Welcome to Lisanne Wellness Center Education Series, today we are talking about the link between hypothyroidism and constipation, and what you can do to lower your risk of both
Hypothyroidism is a challenging disease to manage and live with. It has a plethora of symptoms and issues, many of which might have an impact on your gut health in various ways. Constipation is a common symptom.
While constipation is an annoying and often painful condition, it can be a relatively easy one to manage. There are numerous of over-the-counter and at-home therapy options available, as well as professionals to assist if those do not work. The first step in treating your condition, like with any medical issue, is to determine what is causing it.
Hypothyroidism and Constipation
Constipation is frequently caused by one of two factors: your digestive system isn’t working properly or you’re dehydrated. Your intestines are muscles that carry food through your bowels via muscle contractions. The digestive process suffers when these contractions are not as forceful or as often as they should be.If you have hypothyroidism, you may experience constipation. This is because hypothyroidism causes several of your body’s processes, including your digestive system, to slow down. Stool becomes harder and more compacted as digestion slows.
Hypothyroidism can cause constipation in a variety of ways. Because hypothyroidism affects many areas of your body, merely mentioning they are linked is not enough. Identifying the cause of your constipation will help with treatment. These are some examples:
- An underactive thyroid can decrease gut motility.
- Hypothyroidism increases the risk of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). An overabundance of bacteria can impede digestion and disrupt absorption. Those suffering from SIBO frequently experience alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea.
- Your intestines may be inflamed, interfering with absorption and causing constipation.
- People with hypothyroidism are more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which could be causing constipation.
- Certain medications can induce or aggravate constipation. Check the meds you’re taking for this side effect.
Typically, the cause for your constipation will determine which treatment is best for you.
There are numerous symptoms that can indicate a constipation problem, but not all of them are evident. Among these symptoms are:
- Strained and/or painful bowel movement
- Nonexistent bowel movement
- Abdominal bloating
- Hard stools
- Irregular bowel movements or a long time between them
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
Depending on the severity of your constipation, dietary adjustments or over-the-counter medicines and treatments may suffice. If your constipation is severe, you should contact a doctor for medical intervention such as stronger medications, diagnostic testing, or even surgery.
Aside from medical issues, your diet has a substantial impact on your gut health. Even if you have a condition that causes constipation, you can alleviate the symptoms by eating a gut healthy, high-fiber diet. In certain circumstances, this may be sufficient to completely eliminate your symptoms!
A gut healthy diet has several characteristics. All of them contribute to better gut health and regular bowel movements. These features are as follows:
- High fiber diet
- Increase intake of fruits and vegetables
- Limiting intake of processed foods
- Hydration – drinking plenty of water
- Nutrient-dense diet with high vitamins and minerals
- Limiting intake of unsaturated fats
- Probiotics – via supplements or foods (yogurt)
While a plant-based diet is the healthiest for your gut health, you can still eat meat. Low-fat meats, such as chicken or fish, are recommended.
Aside from simply controlling what you eat, you can also consider adopting a pre-established diet plan, such as the leaky gut diet or the Mediterranean diet. Both of these are excellent choices for gut health. Because some vitamins and nutrients contribute directly to thyroid health, these diets can also help with hypothyroidism.
When beginning a gut healthy diet, you may want to make changes gradually over a few weeks rather than all at once. Excessive dietary change can result in symptoms such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
To support you through dietary changes, you can try adding a high-quality supplement like Vitagenis’ Lowsitol. Lowsitol is a unique blend of 10 ingredients designed to support healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. It offers a natural source of beneficial probiotics and dietary fiber, both of which support a healthy appetite by reducing carbohydrate cravings, aid in weight management, and reestablish a balanced gut microbiome.
Over-the-Counter Medications and Treatment
There are several home remedies for constipation. These options include both supplements and medications. It is beneficial to understand the cause of your constipation. If you’re not sure what’s causing your constipation, try a few different things until you find something that works.
Many pharmacies and department stores have a wide variety of over-the-counter medications. As a first choice, stool softeners and lubricants can be used, but gut stimulants are available over the counter if those do not work.
You should avoid taking over-the-counter medications for an extended period of time since your body can become dependent on them. It is best to consult your doctor if you are experiencing a long-term problem.
A daily multivitamin might assist with constipation, but supplements aimed specifically toward gut health can be even more beneficial. Vitagenis Colon Support is designed to improve gut mobility, which is especially beneficial in alleviating constipation caused by hypothyroidism. If your hypothyroidism is impacting your gut microbiome, Colon Restore can also help.
There are other supplements that may be beneficial to you in alleviating and supporting a healthy GI tract microbiome. One of which is FloraMax by Vitagenis. This potent probiotic is formulated with four well-researched and proven strains of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics have numerous documented health advantages.
They enhance metabolic processes and support efficient nutrient absorption. This formula aids in reestablishing beneficial bacteria populations, helping to maintain a healthy, balanced GI tract microbiome. FloraMax also promotes bowel regularity and optimal immunological function.
Exercise is beneficial to your general health and can help with constipation, particularly when induced by hypothyroidism. Endorphins that all of your systems, including your thyroid.
When you exercise, your heart rate and breathing increases, which causes the rest of your body’s systems to speed up. This has the effect of improving your gut motility naturally. Additionally, boosting your heart rate and breathing activates the muscles in your intestines, allowing your stool to pass easier.
It is preferable to wait at least an hour after eating before exercising to relieve constipation. This allows your food to travel out of your stomach and into your intestines for maximum results. Aerobic and stretching exercises are top options for gut health.
If you constipation is severe or chronic, medical intervention may be required. Taking over-the-counter medication for an extended period of time is not recommended. If your constipation is that severe, there are likely other options that may work better for you that a doctor can prescribe.
Doctors can determine the root cause of your constipation in addition to prescribing medications. As previously stated, even though hypothyroidism is the root cause of your constipation, there may be several other, more specific root causes. A doctor can order a variety of tests, including the following:
- Colonoscopy and other exploratory procedures
- Blood tests
These tests help determine whether your gastrointestinal difficulties are caused only by hypothyroidism or if there is a secondary condition at work.
Surgery may be considered in more severe situations. This is true if your intestines contain a blockage, fistula, or a stricture (narrowing) that is causing your constipation. If this is the case, you will most likely notice an improvement following your procedure.
Constipation and Fertility
While constipation may not directly influence fertility, it is linked to a number of conditions that can. This may include:
- Gut conditions
- Uterine fibroids
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Celiac disease
These conditions can impair gut motility for a variety of reasons. Fertility can be influenced by the conditions itself or perhaps exacerbated by your digestive symptoms in specific instances and depending on gender.
How Constipation Affects Female Fertility
Women’s fertility is more complicated than men. As a result, determining how the aforementioned conditions affect your fertility is a considerably more difficult question. While some of these conditions are more obvious, such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis, others are not.
IBS and Celiac disease are frequently accompanied by other conditions that impact fertility. Women who have endometriosis, for example, are more likely to have IBS than women who do not. In some cases, the link exists, although it is indirect. Because IBS is associated with a slightly higher rate of miscarriage and pregnancy complications (such as ectopic pregnancy), you should notify your doctor if you notice any changes in your symptoms.
Hypothyroidism is a little trickier. Because an underactive thyroid slows numerous biological activities, your reproductive system may suffer as well. It can disrupt your body’s ability to release eggs into your uterus, which may or may not result in irregular periods. Fortunately, many women with hypothyroidism benefit from medication.
In the end, while constipation does not directly cause reproductive issues or vice versa, experiencing both can indicate an underlying condition. Finding the source of your symptoms can help you improve your gut and fertility health.
How Constipation Affects Male Fertility
The most essential characteristics of male fertility are sexual performance and sperm health. Constipation is more directly related to male fertility since it might interfere with performance, especially if it is accompanied by pain. This is frequent in cases with IBS and Celiac disease.
Hypothyroidism has been connected to constipation as well as sperm health issues. Men with hypothyroidism frequently have lower sperm motility, which reduces the likelihood of conception following successful intercourse. Other hypothyroidism symptoms related to male fertility include:
- Low libido
- Impaired sperm health
- Lower sperm count
- Erectile dysfunction
All of these factors can have a negative impact on the odds of a successful pregnancy. Medications for hypothyroidism can often alleviate or even eliminate these symptoms.
Constipation During Fertility Treatments
For numerous reasons, constipation is a common side effect of fertility treatments. Constipation can be caused by several different procedures and medications used during treatment. These include:
- Hormone therapy. Because progesterone is a relaxant, it might cause constipation during fertility treatments. This can hinder bowel contractions, which transport stool through your intestines, resulting in reduced gut motility.
- Egg retrieval procedures. Constipation can occur as a result of the administration of anesthetic during egg retrieval. Anesthesia slows down several of your body’s systems, including your digestive system.
- Follicle stimulation. Because follicles require fluid to function, when stimulated as part of a fertility procedure, they must draw that fluid from somewhere. It is frequently pulled from the gut, and low fluid in the bowels is directly related to constipation.
Because constipation is so common throughout these fertility treatments, it’s critical to take steps to improve your gut motility before it becomes an issue. Drink plenty of water and keep stool softeners on hand. If you continue to experience problems, your doctor should be able to assist you.
Constipation, hypothyroidism, and fertility can frequently coexist for a variety of reasons. It is essential for your health that you are open and honest with your doctor about your symptoms, regardless of how embarrassed you may feel. No matter what you say, they’ve always heard far worse! This will help you stay as healthy as possible while also increasing your chances of conception.
In the end, you are the most familiar with your own body. If you believe there is an issue, you should speak up and ensure that your voice is heard. Taking care of your body will benefit your general health and will be well worth your time and effort!