Wheat Bran and Constipation

Miller's Bran
Three rustic crocks of wheat bran on raffia. (Image: MamaMiaPL/iStock/Getty Images)

Everyone experiences a certain level of constipation at one time in their life, but if you have constant difficulty passing your stool, you may want to consider the use of wheat bran. Wheat bran is an insoluble fiber and is a by-product of wheat. Wheat bran is commonly consumed in whole grain foods or taken as an herbal supplement to increase daily fiber intake. While wheat bran can help provide softer and more consistent stools, it also may cause constipation if not taken with ample water. Do not use wheat bran to treat any symptoms without first talking with your doctor.

Wheat Bran

Wheat bran is mostly used to treat and prevent constipation because it provides 6 g of dietary fiber per quarter cup. Wheat bran is primarily insoluble fiber, which helps provide bulk to your stool and can help you pass stool faster. Unlike soluble fiber, wheat bran does not absorb water during digestion but instead remains undigested, helping to move the stool along the digestive wall faster. You should not take wheat bran if you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease or if you have a wheat allergy.

Constipation Treatment

You may think you’re constipated if you miss a bowel movement one day, but not everyone has the same amount of bowel movements. For some, having a bowel movement twice a day is normal, while for others a bowel movement every other day is the norm. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse defines constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements in a one week. Most cases of constipation are the result of a low-fiber diet. Increasing the amount of fiber you ingest daily helps maintain regularity.

Cause of Constipation

If you do not drink at least six, 8-oz. glasses of water daily while using wheat bran, you may become constipated. Without enough water in your digestive system, your stool can become hard and difficult to pass, even with the use of wheat bran. Wheat bran supplements are intended to be consumed with an 8-oz. glass of water to prevent chocking. Wheat bran can expand in your throat and digestive tract, leading to constipation. If you suspect that you’re constipated from wheat bran, stop using the supplement and call your doctor.

Consideration

Chronic constipation from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, may be treated with wheat bran while under a doctor’s care. Many cases of IBS patients find that the use of increased fiber can alleviate constipation symptoms.

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