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Home arrow Health arrow Gut Health arrow Does Constipation Cause Weight Gain? 3 Habits to Pick Up and 3 Causes to Avoid

Does Constipation Cause Weight Gain? 3 Habits to Pick Up and 3 Causes to Avoid

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: July 18, 2023
5 min read 2119 Views 0 Comments
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If you are feeling constipated every day, then your gut is certainly out of order; but does this lead to weight gain? And can you prevent it?

Does constipation cause weight gain

Constipation is more common than you think. Health statistics in the U.S. reveal that 16 out of every 100 adults show symptoms of frequent constipation.

Symptoms include visiting the bathroom less than three times a week, excess straining when passing hard stool, and feeling a bit fuller or bloated like you are not completely expelling stool. You may also feel like you have to visit the bathroom, but that uncomfortable feeling is not enough to make you poop.

If you have been dealing with constipation, it’s good to know if it’s causing your weight gain and how to prevent it. So, before you go to war with your gut, let’s explore constipation and answer the question: is weight gain related to constipation?

Can Constipation Cause Weight Gain? 

Yes, constipation causes short-term weight gain. Also, habits that lead to constipation could lead to long-term weight gain. Constipation leaves you feeling fuller because not all fecal matter is expelled. This mass can quickly add up from constant constipation and add to your weight temporarily.

Additionally, lack of exercise and overconsumption of low-fiber foods are unhealthy habits that will lead to constipation and cause weight gain.

Low-fiber foods contain more calories, and following such a diet will add to your weight in the long run. Junk foods made from white flour also have low dietary fiber and should be avoided.

What Causes Constipation?

Constipation is caused by a deviation in regular bowel movements, where the fecal matter is moving too slowly through the digestive tract or where the feces is too dry and thick to be expelled from the rectum easily. 

When you are constipated, the feeling of bloating, feeling full, and ready to defecate is not enough to make you poop and will lead to excessive straining in the bathroom.

As a result, the food you eat will take several days to exit your body, going back and forth through the colon and reabsorbing and expelling water from the fecal matter to a point where it is considered unusually dry and hard to expel. This infrequent bowel movement that leads to constipation is not characteristic of the gut microbiome.

Your gut bacteria are supposed to keep your stomach healthy. But when you consume low-fiber foods and take in too little water, it can lead to constipation. In a nutshell, the most common causes of constipation include:

  • Intake of low-fiber foods
  • Lack of exercise
  • Dehydration
  • Medications
  • Poor diet
  • Poor bowel habits, deliberate changes in the frequency of bowel movements

What Causes Rapid Weight Gain in Constipation?

The relationship between constipation and weight gain can be direct, but it is mostly indirect. The main causes of rapid gain from constipation are:

Accumulation of feces in the digestive tract

Frequent constipation can lead to the slow accumulation of feces, which may rapidly increase your body weight temporarily.

As a result, you may notice your weight on a scale tick up. However, the mass is not a permanent weight and can be relieved as quickly as a normal bowel movement begins.

To ensure smooth bowel movements, you can consider using gut health supplements. They work effectively in promoting digestion and removing obstructions in your intestine, making it easy to eliminate waste products quickly without taking too much effort.

Water retention

Your sudden mass gain can also be attributed to water retention. According to Mayo Clinic, water retention occurs when excess fluid builds up in your body. 

This can sometimes cause swelling or puffing up of your arms and feet, but it can also be the culprit of not losing any weight even when you try to. 

Lack of exercising and eating junk foods that contain too much salt leads to water retention. These same habits can also cause constipation, leading to an indirect relationship between the two. 

Also, by trying to relieve chronic constipation, you could take in excess amounts of water that could cause overhydration and lead to low sodium levels in the body. 

Underactive thyroid

Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces an insufficient amount of thyroxine. A hormone that plays a vital role in healthy digestion and all other metabolic activity. 

Low levels of thyroxine in the body can lead to slow metabolic function and slow digestion, bringing about constipation and rapid weight gain due to the accumulation of fluids and salts. 

A combination of constipation, rapid weight gain, and feeling tired and weak might result from an underactive thyroid. Speak with your primary care doctor before concluding.

How to Stop Weight Gain Caused by Constipation? 

Severe constipation can hinder its normal functions and create unfavorable conditions. Luckily there are habits you can pick up to avoid constipation and the rapid weight gain that might be associated with it.

Here are a few approaches to stop weight gain caused by constipation:

Stick to a high-fiber diet

Eating foods that are high in fiber is the best way to relieve constipation and prevent it altogether. It increases overall metabolic health, keeps the gut healthy, and ensures your stools remain right, not too hard, and not too soft.

More importantly, fiber will reduce cholesterol levels and help you eat less. You will feel fuller quickly on a high-fiber diet because it takes slower to digest and keeps you satisfied for longer.

Results from a 2015 research also show that sticking to a daily fiber intake of 30 grams each day will aid weight loss.

A low-fiber diet can be hard on the digestive system and can lead to long-term constipation and other common digestive issues. You can get dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and whole grains

Stay hydrated

Hydrating yourself frequently is advice that can never be overstated.

The benefits are miraculous as it affects everything from improving your mood to delivering nutrients to your cells. Sticking to at least 8 large glasses of water or 2 liters each day is recommended. It plays a key role in digestive health.

Hydration will aid weight loss, soften your lumpy stools, relieve chronic constipation, and increase the health of your skin. 

For more information about the myriad benefits of drinking water, read this article.

Clean eating 

Clean eating is as simple as it sounds. It’s about eating the most healthy and natural foods as a lifestyle. It means sticking to carbs, proteins, and fat that are natural and clean and avoiding certain foods that lead to high caloric intake and saturated fats.

Eating this way will keep you free from constipation associated with consuming low-fiber foods and the rapid weight gain that follows. 

Your meal plans should contain more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based foods. And completely avoid a poor diet: fried food, junk food (potato chips, hamburgers), and alcohol. Although clean eating relates to a healthy diet, it generally leads to a healthy lifestyle for many people. 

Pro tip: Plan your meals in advance to ensure you stick with a clean eating habit. Pack meals to work and snack smartly. Instead of fries and junk food, opt for nuts and whole food.

A Word From MD

While constipation may not be directly linked to weight gain in some cases, it does cause short-term weight gain sometimes.

This is due to several reasons, including fecal accumulation and water retention. Associated indirect causes are an underactive thyroid and problems with intestinal function.

If you have symptoms of constant constipation and the associated weight gain, start with regulating your diet. Eat foods high in fiber and drink enough water to restore normal bowel movement. You may also consider adding more movement to your daily life – something as simple as regular walks can ease constipation.

For severe cases of chronic constipation or sudden weight gain, contact your doctor for a proper assessment, as it might be an unrelated case.


Constipation is usually a clear sign that something is limiting normal gut microbiome function. And weight gain can be a direct result of constipation. So, the answer to: “does constipation make an impact on weight gain” is yes!

But the situation is not entirely out of your control. Start with a high-fiber diet and get at least 30 grams of fiber each day. Drink up to 8 glasses of water a day or more and start eating clean. 

You will lose weight, improve digestive health, and prevent chronic disease. Ultimately, you will find that you are more in control of how healthy gut flora is than you think. 

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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