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Can constipation make me gain 6 pounds in 4 days?!?

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I've been eating within my calorie guideline of 1450 and exercising every other day and my weight has crept up every day for the past 4 days for a total of 6 pounds.  I am constipated -- could this explain it?  It seems impossible that would be 6 pounds so I'm looking for advice.  Also, what are some safe, non-addicting laxative options?  I've never had to take them before in my life.





Edited Jul 12 2008 15:08 by nycgirl
Reason: Moved from Weight Loss to Health & Support forum
22 Replies (last)

I have a similar problem. I was eating within my calorie limit and am about 3 lbs heavier. I lifted weights and sometimes you retain water afterwards. But, I did have steak for dinner for dinner and I know it takes longer for the body to  digest it. So, maybe you had a big meal or something. Most likely it's wter retention. Don't worry about it. It will go away on its own. :-) If you absolutely need to take a laxatives. I take Phillips Milk of MAgnesia....I take them every once and a while (when I need helping using the potty).They're not the ones that taste like chocolate... and its chalky but I don't like to associate chocolate with a laxative. UNless you haven't used the bathroom in over 3 days, I wouldn't use it, though...just let your body restore itself normally. :-)

Well I'm sure you will get some responses that suggest Mirilax, but dont waste your money.  Mirilax is more of a stoll softner as told to me by a pharmacist and they suggested Colace which is saline based.  But I preferred to stick to my asian store bought "slimming teas".  You can also find similar version in Whole Foods, called "Super Slimming Tea" by triple leaf.  or at your nearest grocery store, ie Kroger.  They have "Smooth Move" by Traditional medicinals.  The ones I like the most form the asian store at the "Extra Strength Three ballerinas" in cinnamon, or the"Tru-Slim".  The base of all of these teas are Senna which is an herbal laxative, and some others may have White Marllow and papaya enzyme.  both aid in digestion.  I like the Triple Leaf brand for it's lighter puporses.  It' snot as strong as the asian store bought ones, but it taste better and has other hebs in it that will help with the process and not cause much bloating and gas like some of the other brands can do.  Good luck.

I've never heard about these teas!  I'll check them out today. 

Very helpful.

Thanks, Soobie

Constipation can definately be the reason for the weight gain.  Also, changing your diet at first can cause constipation until your body gets used to it.  Drink plenty of water and eat lots of raw fruits and veggies.  Also, drink the hot tea in the morning, it helps get your system going!  This is the best way to do it naturally.

I agree with a lot of what has been said, in terms of how long you've been to the loo - or haven't been, as the matter may be. If you've not had a bowel movement in three days, go for a herbal laxative like Sennakot (and never, EVER touch something called Dulcolax. It works, but good LORD it hurts). Also, do you feel you get enough fibre in your diet? Increasing your fibre intake (and fluid intake appropriately) may also help you in the long run.

I personally find, for a fairly quick relief, drinking a strong black coffee (sugar optional) alongside a bowl of oatmeal/porridge makes me... well, function. Heh. The one thing I -don't- agree with is eating a lot of raw vegetables - they can actually make it worse. Fibrous veg are good only if they're cooked properly as far as I've found. Take slow walks if you feel comfortable enough to take them, as they can help too.

If you end up needing a course of laxatives and still can't really go/strain to go after three to five days, go to your doctor - and if you can't go at all no matter what even if you get the sensation, go -straight- to your doctor.

And yes, it is VERY possible to gain something like 6lbs through constipation! Hah. I did a weigh in of myself the other week and then suddenly needed to go (having been constipated for a couple of days before), and to humour myself weighed again - only to see a rather sizeable loss! Bodies can be so gross, sometimes. ): I hope you feel better soon!

Ok, I too gained a lot of weight this week not eating more than 1500-2000 calories a day. In one day I went up 4 lbs and it has stayed. I am also bloated and my tummy is like a rock. After 4-6 days with this today is the first day I feel relief and am down 2 lbs overnight. Tummy is slimmer, I am better. I did not take laxatives. Normally these things correct themselves. I was eating soooo much fiber, I backed off a wee bit and let nature run its course. Try it!

But please consult your doctor if you are very concerned or the problem does not get better in a few days.

Here is an article on the cautions of using laxatives from Mayo Clinic: 8 

Thanks for the advice -- this is day four of not going.  It's not painful I just don't need to go.  Probably wouldn't even have posted had my weight not been going up, up, up.  I am taking Iron for anemia so maybe that has something to do with it.  It's so discouraging though because I'm working hard and I want the scale to reward me! 

I'm going to the grocery store soon to see what is available in the tea aisle and herbal supplements. 

Not to be too personal, but do some of you actually go every day?


Ooh. Ding. I think you may have found a contributor to your problem. Iron tablets are notorious for causing constipation - I should know, I have to take them for anemia ON TOP of having trouble using the loo already! ;___;

If it's been four days and you haven't been able to go then take a -course- (three to five days usually, depending on what the packet recommends) of a laxative (tea or tablet). If this doesn't help you, or if you suddenly find that as soon as you stop taking them the constipation comes straight back, go and see your doctor. Don't take another course if the constipation just returns after the first as it usually signifies there's a deeper problem when a laxative can't help.

Nycgirl has a good point, though - fibre is helpful as long as you take in enough fluid along with it. But, too much can be as bad as too little, so if you eat a lot of fibre try cutting back a little.
My regularity, personally, has improved a lot. I'm prescribed a solution called Lactulose alongside my tablets, but even with that it's a struggle and I find I don't always go each day (and am EXTREMELY uncomfortable the days I can't go). ): Hopefully, you'll have more luck than me. Ha.

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I have had problems with constipation on and off for a while. After speaking to my doctor I bought "Fiber Laxatives" I usually by the store brand and they work well. they are "gentle".. in other words they don't make you continue to go non-stop for the next 4 days like harsh laxatives.  The body usually digests them better also because they are fiber based.

Yes, constipation can make you gain weight rather rapidly. In fact, more of your body weight could be because of conpacted fecal matter than you think. If you do a little research you'll find that compacted fecal matter is believed to make up anywhere from five to twenty pounds in the average person depending on their age and dietary habits. It's also one of the greastest new concerns of physicians.

the 6 pounds is definitely due to your constipation... I've got extremely regular bowel movements, so my weight hardly fluctuates given that i measure it at the same time everyday (i go twice a day on average). Just yesterday when i had tummy problems though, bam, my weight went up 4 pounds in a night (when i was constipated, and i think retaining all the water i was drinking as well) and down 4 pounds the next day (after i had the runs)...

If you've got irregular bowels, you might want to make sure that you're getting enough fiber and water in your diet. Try to leave the bran and laxative pills on the shelves, cause those things are a little harsh on your gut, and should only be taken as a last resort. Many fruits, vegetables and grains, are natural (and relatively mild) laxatives that can help you clear out your system without too much damage.



peaches, nectarines, figs, apricots, oranges, bananas, prunes



cucumber, courgette, asparagus, chicory, spinach, watercress, cabbage,



most grains are really good sources of fiber. Oats, barley and psyllium are especially good for maintaining digestive health, and psyllium is very often used as a remedy for constipation. (:

(i put bananas, prunes and psyllium in bold cause they're most commonly eaten by sufferers of constipation as a remedy (:)

Doedoebird: ... huh. I knew about most of those (my mother swears by dried apricots) but... bananas? Really? As if I needed more excuses to eat bananas! Eee! As for prunes... they are DEADLY. Effective, but only if you can manage the taste. ;< Not my cup of tea. Really cool to know about the bananas, though! :D

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What works best for me is having 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar after breakfast followed by a cup of water.  It will keep your digestive system active all day long. Plus it's also thought to increase metabolism.

There is nothing on this planet that makes me go faster than a cup of coffee. I have to go just thinking about it.

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You can retain quite a bit of water when you are constipated, most of the above advice will help you - I know many people who swear by prune juice, and some who swear by nuts!

But on an (unrelated to constipation) note can I just point out to other people who may read this that there is no "correct" time that people should have a bowel movement. 

It may be everyday, it may be every three days, it may be three times a day, it may be once a week.

The right amount is what is regular for YOU. Its just that I have seen so many people who have worked themselves into a frenzy about their bowel movements on this forum, and have heard of people who have damaged their bowels by overuse of laxatives etc. from the worry of "regularity". Just ensure your body is sticking to it's own routine and you'll be fine.


There could be a couple of reasons for your weight gain, one of which could be constipation.  There are ways to alleviate the constipation, I take extra fiber and drink lots of liquids.  It helps for me.

But something else to think about, if you're exercising every other day, it could be that you're building muscle.  Muscle weighs ALOT more than fat.  Do your pants fit differently?  It could be muscle gain, which is always a good thing.  The more muscle you gain, the more efficient your body becomes.

Just a thought.


Oh I missed the part where you said it had only been 4 days... Forgive me, foot in mouth disease is becoming more and more common with me, lol.  If it's been 6 pounds in 4 days then it may very well be constipation.  I'm not sure I'm the best one to give you advice on that though, as I have IBS-C (Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation.)  Constipation is a constant issue with me, and the only thing that works is taking in 35-40 grams of fiber daily.  It's an every day thing with me, if I skip a day, I begin to gain weight too, and when you consider we have MILES of intestines that can be alot of weight...

I hope you get this resolved soon.


I'll attest to mv3's mention of the "Smooth Move" tea by Traditional Medincinals.  I drank that yesterday as I was having some poop problems for a few days, and this morning I had a nice and easy trip in the bathroom!

Because of some other meds I'm on the pharmacist recommended miralax.  I've taken it twice so far and not much luck.  The first store I went to didn't have the tea so I'm to look again tomorrow.

So frustrating, and now, so uncomfortable.  I already drink plenty of coffee and eats lots of fruits and veggies.  I'm thinking of getting metamucil or something like that.  Any recommendations for one that will taste ok in crystal light?

Thanks for all of the advice so far.  I must say, this is one side effect I didn't think I'd deal with.  Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard we try there is something that gets in the way of being successful!  UGH!

Miralax is not like other laxatives.  It's not a stimulant, meaning it won't cause cramps.  Instead it increases the liquid in your intestines which helps your stool to move easier on it's own.  Because of that, it doesn't work right away.  When my IBS-C is acting up, I can take Miralax 3  times a day for a week before it'll work.  But then when it works woo boy does it work. 

I've found after many different prescription meds and many different 'remedies' (of which 'Smooth Move' was just one) that the best thing that works for me is prevention.  I have to eat more than 40 grams of fiber every day which isn't as hard as it seems.  Fiber One cereal with milk has about half of that.  Then I make sure to eat lots of fruits and veggies and plain popcorn.  Anyways, when I do, my bowels move regularly on their own.  No problems.  I figure fiber is about as natural as they get.  So if you keep taking Miralax, it will work.  But if you want to move things along a little quicker, then perhaps adding fiber to your diet at least for the next few days might help.

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