause bloating and constipation, sometimes together. Examples include:
- mental health conditions, such as stress or depression
- metabolic conditions, such as diabetes
- hormonal changes or conditions, such as due to pregnancy, menstruation, or hypothyroidism
- pelvic floor disorders
- colon surgery
- brain or spinal cord conditions
- liver disease
- some cancers, such as colon, stomach, or ovarian cancer
Digestive and gastrointestinal conditions that may cause constipation and bloating include:
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- stool moving too slowly through the colon
- food intolerances
- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- anatomical or structural problems in the digestive tract
Lifestyle factors that may cause constipation and bloating include:
- older age
- changing your usual diet
- not eating enough fiber or drinking enough water
- not going to the toilet in response to bowel urges
- not getting enough physical activity
Also, some medications or a change in your medication routine can cause bloating or constipation. Talk with a doctor if you have symptoms of bloating or constipation.
Severe bloating or bloating due to a health condition may require medical treatment. General treatments to help improve constipation can include:
- bowel retraining to help build a habit of regular bowel movements
- over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as:
- fiber supplements
- stool softeners
- prescription medications, such as:
- linaclotide (Linzess)
- lubiprostone (Amitiza)
- prucalopride (Motegrity)
- biofeedback therapy to help retrain the muscles that control bowel movements
- surgery for blockages in the digestive tract or structural conditions such as rectal prolapse
General treatments to help improve bloating can include:
- over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications, such as simethicone (Alka-Seltzer Anti-Gas, Genasyme, Mylicon)
- charcoal capsules
- peppermint oil capsules
Always talk with a doctor or pharmacist before using new medications, supplements, or remedies, even if they are available OTC.
Your medical team may recommend stopping a medication or supplement if they believe those are causing your symptoms. Still, always talk with your doctor before stopping or changing your medication.
- getting regular physical activity
- getting enough fiber in your diet
- staying hydrated
- quitting smoking, if you smoke
- eating smaller, more frequent meals
- eating and drinking slowly, avoiding talking or keeping the mouth open while chewing
- massaging your stomach from right to left to help trapped wind move on
Avoiding potentially triggering foods and ingredients may also help, including:
Talk with a doctor if your symptoms continue despite trying these tips.
Contact a doctor for new, persistent, or worsening symptoms of bloating or constipation.
Also talk with a doctor if you have bloating or constipation alongside other symptoms or symptoms are affecting your daily life.
Sometimes, only a doctor can identify the underlying cause of your symptoms, and some causes may require medical care.
Constipation can cause bloating. This constipation may be due to another underlying health condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, hypothyroidism, or diabetes.
However, sometimes lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity levels, can also contribute to constipation and bloating. Also, not all bloating is linked to constipation.
To diagnose the cause of your symptoms, talk with a doctor. They can provide personalized treatment and advice to improve your symptoms.