The definition of constipation is to have fewer than three bowel movements per week, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. If you are constipated, you may also strain during your bowel movements; have small, dry and hard-to-pass stools; or have a feeling of incomplete evacuation. Staying hydrated, eating enough fiber and being active on a regular basis can help improve the regularity of your bowel movements, but sometimes the foods you eat every day, such as yogurt, could be causing your constipation. Always consult your doctor for the final word, though, especially if you're experiencing adverse physical symptoms.
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Dairy and Constipation
In some people, dairy can cause constipation. If you consume yogurt on a regular basis, it could be responsible for your constipation. You may also be consuming other dairy products, such as milk, cheese, cream, butter and ice cream that could also contribute to your constipation problem. Some people are particularly sensitive to casein, a protein found in dairy products. If this is your case, an intolerance to casein could be causing your constipation. Consult with your doctor to be sure.
Keep a Food Journal
To determine whether yogurt is the cause of your constipation, start keeping a food diary for at least 2 weeks. Write down everything you eat and drink. Take a few notes about your bowel movements, indicating when you have them and their appearance. If you eat yogurt every day, it could be responsible for your constipation, but other foods in your diet could also be the problem. Keeping a food journal may help you make associations and discover a pattern, especially when you try eliminating some foods from your diet to improve your regularity.
After doing a food journal for a couple of weeks, eliminate yogurt from your diet. Continue journaling about your food intake and bowel movements. Do not change any other factor in your diet or lifestyle other than taking yogurt out of your diet. Stick to your yogurt-free diet for at least 2 weeks to allow time for your body to adjust, and you will soon be able to see improvements, if yogurt is the cause of your constipation. If you do not see any improvements after 2 weeks, your constipation is probably due to something else, and you should see your doctor.
Other Causes of Constipation
If eliminating yogurt from your diet hasn't improve the regularity of your bowel movements, try eliminating all dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, cream and butter, for the following 2 weeks or so. It is possible that yogurt may not be the only food causing your constipation. If things are not improving despite your different dietary modifications, consult your doctor for help finding the cause of your problem.