Does Chocolate Cause Constipation? 10 Foods to Avoid for Constipation Relief

Posted By Author on February 6, 2024

If straining in the bathroom is putting a strain on your everyday life, constipation may be to blame. The GI condition, while very common, can cause serious discomfort – and leave sufferers desperately seeking relief. 

Lifestyle changes are often the solution, with modifications to diet often bringing much-needed relief. While most constipation cases don’t require a trip to your doctor, Charleston GI is here to help if you need us. Our board-certified gastroenterologists have provided some helpful information below, including the underlying causes of constipation along with a list of foods to avoid.

Read on to learn more.

Foods to Avoid for Constipation

What is Constipation? 

Constipation is a GI condition defined by infrequent bowel movements or a difficulty passing stools that lasts for at least several weeks.

It is a common condition that affects people of all ages, with one-third of older adults experiencing symptoms on occasion. While there’s no specific “normal” amount of weekly bowel movements, people having fewer than three are considered constipated.

Symptoms of constipation include: 

  • Fewer than three bowel movements each week 
  • Lumpy or hard stools
  • Straining to pass stools
  • Sensation of a blockage in the rectum 
  • Feeling like you can’t completely empty the stool from your rectum 
  • Needing help to empty the rectum, such as pressing on the abdomen 

Constipation may be considered chronic if you’ve experienced two or more of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time. Consult your Charleston GI doctors if you begin to notice the following: 

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Constant tiredness
  • Constipation that lasts longer than 14 days without improving

Underlying Causes of Constipation

There are a wide variety of causes, from GI disorder to diet. Although it can be difficult to diagnose the exact cause, there are several factors that may contribute to the condition, including: 

Diet or lifestyle changes are typically the recommended treatments, but consult our gastroenterology specialists if you are experiencing constipation.

10 Foods to Avoid for Constipation Relief 

Limiting these foods – or avoiding them altogether – can provide relief. 

  1. Alcohol
    Because it can cause dehydration, alcohol increases the risk of constipation. To prevent constipation, try pairing each serving of alcohol with a glass of water.
  2. Dairy Products
    Milk, cheese, and ice cream, while delicious, are not high-fiber foods. Their lack of fiber and high calcium content can prolong constipation symptoms. If you’re hesitant to give them up, try fermented dairy products like probiotic yogurt instead.
  3. Red Meat
    Red meat is typically high in fat and protein but low in fiber. Balancing a meaty meal with a fiber-rich food like salad or potatoes, can help prevent constipation.
  4. Eggs
    Many patients wonder if eggs cause constipation. Also high in protein, eggs lack the fiber needed to promote regular bowel movements. Instead of enjoying this breakfast staple on its own, try stuffing an omelet with fiber-rich veggies like spinach and tomatoes!
  5. Fried foods
    Greasy fried foods are high in fat and often hard to digest. They move slowly through your digestive tract, often resulting in hard, dry stool that may be difficult to pass.  
  6. Chips and Other Processed Snacks
    Highly processed snacks like chips, cookies, and pretzels, are high in salt and fat. They don’t offer much nutritional value, so consider loading up on tasty fruits and vegetables instead.
  7. Bananas
    When fully ripe, bananas contain soluble fiber that can help treat constipation. Unripe or green bananas, however, are full of insoluble fiber that is tougher for your body to process – and can cause unpleasant constipation symptoms. 
  8. Frozen Dinners
    Pre-packaged frozen meals are convenient, but they are also rich in salt, fat, and preservatives. Many brands now offer healthier frozen meals though, so just take a look at the nutrition facts first.
  9. Gluten
    Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. Some people may experience constipation when they eat gluten, but keep in mind that gluten intolerance, or celiac disease, is also a possible culprit. This GI condition is more serious, occurring when the immune system attacks the gut after consuming gluten. If you are suffering from chronic constipation, consult a GI doctor near you to rule out celiac disease. 
  10. Chocolate
    While dark chocolate has many health benefits, it must still be consumed in moderation. While the sweet snack contains high amounts of saturated fat that slow down the digestive process, dark chocolate has more cocoa powder – and more dietary fiber.

Digestive Issues? GI Questions? Simply, Contact Charleston GI Today! 

Here at Charleston GI, our board-certified gastroenterologists are experienced in treating a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from inconvenient to incredibly painful. Treating constipation can be simple, but it may also indicate a more serious issue. That’s why it’s important to consult your Charleston GI doctor if symptoms persist. For foods to avoid for constipation to diagnosis to treatment, we can help!

We have four convenient Charleston area locations to best serve patients – in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, and Carnes Crossroads.

There’s no referral needed, so schedule your appointment today at a Charleston gastroenterology clinic near you!

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