Constipation & Chest Pain: Are They Related?

Constipation is the condition in which there’s decreased passage of stool, usually less than 3 bowels a week is considered an early sign of constipation whilst in extreme constipation bowel movement may even fall below 1/ week. 

From this explanation, it becomes very obvious that constipation causes bowel accumulation in the intestines which may even harden over a prolonged period of time.  

So, can constipation cause chest pain? 

Nutrisystem

While it may not seem possible, constipation can cause an irregularity in the physiological mechanism of your body on one hand, and on the other hand cause gas formation in chronic cases. Both these conditions may very well cause chest pain.

Keep scrolling to know the details regarding the association between constipation and chest pain. 

Can Constipation Cause Chest Pain?

Chest Pain!!, one sign, thousands of conditions. It truly is difficult to pinpoint one single reason for your chest pain, given the abundance of manifestations leading to it. Heart Burn, palpitations, gastric reflux are all manifestations of gastric conditions which cause chest pain. 

can-constipation-cause-chest-pain

While gastric reflux is a  very common cause of chest pain, other gastric conditions such as constipation are just as important. Let’s see an in-depth analysis of exactly how constipation chest pain comes about.

Constipation Chest Pain On Right Side:

Constipation causes more or less a generalized feeling of fullness or unease in your abdomen. However, for various causes, it may also cause localized pain. On the right side of the chest, the pain manifests on the lower right abdomen, which may also have rebound tenderness. 

You may be wondering hey! Isn’t that the site for appendiceal pain? Yes, it is. However, you can easily differentiate between the two as constipation sets in before and then after a period of time causes chest pain, unlike in appendicitis which you can only identify after the pain has manifested.

Constipation Chest Pain On Left Side:

Chest Pain on the left side is oftentimes a direct indication of gas buildup on the left side of your colon or in the stomach-esophageal area. In such conditions, it is necessary to figure out if the pain is for a gastric or cardiac condition. 

For chest pain resulting from constipation, there’s an earlier manifestation of constipation before the chest pain, and you will also find associative conditions such as bloating, burping, abdominal discomfort, etc. So, when you find such chest pain on the left side, don’t panic.  Try to find the correct reason and act accordingly.

Constipation and Other Related Conditions

Constipation & Palpitations:

Palpitation is characterized by a feeling that your heart is pounding or racing. 

While the heartbeat is subconscious i.e. you usually don’t feel or sense it, in cases of palpitation, you can actually feel the discomfort in your chest.

Though palpitations may not directly result from constipation, various conditions that lead to decreased bowel movement eg: medications, low fiber intake, hormonal imbalance, laxative abuse, other conditions that lead to any abnormality in the colon, leading to a decrease in bowel movement and ultimately constipation.

A constipated individual has a constant buildup of fecal material in their colon, which just cannot pass through due to the slow, sluggish movement of the intestines. 

With time, there occurs hardening of the materials, scary right? A number of aftereffects result from this abnormality affecting your body’s physiology, causing an increase in heart rate.

Also,  such mass deposition in the gut may also cause unwelcome gas formation, not a very befitting sight for your body mechanisms. 

Association of Pregnancy with Constipation and Chest Pain

Constipation is a very common condition during pregnancy. Fluctuating hormones, dietary changes, lack of exercise, changes within the body oftentimes can cause difficulty in gut motility. 

The constipation pain during pregnancy is often described as a stabbing, cramping type of pain usually in the abdomen. 

With the progression of pregnancy, there occurs an upward shifting of the uterus towards the abdominal region. Digestive tract manifestations as gastric reflux, the gas formation can be assisted by constipation which may lead to chest pain.

Constipation and Heartburn

Constipation can often be related to irritable bowel syndrome, a common condition resulting from some specific food items, triggering a handful of gastric conditions such as constipation, gastric reflux, bloating, etc.

Treatment and Remedies

Treatment for constipation is quite simple and often a few home-based methods and lifestyle modifications can bring about better passage of bowel and healthier lifestyles. A  few guidelines to get you started on your journey is given below:

 Dietary Changes

  • Add an extra two to four glasses of water to your daily liquid intake. Don’t take more than one to two glasses of caffeinated drinks, it’s much better to avoid it completely.
  • Add more fresh fruits, vegetables to your diet, take more high fiber-containing food as oats, cereal to better your bowel passage.  However, too much intake of fibers may also risk constipation.
  • Pay attention to your dairy-based food intake, avoid any dairy items that may be harmful to you.
  • Avoid oily, animal fibers as beef, mutton, etc.
  • For very bad conditions, you may take an over-the-counter laxative such as milk of magnesia, mineral oil enemas as fleet, etc. Consult with your doctor before taking any medications.

Physical Exercise

Exercising at a mild to moderate range every day helps in increased movement of food in your intestines and helps keep away any gastric complications. 

For leading a healthy life there’s no alternative to leading an active lifestyle.

Check Medications

A number of drugs have been identified to be associated with causing constipation. Some such drugs include:

  • Narcotics containing codeine, oxycodone, and hydromorphone.
  • NSAIDs like: ibuprofen and naproxen.
  • Anti-depressants like: Tricyclic Anti-depressants.
  • Iron Pills
  • Anti-histamine.

While using such medications be mindful of their side effects and take steps accordingly.

Avoid Stressful Conditions

Stress, anxiety has been found to be associated with the release of some chemicals in your body that has been found to cause constipation. 

Surgery

Though rarely needed, your doctor may recommend surgery in extreme cases where constipation is caused by a structural problem in the colon. 

Examples of such include intestinal obstruction, stricture, anal fissure, etc. Also, the development of any cancerous lesion in the intestine may require surgical interventions.

FAQs

Can Constipation Cause Heart Palpitations?

Yes, it can. Constipation causes a buildup of fecal materials in your intestine. Such buildup affects the normal physiology of your entire body and the stress causes an increased contraction of the heart causing heart palpitations.

Can Constipation Cause Heartburn?

To answer this query, we can take two routes. Firstly, both heartburn and constipation can be caused by irritable bowel syndrome, hence both of them may seem to be associated. Secondly, an already existing acid reflux from the stomach can be increased by constipation deposition and the symptoms of heartburn have been found to be relieved by treating constipation.

Can Chronic Constipation Cause Chest Pain?

Yes! It can. Chronic constipation leads to gas formation, this excess gas causes push up of some of your organs in the abdominal region, which is the most common cause for a sharp pain manifestation in the left side of the chest region.

Can Constipation Cause Shortness of Breath?

Yes!! Constipation can cause shortness of breath. Well the reason is, constipation leads to an accumulation of fecal material in your intestines. Accumulation of such organic matters for such a long time causes bloating, gas formation, and so on.

Final Words

Constipation and chest pain. Two very familiar terms in our everyday life. But, ever imagined they could be related? Can Constipation cause chest pain? While it may seem quite passable, constipation too can be responsible for chest pain. 

So what to do when two such uncomfortable conditions are co-existing in your body?  

The answers are quite simple. Take the correct choices. Follow health guidelines for leading a much healthier, active lifestyle. This simple, doable effort from your side can help you achieve a much healthier, happier lifestyle.

Faiyad Ahmed

Faiyad Ahmed

Hello, this is a Faiyad Ahmed. As a future doctor pursuing my MBBS degree, I have always been enthusiasitic about influencing a much healthier, wholesome approach to leading life. Here's hoping my passion for healthful living is reflected on my articles and people can change their overall outlook on living following those.

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