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Why do I get constipation in spite of a regular diet that contains fibre?

Gastroenterology Colorectal Surgery Diet & Nutrition

I've had constipation for about two weeks now. My daily meal:

  • One cup of green tea
  • Two slices of low G.I. bread
  • Brown rice with mushrooms, broccoli, and spinach
  • 200ml of aloe vera gel  
  • 125 grams of blueberries 

Why do I still get constipated? 

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (2)

Constipation is a common condition many of us encounter from time to time. Although dietary fiber is known to encourage proper bowel movement, individuals may have very different response to fiber intake. 

Dietary fiber is believed to help bowel movement by forming the bulk which encourages proper bowel muscle contraction. It may also help friendly gut bacteria to grow and to maintain good gut health.

However, this is provided that there is also sufficient water intake to maintain its soft texture. Too much fiber with insufficient water can sometimes result in hard stools which paradoxically aggravates your constipation.

Other reasons for constipation include a slower gut movement due to lack of exercises or IBS, side effects from medication and consumption of supplements containing high doses of calcium or iron.

Do pay attention to other associated symptoms such as significant weight loss, change of bowel caliber and having black stools or blood stained stools. Such symptoms may point towards a serious problem in your digestive tract which requires proper evaluation.

- Dr Quan

326 views 29 Jan 2019
Every person has a unique bowel movement frequency and pattern. It is important to note that some people have daily bowel movement while some only have a bowel movement once every 3 days. What is important is that your bowel habit does not cause you difficulty to pass the stools out (no need to strain excessively), abdominal or anal pain, bloating or bleeding. If you have no problem passing stools, you are not suffering from constipation. 


On top of your baseline bowel movement frequency, each person's bowel habit can be affected by diet changes, physical activity, physical/psychological stress, concomitant medical problems or use of medications that may cause constipation. These are the things that we understand so far. There could be more factors that modern medicine is not aware of yet.

You should consult a specialist in constipation to get an in-depth assessment of your bowel habit and determine whether you can correct any of the factors that is causing your constipation. In some cases, you may require laxatives to aid your bowel movement. Sometimes, the laxatives are required for a prolonged period of time. Some patients who are taking laxatives can stop the laxatives once their constipation improves.

As dietary fiber adds bulk to your stools, it may worsen constipation in some patients while it helps others. In other words, increasing dietary fiber does not always help a person overcome constipation. It depends on the type of constipation the person is suffering from.

Look for a gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon who specializes in functional bowel disorders to help you address the problem.

2 views 27 Jun 2019
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