First of all, do not panic and keep your shirt on! If you’re experiencing constipation a few weeks into your transition process as a full vegan, you’re not alone. Besides, I’m here to help!
(CLICK HERE) is you want to learn all about transitioning to a vegan diet the right way!)
Vegan constipation often occurs for a few common reasons. Once you identify these reasons, then you can find the right remedy. However, you should also know when to seek further medical attention.
Constipation often happens among vegan newbies. Here I will tell you how to identify the causes of your constipation. More importantly, what you can do about it, and how to avoid it in the future.
What Happens During Constipation?
The thing with constipation is you don’t know when it’s coming (unlike other digestive problems like diarrhea that warn you with a grumbling stomach).
You only find out once you’re there sitting on the toilet and the difficulty emptying becomes evident.
Constipation occurs as a result of slower movement of food in the digestive tract.
When this happens, the walls of the colon absorb too much water from the food in it. Consequently, the digested food that it holds becomes harder and dry.
Consequences Of Persistent And Recurrent Constipation
Trying to evacuate hard stool is often painful and may even cause bleeding.
While in most cases it is only a passing constipation, some suffer from it frequently.
When constipation becomes chronic, it can lead to other health issues or complications such as:
- Hemorrhoids – swollen veins in the anus that may bleed or become painful
- Anal fissure – torn anal skin from too much pressure
- Fecal impaction – when hard stool gets stuck in the intestines
- Rectal prolapse – protrusion of a part of the intestine from the anus
Constipation is considered chronic especially when it persists for several weeks.
However, some complications may begin to occur early on. This is why if you get constipation once or twice, taking action as early as possible is vital.
Do Vegans Get Constipation?
Yes! Constipation can happen to anyone no matter what diet you’re on. This is because constipation is not just brought about by food alone.
For new vegans, constipation often occurs during their transition. Although this might make you worry and think of incompatibility issues, that is absolutely not the case.
Most people may think that it’s ironic since it’s common sense that eating veggies make bowel movement easier. The thing is vegans may still miss on some key points especially when they’re just starting to be a full vegan.
Being on a vegan diet does not guarantee that you won’t have constipation. This is because a vegan diet may also be done wrong. Yes you heard me right. This is often the case when one chooses to go vegan without preparation and planning.
Common Causes Of Constipation Among Vegans
So how can vegans get constipation? Well Here are some common reasons:
1. Not enough fluid intake
this goes without saying. This is in fact the most common reason behind constipation. In most cases, the effect is instant on the day that you will notice it right away.
When you don’t get enough water, the colon will find it hard to make your stool softer. This of course leads to dry stool that can get hard depending on how much you lack water.
2. Insufficient fat
While many people think that fat is bad, it actually serves a lot of purposes especially in the digestive system. Well, good fat, that is.
New vegans tend to cut a lot of fat from their diet. Since fats act as lubricants, the stools that form without it become hard and dry.
3. Little to no fiber
Fiber is the most popular answer when it comes to natural relief from constipation. It attracts and holds water, making stool soft and easy to pass. Without it, stool can become harder, and constipation may ensue. So it lots of fruit and veggies!
4. Too much fiber
One will probably think that having too much fiber will make your stool too soft or guarantee soft stool. Wrong.
Our digestive system uses good bacteria to digest what we eat. Too much fiber will only overload these good guys and make them back up.
5. Intolerance to grains, wheat, and gluten
many people with gluten intolerance don’t even know it. Grains contain gluten, which, if you have an intolerance to, can trigger digestive problems.
People who have gluten intolerance may get digestive inflammation when they eat wheat, which can eventually damage the intestine wall.
6. Transitioning too fast
Changing to a full vegan diet requires time. If you rush and go too fast, you will likely have digestive issues. Constipation is just one of them. For more information on how to properly transition to a vegan diet CLICK HERE.
7. Lack of physical activity
Our body needs proper circulation too in order to digest its food. If you lack any form of physical activity, you may constipate too.
Constipation may also come with bloating, which happens among vegans too. Bloating makes your belly feel a persisting fullness and heaviness, which can get uncomfortable.
So what can we vegans do about it? Now let’s talk about remedies. All of ‘em.
Can Vegans Take Medications For Constipation?
Vegans tend to avoid drug medications, often for 2 reasons:
- Most vegans prefer natural methods of treatment
- Majority of drug medications today contain some form of animal products like gelatin
On the other hand, there are also people who tend to rely heavily on medications for every little ailment. Headache? Pop a pill. Constipation? Take a laxative.
While drug medications are often seen as the fastest relief, it’s not the case with constipation. At the most, medicines can only provide temporary relief but will not get at the root cause.
If you’d like to go this route, it will be best to talk to a doctor first. Make sure of course to discuss your options as a vegan.
How To Determine The Cause Of Constipation If You’re A Vegan
One can never really fix a problem until you find out what’s causing it. In the case of vegan constipation, figuring out the cause (or causes) can be as simple as making self-observations.
Now that you know the most common causes of constipation among vegans, this should be a lot easier. Nevertheless, here are some tips:
- Make a mental note of what you eat and how much fluid you drink. Better yet, start on a food journal. This will tell you if you’re missing something (or having too much of it!).
- Keep an eye on the potential effects of a particular food. For example, you may notice there are only certain foods that trigger your constipation.
- Eliminate food items which you suspect to be the culprit. This may or may not confirm your suspicions.
These measures will also help you know your body better. Once you know what works for you and what doesn’t, you can make healthier changes in your diet.
Vegan Constipation Remedies
Once you know what’s causing your constipation, it will be easier to find the best remedy. I will match the best ones to the common causes I have mentioned above. These should be a no-brainer, but let me go through the details:
Not enough fluid intake
Increase your fluid intake. Is 8 glasses a day enough? 8 glasses can be too much or not enough. For better accuracy, one must base it on their size. On, one’s weight, to be exact. Add that to your physical activity. 8 glasses isn’t a one-size that fits all. Imagine being over 6 feet with a highly active lifestyle. You think 8 glasses will do? According to Web MD, the ideal rule is, 0.5-1 oz of water per pound of weight. So, if you weigh say 120 lbs, your daily fluid intake should be 60-120 ounces.
Include healthy fats in your diet. According to Mayo Clinic, adults should limit their fat intake to 20-35% only of the total daily calories. Find out how many calories you typically consume in a day and do the Math from there.
Little to no fiber
Eat more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, just don’t go overboard. The ideal amount for adults is 25 to 30 grams per day, according to UCSF.
Too much fiber
How much fiber is too much anyway? According to Duke Student Health Services, a fiber intake of 70 grams or higher will give negative effects.
Intolerance to grains, wheat, and gluten
Surely one can easily say, “just avoid them!”. However, most people with such intolerance issues don’t even know it. If you suspect this, it’s best to get a gluten sensitivity test done. Once this confirms your case, you can make all the necessary dietary adjustments with the help of your doctor.
Transitioning too fast
Plan your transition carefully and take your time. Click Here to go an article that can help adequately transition to a vegan diet.
Lack of physical activity
Engage in some form of physical activity every day to aid in the proper digestion process.
BONUS: To learn about some natural laxatives that are vegan friendly and that will help you with constipation, check out the video below!
Vegan Constipation Medicine
Most medications for constipation are available over the counter. This means anyone can easily get them. If you’re the type who loves popping pills, always be careful with the meds you choose.
I would personally only recommend natural methods, but if you feel the need for a laxative, there are vegan laxatives in the market which are made from herbs.
When To See The Doctor
Some people see doctors at the first sign of an illness. Others leave it until it’s unfortunately too late. You don’t have to be in any of that. Doing home remedies is often enough, but you should also know when it’s time to call the doctor.
While I hope you don’t come to this, I strongly advise that you make the call when any of these occurs:
- Constipation that doesn’t resolve even after applying remedies
- Chronic constipation that happens at least 3 times a week every week
- Total inability to pass stool for days
Constipation When Switching To A Vegan Diet: The New Vegan’s Constipation
Again, this only happens when you try to make a quick transition from being a meat-eater to a full vegan. No matter how much you want it, you can’t just make it happen overnight.
Allow your body to slowly adjust and plan carefully so as not to lose your dietary balance. Consume just the right amount of fiber and fat, and don’t forget your fluids!
Plant-Based Diet Constipation
It’s easy for vegans to have excessive fiber so make sure not to fall into it. Follow recommended amounts and be mindful of what you eat.
Now that you know how vegans can end up with constipation, you should never have to experience plant-based diet constipation. Use your new diet and lifestyle to your advantage but do so wisely.
Raw Vegan Constipation
The raw vegan diet is another level of the vegan lifestyle. While it’s surely exciting to try, you shouldn’t dive in to it abruptly. And honestly, a pure raw vegan diet isn’t something I would recommend.
Keep in mind that raw food can be harder for our body to digest, and so this might be the cause of your constipation.
If you do decide to go the raw vegan route, just like with transitioning to a regular vegan diet, if you do it too quickly, your body will have a hard time adjusting. GO SLOW.
Vegan Digestive Problems
There is no such things as a “vegan digestive problems”. Saying this would mean that the fruits and vegetables you eat are the cause.
In excessive amounts, yes there can be issues, but once again, it all comes down to your food choices.
Also, anybody in any diet can suffer from constipation, not just vegans.
MAKE THE RIGHT FOOD CHOICES!
Vegan Shakeology Constipation
Fruit and vegetable shakes have been such a big hit in the last few years. The thing is, you need to throw a lot in the blender just to get at least a glass, and fruits and vegetables have a lot of fiber.
Have you thought about it? Yes, there is such a thing as consuming excessive fiber!
Green juices are totally fine but remember that you can’t just keep drinking juices all day. If you consume juices or shakes only, you might miss out on other essential nutrients.
Some raw food may also be harder to digest. So TAKE IT EASY on that shake.
Avoid Constipation With These Natural Vegan Laxatives
Before you read this list, keep in mind that moderation is key. Anything in excess is bad, and the same goes for other kinds of vegan food items.
If you have constipation or just want to avoid it, make sure to include any (or several) of the following in your daily menu:
- Aloe vera
- Chia seeds
- Herbal tea
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
Vegans can get constipation too! Count yourself out by being mindful of what you eat. Follow your RDA, educate yourself, and make better food plans! Now you can say goodbye to vegan constipation!
Have you had constipation before as a vegan? How did you cure it? I would love for you to share your experience with us in the comments below! And don’t forget to share this article in favorite social media platform.