6 Tips to Treat Hypothyroidism related Constipation
Purabi Gunjal (she/her)

Purabi Gunjal (she/her)

Jan 06Thyroid

6 Tips to Treat Hypothyroidism related Constipation

This article has been compiled by Vaibhavi Kodnani, a content writer at Proactive For Her.

Hypothyroidism affects body functions in many different ways, including bowel movements. Although not every person having hypothyroidism will suffer from constipation, it remains one of the most common unpleasant symptoms. It is not talked about as much due to the embarrassment associated with it as well as lack of awareness. When one experiences less than 3 bowel movements in a week, it is characterised as constipation.

What is the link between hypothyroidism and constipation?

Hypothyroidism is a condition of the thyroid gland. In this condition, the thyroid hormones are not produced in enough quantities to meet the body requirements. These hormones affect every cell and all the organs of the body and regulate the energy produced from the food we consume. Hence, if these hormones are not produced optimally, our metabolism slows down.

Secondly, the function of the digestive tract is also affected. The large intestine does not contract and relax as frequently to be able to pass smooth motions. Also, the contractions are not strong enough to push the excreta out. In both these cases, the stools move slowly and sluggishly, leading to constipation. In other words, the gut motility, i.e. stretching and contractions of the muscles in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, reduces.

It is the link between hypothyroidism and constipation. However, there are many more causes of constipation too. It is best to talk to your doctor to diagnose the exact cause and take the required treatments.

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism related constipation?

Some common symptoms of constipation include:

  • Less than three bowel movements per week
  • Inability to pass motions smoothly
  • Pain when passing motions
  • The feeling of not having emptied their bowels completely despite passing stools
  • Stomach ache and cramps
  • Dry and hard stools
  • Bloating
  • Nausea

What are the complications of chronic constipation? 

If not treated on time, constipation can worsen and cause further health complications such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Haemorrhoids: Swollen veins in your anus that can lead to bleeding too
  • Anal fissure: Torn skin in and around the anus
  • Rectal prolapse: Intestine protrudes outside the anus

How to treat constipation due to hypothyroidism? 

You can treat hypothyroidism related constipation with the appropriate steps. Here are some tips to help you get there! But, make sure to get in touch with your doctor to chart out a treatment plan specific to the severity of your condition.

Keep the thyroid under control 

The first step is the most obvious one - treat the underlying cause of constipation which is your hypothyroidism. Your doctor will mostly prescribe you thyroid medications to keep your thyroid hormones under control. Make sure you are taking the medications as per your doctor’s instructions.

Review your medications

If constipation remains unresolved, you must inform your doctor about it. Sometimes, the prescribed medicines may not work well for your body. So, they may try changing your medications or the dosage of the medications. You can then track the results after the changes your doctor introduced in your treatment plan. Keep them informed about it so that, if needed, they can modify the plan further.

Drinks lots of water

Apart from medical treatments, lifestyle changes are equally important too. Drinking water is one of the most vital steps in treating constipation as your colon gets dehydrated. On average, for every 20 kgs of your weight, you must drink 1 litre of water. But, it can vary depending on your weather conditions, your body, the amount of physical activity you do, etc.

Include optimum fibre in your diet

Both soluble and insoluble fibre is required for smooth passing of motions. Soluble fibre attracts moisture that helps keep the stool soft so that it is easy to pass. And insoluble fibre adds volume or bulk to the stools. Hence, both kinds of fibre are crucial for the body. Women require 25-28 gms of fibre in their diet every day, while men need 30-35 gms of fibre daily. Daily sources of fibre rich foods include whole grains, fruits like oranges, guavas, bananas, apples, all dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek, other non-starchy vegetables, and beans.

However, too much fibre intake can also interfere with your thyroid medication. So, make sure to talk to your doctor to understand the right amounts of daily fibre intake for your body.

Exercise daily

Exercise has many benefits for the body. Not only does it alleviate constipation but also the other hypothyroidism symptoms. Regular exercise helps in keeping the stool moving through the colon. It also improves metabolism and maintains your weight. 30-35 mins of moderate-intensity physical activity 4-5 times a week is recommended. So, every week, aim at getting at least 150 mins of exercise. Certain specific exercises and yoga poses can help attain relief from constipation - ask your doctor about them.

Consider taking supplements 

You can try using fibre supplements such as isabgol (psyllium husk). Even OTC laxatives such as milk of magnesia are helpful to relieve constipation. In severe cases, your healthcare practitioner may even advise suppositories.


Constipation is an unpleasant symptom of hypothyroidism, but it is treatable. It can cause discomfort and even interfere with your daily activities if it becomes a chronic condition. All people do not experience it, but even those who do, don’t want to talk about it. Taking help at the right time can prevent the complications that occur with chronic constipation. So, communicate about it with your doctor and treat it at the earliest.

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be constructed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

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