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Causes of Constipation and Diarrhea

Posted May 03 2013 3:09am

It may seem weird that you can suffer from constipation and diarrhea at the same time but it’s more common than you think. If you’re dealing with constipation with diarrhea or alternating constipation and diarrhea, there are several causes you should look into.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is the inability of the digestive system to process the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some oats. If you’re intolerant to this protein and you continue to consume it, your immune system will respond by attacking your intestines. It is unable to differentiate between a dangerous foreign invader and food.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance include diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramping, lower back pain, flatulence, muscle aches, fatigue, chronic sinus problems, brain fog, and irritability.

* Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the bowel. This means that the cause of diarrhea and constipation is due to the functioning of the bowel and not due to disease of the digestive system itself. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, your emotions rule your bowel habits. You may feel sudden and uncontrollable urges to move your bowels when anxious or stressed.

* Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease that can affect any part of the digestive system from the mouth to the rectum. Symptoms of this disease include abdominal cramping, chronic diarrhea, constipation, painful stools, anal fistulas, rectal bleeding, mouth ulcers, swollen gums, and eye inflammation.

* Hashitoxicosis

Hashitoxicosis occurs with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland. In the case of Hashimoto’s, the constant bombardment from the immune system can cause extremely low levels of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) alternating with extremely high levels of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism).

This constant fluctuation can lead to a toxic flood of thyroid hormone that cause severe symptoms such as extreme heat intolerance, racing heart, chest pain, shaking, diarrhea alternating with constipation, and debilitating weakness.

* Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis occurs when pouches (diverticula) that form in the intestine become inflamed or infected. Symptoms include bloated abdomen, diarrhea alternating with constipation, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Regulating Your Digestive System Naturally

If constipation and diarrhea and other digestive symptoms are diminishing your quality of life, there are ways to regulate your digestive system naturally.

First and foremost, you must clean up your diet. A lifetime of processed food consumption can wreck havoc with your digestion. Opt for whole foods like organic vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, legumes, meat, poultry, fish, and healthy dairy.

You can also regulate your digestion by adding a high-quality probiotic supplement to your diet. Probiotics are the live, active cultures you find in yogurt and kefir. Choose an additive-free supplement with at least 5 billion colony forming units.

A bulk fiber supplement such as psyllium can help bulk up your stools and treat both constipation and diarrhea.

Irregular digestion is a common problem that can be treated with dietary changes and supplements. The more you know about what’s causing your symptoms, the closer you are to taking back your health.

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