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Can Constipation Cause Fatigue?

by
author image J.M. Andrews
J.M. Andrews has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years. She specializes in health and medical content for consumers and health professionals. Andrews' background in medicine and science has earned her credits in a wide range of online and print publications, including "Young Physicians" magazine.
Can Constipation Cause Fatigue?
Constipation and fatigue occurring together might indicate another conditon. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Just about everyone feels tired at one time or another, and most people occasionally experience constipation, as well. But if you're chronically constipated and you also have fatigue, there may be something else going on. You could be suffering from side effects of a medication, or you might have another condition that's causing constipation and fatigue as symptoms. Your doctor can help you sort out your symptoms and make a diagnosis.

Symptoms

Not everyone has a bowel movement once per day; in fact, it's normal to "go" as many as three times each day or as little as three times per week, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. But if you're going less frequently than that, you're chronically constipated. Fatigue also represents a very common complaint, and isn't usually serious . But if you're experiencing extreme fatigue on a regular basis, you probably should get it checked out.

Diseases

Several diseases list constipation and extreme fatigue among their top symptoms. For example, celiac disease, a condition in which you cannot consume certain grains, frequently presents with constipation and fatigue, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It's also possible that you have irritable bowel syndrome, a disorder in which your bowels fail to function properly, since IBS can be associated with feelings of tiredness. Lastly, you might have fibromyalgia, which causes acute muscle pain. Many people with fibromyalgia don't sleep well, leading to fatigue.

Drug Effects

If you've recently started a new medication or adjusted your dose of a drug you already were taking, you should consider that as a potential cause for your constipation and fatigue. Many medications list constipation and fatigue as potential side effects. For example, well-known antidepressant side effects can include both symptoms, and some high blood pressure medications can have similar side effects, according to the website MayoClinic.com. If you suspect a medication might be causing your uncomfortable symptoms, your doctor may be able to adjust your dose or shift to another product.

Considerations

It's tough to determine what might be causing your constipation and fatigue without help from your doctor, who can run lab tests to look for any abnormalities. In the end, it may turn out that the two symptoms are unrelated. If that's the case, you'll need to treat each symptom separately. You can address constipation by increasing the amount of fiber in your diet -- try to consume at least 25 g of fiber each day. And you may need to alter your schedule -- or at least try to get better sleep -- to combat your fatigue.

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