Can Constipation Cause Nausea? Symptoms, Remedies & 7 Prevention Tips

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Constipation can slow down your entire digestive system. This delay in the movement of food from your stomach to the intestines leads to a build-up that may result in feelings of nausea or even vomiting. 

The discomfort and bloating caused by constipation can also contribute to a general sense of feeling unwell or nauseous.

Can constipation cause nausea? 

Yes, constipation can cause nausea. The correlation between the two may not be immediately apparent, but there’s a definite connection.

What does constipation nausea feel like? Constipation nausea feels like a sensation of discomfort in the upper stomach that often precedes vomiting.

Why does constipation cause nausea? Constipation causes nausea when there is pressure increasing in the digestive system. The pressure can be from stool in the large intestine, bacterial overgrowth, or delayed stomach emptying. This may also occur from a backup in digestive tract from the colon through the small intestine. 

As fecal matter lingers in your colon for a more extended period, pathogenic bacteria and other microorganisms have more time to proliferate, potentially affecting your digestive health and triggering nausea and stomach pain.

In some instances, constipation might exacerbate existing gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). If you have IBS or IBD, you’re more likely to experience nausea and other symptoms when constipated. This is especially common in females.

Colorado patients: If you want to get to the root of your constipation problems, schedule a free phone consultation with PrimeHealth today. 

Constipation Causes and Symptoms

A variety of factors can trigger constipation. Any of the following conditions can be causes of constipation:

Moreover, medical conditions like IBS, diabetes, thyroid disorders, bowel obstruction, and acid reflux can worsen constipation.

What are the symptoms of constipation? Common symptoms of constipation include:

  • Less frequent bowel movements
  • Hard stools
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • A feeling of incomplete evacuation
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Bloating and gas
  • Stomach cramps
  • Decreased appetite
  • Back pain

In more severe cases, constipation can lead to fatigue, likely due to the reduced energy absorption from slowed bowel movements.

Other Causes Of Nausea

While constipation can cause nausea, it’s important to note that nausea can arise from various other causes unrelated to bowel movements. Nausea is a complex and non-specific symptom linked to many conditions or circumstances.

Here are some common causes of nausea: 

  • Gastrointestinal issues: Problems with the digestive system frequently cause nausea. This can include gastritis, peptic ulcers, gastroenteritis, gallbladder disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, and conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Pregnancy: Known as “morning sickness,” nausea and vomiting are common in early pregnancy.
  • Migraines: Some people experience nausea and vomiting during a migraine headache.
  • Motion sickness: Nausea can occur due to motion sickness, such as sea sickness, car sickness, or due to vestibular disturbances in conditions like Meniere’s disease.
  • Food poisoning or infection: Consuming contaminated food or water can lead to nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms.
  • Medications: Nausea is a common side effect of many medications, including certain antibiotics, pain relievers, and chemotherapy drugs.
  • Psychological factors: Stress, fear, and anxiety can also trigger feelings of nausea.
  • Other medical conditions: More severe health conditions such as kidney disease, heart attack, brain tumors, or some forms of cancer can cause nausea.
  • Overeating or drinking alcohol: Overindulgence in food or alcohol can lead to stomach discomfort and nausea.

What is the difference between nausea from constipation and nausea from the stomach flu? While the nausea feels the same, the difference between nausea from constipation and stomach flu is that they typically present with different symptom clusters. 

When you have the stomach flu, you have an infection of the intestines, usually caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasites. Along with nausea, you may experience vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, mild fever, and body aches. Symptoms often appear suddenly and may be severe, but they usually resolve within a few days as the infection clears.

How do you stop nausea from constipation?

To stop nausea from constipation, one needs to, well, poop. Once normal bowel function is restored, the nausea should also subside. Treating the cause of the constipation should help prevent further nausea.

Quick Relief For Constipation

If you’re experiencing discomfort from constipation and need quick relief, the following methods may help:

  • Increase Hydration: Drinking more water is one of the best “home remedies” to help soften your stool and make it easier to pass. Warm liquids like herbal tea or lemon water can stimulate bowel movements.
  • Physical Activity: Light exercises like walking or gentle yoga can stimulate your digestive tract and help move stools.
  • Use Over-the-Counter Laxatives: Over-the-counter laxatives can provide immediate relief but should be used cautiously. Various types of laxatives work in different ways, and not all types are suitable for everyone. Some may also lead to dependency if used too frequently. Caution: Stimulant over-the-counter laxatives can be helpful for short-term and occasional use only. If you’re using them for a longer duration of 3 days, consult with a healthcare professional.
  • Stool Softeners: These over-the-counter medications add moisture to the stool, making it easier to pass. They generally work within 12-72 hours.
  • Try a High Fiber Food or Fiber Supplements: Foods or supplements high in fiber, like prunes or psyllium husk, can promote bowel movements. If you rapidly increase your dietary fiber intake, drink plenty of water when you increase your fiber intake to avoid worsening constipation.
  • Abdominal Massage: Gently massaging your abdomen may help stimulate your bowel and encourage a bowel movement. Always be gentle and stop if you feel any pain.
  • Enema: An enema is typically the last effort made for severe constipation because of possible side effects. Fluid is introduced into the intestines to soften and break up stool. A healthcare professional should administer enemas to prevent tissue damage and perforation and ensure sterilization to prevent sepsis. 

Remember, these methods are generally safe for most people. If your constipation persists, you may suffer from a blockage or fecal impaction in your colon or rectum. Do not push or strain for relief, as you may end up with anal fissures or hemorrhoids.

If you have trouble finding relief with the above-mentioned methods and in the Denver area, contact one of our functional medicine professionals at PrimeHealth

7 Tips For Preventing Constipation

To prevent constipation in the future, consider making  dietary and lifestyle changes:

  1. Increase daily fiber intake: Dietary fiber helps to bulk up and soften your stools, making them easier to pass. Include high-fiber foods in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  2. Stay hydrated: Adequate hydration is essential for preventing constipation. Water helps soften stool and promotes regular bowel movements. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily, or more if you’re physically active or live in a hot climate.
  3. Regular exercise: Physical activity may help stimulate your intestines and regulate digestion. Try to include some form of exercise in your daily routine, such as walking, swimming, or yoga.
  4. Don’t ignore the urge to go: Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can lead to constipation over time. Whenever you feel the need to go, make sure you have access to a restroom.
  5. Train your bowels: Your body likes routines, including when it comes to bowel habits. Try to establish a regular bathroom schedule, such as after meals, to promote regularity.
  6. Limit certain foods: Some foods can exacerbate constipation. Be mindful of consuming foods high in fat, low in fiber, or processed foods.
  7. Consider probiotics: Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria, can help keep your digestive system healthy and could help prevent constipation. You can find these in supplement form or in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

Remember, everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to find a routine and diet that works well for you and promotes your digestive health.

When To See a Healthcare Provider

Seek medical attention if constipation or nausea is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as abdominal pain, weight loss, bloody stools, or fatigue. 

This could indicate a more serious medical condition like a bowel obstruction, colon cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease. It’s also advised to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new medication for constipation to understand potential side effects and interactions. 

Regular communication and medical advice from a healthcare provider can help manage symptoms and improve digestive health. 

If you are in the Denver, Colorado area and have concerns about your bowel health, schedule a free consultation with PrimeHealth.


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