Treatment Guid

Celiac Disease Health in Depth: Natural Remedies for Chronic Constipation

About 20% of people with untreated celiac disease have chronic constipation instead of the classic symptom of diarrhea. As the rate of diagnosis improves, constipation is becoming recognized as a common symptom of celiac disease.

Constipation is a common problem in the general population of the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 4 million people have frequent constipation. It is one of the most common digestive complaints in the United States, resulting in about 2.5 million doctor visits and 92,000 hospitalizations annually, although most people treat themselves. This high rate of constipation results in annual laxative sales of over $735 million in this country.

This article will discuss the following topics:

1. How to recognize constipation.

2. Natural remedies that have been shown to help constipation.

3. How to induce a bowel movement.


Constipation involves problems with stool formation, consistency, and evacuation. It is characterized by one or more of these features:

· Hard, dry stool or soft, putty-like stool.

· Difficult defecation.

· Infrequent defecation, less than one bowel movement per day.

· A feeling of incomplete evacuation following bowel movement.

Constipation can give rise to many different ailments including indigestion, a white coated tongue, bad breath, gas, hemorrhoids, hernia, body odor, depression, fatigue, headache, insomnia, and varicose veins.

The three main causes of constipation are abnormal bowel motility, malabsorption and dysbiosis. Each one, or all three together can cause constipation.

1. Abnormal bowel motility is altered peristalsis, where food passes through the intestine too slowly, due to ineffective muscle action of the intestines. It may take the form of spastic colon or atonic colon.

· Spastic colon is characterized by a spasms, (irregular and excessive muscle contractions of the intestinal walls), so that the muscles resist stretching and thereby decrease the diameter of the inside of the intestine. This restricts the passage of food.

Hard, dry stools are produced as the colon absorbs too much water from the slowly advancing stool. Spasms can result from magnesium deficiency, chronic stress, lack of exercise, lack of water or lack of fiber in the diet.

Spastic constipation is associated with variable degrees of abdominal pain or distress, erratic frequency of bowel action, and variation in stool consistency.


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About Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN is CEO and co-Founder of Gluten Free Works, Inc. and She is the author and publisher of the highly recommended celiac disease reference guide, Recognizing Celiac Disease.
  • Great article. Lots of information. Thank you for mentioning the liver. In clinical practice we see this so often. Another thing we find is liver and gall bladder dysfunction. People with poor bile production and flow. Since the bile coats, protects and cleans the GI tract, once we get this improved with people they begin to have little to no constipation.

    Thanks again for the wonderful article and I look forward to the next one.

  • Constipation can be really embarrassing to talk to your doctor about. This is some great information. I’ve found Magnesium has helped a lot, along with eating lots of fruits and vegetables.

  • Jessie says:

    Thank you for this excellent article on constipation and mentioning atonic colon. I was diagnosed at age 18 with atonic colon and am now in my 50’s. I have been gluten free for over a year and it has helped along with drinking more water. I have been told I have Celiac disease by a natural path nurse. I feel by going gluten free I am finally getting more regular. I take Magnesium when I get backed up which really works great for me. It has been a long journey dealing with this. I refuse to take laxatives.

  • Vicky says:

    Buy an enema bag online or medical supply store. Lubricate tip with Vaseline. Fill with warm water. Get on floor on hands and knees like a dog. Insert tube in rectum gently. Not too far or water won’t go in. Put in in half the water, and wait for urge, then sit on toilet. Don’t strain. Repeat using second half of water in enema bag. This will clean your colon.

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