The same habits that cause constipation can also cause weight gain. But constipation won’t make you gain weight long term.

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If you haven’t pooped in a few days, you may notice your scale go up a few pounds. This can be super frustrating if you’re trying to lose weight.

If you’re wondering what the connection is between constipation and weight gain, read on. We’ll explain how the two are connected and provide solutions to try.

Constipation doesn’t cause weight gain, but it can cause the scale to go up temporarily. Here’s how it works.

When you weigh yourself on a standard scale, as opposed to a body fat scale, the contents of your bowels and bladder are included in the number you see. Those numbers may go up immediately after you eat a large meal or drink several glasses of water. They may also be higher at night than in the morning. The change in the number on the scale doesn’t mean you’ve gained body mass or fat, however.

The contents in your gastrointestinal tract continue to have weight and volume even after digestion has taken place. Fecal matter (poop) weighs between 2.5 ounces and 1 (lb) pound, on average. In some people, this can translate to 3–5 lb of stool per day.

If you’re constipated, the weight of the stool in your body can mean a higher number on the scale. But this is a temporary mirage. Unless you’re steadily gaining weight from the foods you eat, the scale will go down after you’ve had a complete bowel movement.

Constipation is loosely defined as having fewer than three complete bowel movements a week.

Some health conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), can cause chronic constipation that’s challenging to treat, even with lifestyle changes. Stress can also be the culprit behind constipation. In some instances, constipation and weight gain are connected by lifestyle habits, such as not drinking enough water or getting enough exercise.

You may become constipated and notice weight gain if your diet comprises lots of low fiber foods. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both types help with digestion and support bowel movement regularity.

Dehydration is a cause of chronic constipation. Don’t avoid drinking water because it seems to make the scale go up. Dehydration can cause severe health issues and symptoms like dizziness and muscle cramps.

So can being sedentary. You don’t have to become an elite athlete to reap the benefits of physical movement. Just try to get in some physical activity on a daily basis.

Try to remember that fluctuations in weight are typical and don’t necessarily represent weight gain. But if you’re constipated and want to see the scale go down, having a complete bowel movement will help.

Eating high fiber meals, drinking more fluid, and walking after meals may be enough to do the trick. Drinking a warm cup of peppermint tea may also help.

If these solutions don’t work, consider taking a fiber supplement or laxative. Make sure to follow the dosing directions, and don’t overdo it.

If your weight gain is steady, reaching out to a dietitian, nutritionist, or another type of specialist may be beneficial.

If you have chronic constipation and want to avoid weight gain, try:

  • increasing your fluid intake
  • eating foods with a high water content, like melon, celery, and pineapple
  • eating foods high in fiber, like oatmeal, apples, and cruciferous vegetables
  • swapping out animal protein meals, like chicken, for plant-based proteins that contain fiber, like lentils
  • increasing your level of physical activity, such as by taking a walk after your meals
  • taking an over-the-counter (OTC) fiber supplement
  • trying an OTC laxative on a temporary basis
  • managing your stress with deep breathing, meditation, or journaling
  • trying yoga poses for constipation

Occasional constipation happens to pretty much everyone. But chronic constipation is sometimes a symptom of a health condition, like diabetes or hypothyroidism.

If you’ve been constipated for a week or longer, let your healthcare professional know. They can determine the cause of your constipation and recommend treatments to help relieve your symptoms.

Analyzing your lifestyle may provide clues about your risk factors for weight gain and constipation. There are many potential causes you may uncover.

If you work primarily from home, you may be building less movement into your day. Walking to the bus, climbing up and down stairs, or walking to your workplace may be annoying, but they’re also calorie burners. Getting less movement can cause constipation as well as weight gain.

Your age and hormonal status may also play a role. Constipation is common in perimenopause and menopause, and scientists have linked declining or fluctuating hormones — including estrogen — to weight gain.

Keeping a journal that includes information about your daily food intake, mood, bowel movements, and exercise may help you uncover additional causes.

You can usually reduce weight gain that’s linked to constipation by making lifestyle changes or seeking a medical diagnosis and support. With a little sleuthing, you may be able to uncover the reasons for your health concerns and find solutions that resolve both issues.

What bowel problems cause weight gain?

Scientists have linked IBS with both weight gain and weight loss. Ulcerative colitis may also cause weight gain, though weight loss is more common with this condition.

Can constipation cause a big belly?

Constipation can cause gas and bloating, which may extend your belly. This can be very uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be confused with weight gain.

How do you get rid of constipation weight?

Having a complete bowel movement will help reduce any weight gain that’s associated with constipation. Drinking fluids and eating a high fiber meal may help.

Constipation and weight gain can both result from lifestyle factors like eating a low fiber diet and not getting enough exercise. Certain health conditions, like IBS, can also be a cause.

If you have weight gain that’s associated with chronic constipation, making lifestyle changes like exercising more may help. A healthcare professional should assess constipation that lasts longer than a week.