The query ‘can stop smoking cause constipation’ is a common question that almost every other smoker wants answered. Well, the answer is affirmative indeed.
Smoking is an act that tends to boost dopamine production yet, this pleasure usually lasts till your last cigarette. Once the cigarette has finished, your mind starts to crave for nicotine.
The dependency of ‘nicotine laced with tobacco’ is so great that even your digestive process is in its grips. Your large as well as small intestines (along with your stomach) function as per the number of cigarettes you smoked on that particular day.
So, digestive problems after quitting smoking are quite common in smokers.
In this article, I shall reveal the intricate connection between your digestive track and your cigarette. I shall also reveal ways and means of reducing and even eliminating constipation after quitting cigarettes.
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Can Stop Smoking Cause Constipation Article Contents:
1) What is Constipation in Smokers?
2) What are the Main Reasons why a Smoker Suffers from Constipation?
3) How Long would Constipation Last after Quitting Smoking?
4) Why do I get Horrible Gas after Quitting Smoking?
5) What are the Main Digestive Problems a Smoker Faces after Quitting Smoking?
6) How to Relieve Constipation after Quitting Smoking?
What is Constipation?
Constipation can be described as a condition wherein the concerned individual is unable to pass stool normally. It is said that you suffer from constipation if you fail to pass stool less than 4 times in the past 7 day period.
Medical experts are of the opinion that lack of nutritious diet and water intake are the two main culprits behind your constipation. Changes in the current sleeping pattern and the inability to consume fibers (once again a part of diet) also lead to this scenario.
Constipation in Smokers:
It has been noticed that smokers who have quit smoking recently tend to suffer from constipation. This is because nicotine dependency is excessive in smokers. Lack of nicotine initiates withdrawal symptoms that inhibit optimal flow of digestive juices in the abdominal area.
Some smokers complain of not ‘going about their business’ for over one week. If this happens then, you definitely need to pay a visit to the doctor. Severe dependency on nicotine fortified with tobacco is what causes digestive issues in smokers.
How does a Smoker Identify that He/She is Indeed Suffering from Constipation?
@ If you are not being able to ‘go about your business’ like you usually do then, it is a sign of poor digestion.
@ For example, if you used to ‘take a dump’ once every day in the morning. After quitting smoking, you have not taken a dump for 3 consecutive days. In this scenario, it is a case of constipation.
@ You tend to suffer from bowel movement that is excessively dry. Basically, you have a painful time passing stool.
@ Smokers that feel the urge to ‘go again’ a few minutes to a few hours after taking a dump tend to suffer from constipation.
@ You suffer from cramps in the abdominal area.
@ Your abdominal feels bloated even though you have hardly eaten anything. It is quite possible that you may feel like vomiting.
@ The nerve and stomach muscles may have been damaged owing to cigarette smoke. This too is an indicator to a smoker suffering from constipation after quitting cigarettes.
What are the Main Reasons why a Smoker Suffers from Constipation?
There is not one reason why a smoker suffers from constipation after quitting cigarettes. Usually, there are combinations of reasons that prompt a smoker to suffer from irregular bowel movement.
Constipation Caused by the Way a Smoker Leads His/Her Life:
@ You may be drinking way too less water.
@ It is also possible that you may be consuming fast food or processed food.
@ Lack of ample fiber intake leads to poor digestion. Women should consume 25 grams of fiber daily. Men need to consume slightly more – about 38 grams daily.
@ Smokers that have quit smoking but follow different eating patterns or sleeping patterns also suffer from constipation.
@ You have quit smoking but you have not started to exercise. Lack of physical exertion leads to digestive issues.
@ Excessive consumption of dairy product also leads to stomach issues.
@ You tend to delay ‘taking a dump’, which in turn leads to you not being able to clear your bowels completely. So, never stop the urge.
@ Believe it or not but the stress that your mind undergoes for not receiving nicotine tends to take a toll on your digestive health. Constipation is usually caused because nicotine is lacking in a smoker’s diet plan.
Constipation Caused by the Drugs a Smoker Takes on a Regular Basis:
@ If you are being treated for depression arising from quitting smoking then, antidepressants may cause digestive issues.
@ In case you are taking medications for controlling your acidity then again, digestive issues may be common. For example, tablets rich in calcium and iron.
@ In case you are being treated for psychiatric disorders and are taking clozapine medications then, normal bowel movement may be impaired.
@ You have quit smoking but are taking medicines to counter inflammation. For example, tablets such as naproxen can lead to digestive issues.
@ After quitting smoking, you develop blood pressure issues. So, you have begun taking medicines such as diltiazem or verapamil. These medications tend to jeopardize the natural digestive process.
@ If after quitting smoking, you suffer from nausea and are taking medicines for the same. For example, you take ondansetron to feel better. This does treat your nausea but in return causes digestion related complications.
@ In case you suffer from allergies and are taking diphenhydramine then again, you may face digestive issues.
@ If you have quit smoking but suffer from seizures then, medicines such as gabapentin may hamper normal bowel movement.
Constipation Caused by a Smoker’s Prior Medical History:
@ In case you have issues with your thyroid gland then, your digestion is bound to go for a toss (especially if you have just quit smoking).
@ If you suffer from organ related ailments (such as scleroderma or ssystemic lupus erythematosus) then, your digestion is jeopardized.
@ Cancer of the colon and rectum also lead to constipation in smokers that have recently quit cigarettes.
@ If a smoker’s digestive tract is defective or imbalanced (with special regards to its structure) then again, you can suffer from improper bowel syndrome.
@ In case a smoker’s intestinal track has a blockage or he/she suffers from IBS then again, it may lead to constipation.
@ If the muscles of the pelvic floor are imbalanced/weak, it may cause constipation in smokers.
@ Ailments or injuries to the brain or the spine can also cause constipation. For example, Parkinson’s disease.
@ In case the colon wall of the smoker is inflamed, it may lead to constipation.
How Long Should Constipation Last after Quitting Smoking?
It can last from a few days to a few weeks. In some cases, constipation may last a few months. There have been cases wherein smokers have experienced constipation for years.
Nonetheless, this is a rarest of rare occurrences (suffering years of constipation). There is always an underlying medical condition attached to such an extreme digestive tract issue. If unchecked, it may lead to smoker’s depression.
So, in general, smokers shall experience constipation after they quit smoking for a few weeks. It may stretch to a few months but it is never usually more than 6 months in duration.
If necessary precautions are taken and healthy lifestyle changes incorporated then, a smoker may get rid of constipation sooner than expected. All this is dependent on the current health condition and the lifestyle that he/she leads.
Identifying Your Current Constipation Status:
@ Smokers quitting cigarettes may experience unusual pain and cramps in and around the abdominal area.
@ You might have to stress really hard in order to pass stool in the morning. Grunting and groaning while sitting on the toilet seat becomes a part and parcel of your early morning start.
@ Your abdominal may seem unusually swelled without you having eaten anything for the past few hours.
@ When you do ‘take a dump’ you tend to leave a bloody mess behind.
@ The pain while doing your daily ‘morning job’ is unusually high.
Getting Your Poop Life Back on Track:
@ You need to eat a diet that is rich in fiber. It should also be a highly nutritious meal.
@ Avoid processed and fast food as far as possible. Processed foods are low in fiber content and they cause constipation.
@ Drink water and exercise daily (for about 30 minutes).
@ Eat your meals on time. In my (LeanAndFit reviewer) opinion skipping meals upsets your normal digestion.
@ Be mentally strong. Quitting smoking requires a lot of mental strength. Withdrawal symptoms are normal but they fade soon enough if you have a strong will power.
Why do I get Horrible Gas after Quitting Smoking?
As I have explained in my earlier paragraphs, the main reason why a smoker gets gas after quitting cigarettes is poor digestion. Let me walk you through the two main reasons why smokers suffer from a poor digestive mechanism:
Nicotine Tends to Rule Your Intestinal Tract:
One of the prime reasons why you suffer from constipation when you stop smoking cigarettes is because your digestion is regulated by the amount of nicotine you inhale from a lit cigarette.
As nicotine derived from cigarettes breach the blood-brain barrier in as less as 8 seconds, they simply control the entire body. So, regulating the manner in which your digestion works is simply a small part of what nicotine addiction governs.
When you stop smoking cigarettes, the governance is lost. This happens abruptly. So, your digestive tract is left in a lurch. It does not know at what speed to pass the food through the intestines. The end result is hard stool, which often leads to constipation.
Anxiety Level of a Smoker is at its Peak:
Smokers that quit smoking tend to suffer from anxiety. Some even go to the extent of experiencing panic attacks in the absence of cigarettes.
When you are anxious, your entire body’s natural mechanism is jeopardized. This is especially true with special regards to your body’s natural digestive process.
Here is how the Digestion of a Smoker Normally Works:
>>> There are almost 99 million nerve cells that start from the throat and end at the colon. They are directly responsible for regulating your digestive process.
>>> These help you swallow the food you eat and allow it to get digested.
>>> The nerve cells determine the right amount of digestive enzyme that needs to be pushed into the digestive tract to enable optimal digestion.
>>> They also decipher waste product from the nourishing part of the food.
This is what Happens to the Normal Digestive System of a Smoker under Stress:
>>> When a smoker is stressed as he is not getting cigarettes, his blood pressure rises, muscles become rigid and his cholesterol levels increase.
>>> The esophagus tends to experience way more convulsions that it normally does.
>>> The digestive acid in the stomach tends to increase fourfold. The end result of the same is indigestion.
>>> A smoker (at this point) starts to feel puckish. Soon, he starts to experience the ill effects of constipation.
What are the Main Digestive Problems a Smoker Faces after Quitting Smoking?
When you smoke a cigarette, over 6000 harmful chemicals are ingested into your body. This is via the toxic smoke that emits from a lit cigarette. A single cigarette also contains almost 65 carcinogens.
You can very well imaging what this concoction of toxic chemicals does to your vital organs. One such vital organ is your digestive tract. The nicotine and other chemicals present in cigarettes tend to control your digestive process.
When nicotine is not being delivered to the digestive tract via cigarettes, the stomach tends to get adversely affected. Apart from constipation, the concerned smoker tends to suffer from a myriad of digestive related issues.
In fact, smoking cigarettes tend to affect the pancreas and liver the most. The esophagus is also adversely affected by the highly toxic cigarette smoke. Besides, the colon and the brain are also impacted adversely by cigarettes.
Here is a list of the most common digestive issues related directly to smoking cigarettes:
Horrible Gas after Quitting Smoking:
Gas in the intestinal tract is undoubtedly the most common side effect of smoking cigarettes. This tends to intensify significantly once a smoker decides to do away with cigarettes for good.
Gas in smoker is usually felt the most in the upper part of the intestines. Owing to the lack of nicotine being passed into the blood stream, smokers that have quit smoking face acid reflux issues as well.
Ironically, gas is also caused when you swallow air while consuming foods. This gas tends to get eliminated via the anus of the concerned individual. Nonetheless in smokers, it is caused by the lack of digestive juices being produced in the abdominal area owing to the lack of nicotine.
Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders:
This is an ailment of the digestive tract that is directly linked with your brain. This leads to gas, bloating, dyspepsia and even constipation.
Smokers tend to suffer from functional gastrointestinal disorders because their brains are fine-tuned to smoking cigarettes. When you stop smoking, withdrawal symptoms step-in.
When your brain literally craves for nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarettes, it disrupts your normal digestion process. Hence, all the above mentioned issues start to plague a former smoker.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease:
Gastroesophageal reflux is a condition wherein you feel as though the food that you have consumed is being pushed back towards the mouth. It is similar to acid reflux.
This condition is common to smokers that have quit smoking. Owing to the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter, smokers experience GERD. Sometimes the optimal contraction of this muscle is compromised.
Even smokers who are still into cigarettes tend to experience this issue.
The acid based enzymes used for digesting food tend to flow back to your mouth. So, it is also known as heartburn. While this is not such a serious ailment, it can jeopardize the normal lifestyle of any individual.
Extra Bacterial Production:
It is in the small intestines that bacteria start to grow. This is owing to the toxic fumes entering the body when you smoke cigarettes. These in turn tends to disrupt the normal functionality of the small intestines.
A spurt in the growth of intestinal bacteria used for digesting food tends to cause bloating and gas. Lack of optimal digestion leads to gas in smokers and also causes heartburn.
When the food that you are consuming is slowed down during the natural digestive process, it leads to gastroparesis. Basically, after quitting smoking, the acid production within the stomach gets jeopardized.
This is when the muscles present in the stomach are unable to mince the food optimally. The end result is delay in passing the food from your stomach to the small intestines.
So, when a smoker that has quit cigarettes starts to experience gastroparesis, he/she faces various other health complications. Some of the common ones include dehydration, weight loss, bloating, belching, blockage in the intestines, ulcers and mood swings.
Fatty Liver Disease:
Smoking cigarettes for a prolonged duration tends to control your natural digestive movement. When you stop smoking, the condition worsens. The effect felt the most is on the liver.
A common ailment arising from withdrawal symptoms is a fatty liver. This condition does not arise from alcohol intake. Cigarette smoke and the nicotine dependency (that comes along with it) are to be blamed.
Fatty liver disease in smokers is asymptomatic in nature. It becomes symptomatic at the very last stage. This is when the complications arising from a fatty liver can take a fatal turn.
Inflammation in the Colon:
Smokers have been known to suffer from excessive swelling in their colon. This is all owing to the influx of nicotine fortified with toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
If it is not treated in time then, it may lead to ulcerative colitis. So quitting cigarettes is a great way to avoid such complications in the colon.
Nonetheless for a short time, colon inflammation is felt significantly when a smoker quits cigarettes. Crohn’s disease is also a resultant of smoking cigarettes. This in turn leads to anemia and pain in the abdominal area.
Smokers have also been known to develop colon polyps. This is owing to the change in the DNA of cells present in the colon of the smoker.
Such a dramatic act can be attributed to the highly toxic cigarette smoke. Chronic nicotine dependency is also a part and parcel of this disease. If left untreated, it may lead to colon cancer.
Stones in the Gallbladder:
Gallstones are also common in smokers. These take shape in the gallbladder owing to the improper functioning of the bile. In smokers, cholesterol production may be increased (owing to the toxic chemicals present in cigarettes).
Your bile is unable to dissolve extra cholesterol thereby causing stone formation in the gallbladder. Sometimes, smokers tend to create extra bilirubin in the bile. This in turn leads to the formation of hard crystals in the gall bladder.
It is also possible that smokers are unable to empty their gallbladder properly. The bile that is left within its confines tends to cause stone formation. The stones thus formed can be yellow, brown or black in color.
Cancers of the Digestive Tract:
In certain extreme cases, cancers of the digestive tract may be a direct resultant of smoking cigarettes. These may include cancers of the colon, large intestines, small intestines, pancreas and even the rectum.
While this is not a common occurrence, excessive smoking may lead to such extreme health complications. While quitting smoking would reduce these complications, the risk factor of smokers developing cancer is always high.
How to Relieve Constipation after Quitting Smoking?
When you smoke cigarettes, the high amount of nicotine in your cigarette promotes digestion. Actually, nicotine is responsible for pushing the food optimally via your digestive tract.
While, it is not an ‘optimal way’ to achieve proper digestion, nicotine dependency via cigarettes does the trick for you.
In simpler words, when you smoke cigarette regularly, your nicotine dependency increases. Your digestive tract is also controlled via the nicotine that you derive from the cigarettes you smoke. Nicotine promotes the movement of waste matter via your intestines.
When you quit smoking cigarettes, your digestion goes for a toss. Lack of nicotine tends to hamper the normal movement of feces through your intestines. This in turn leads to constipation.
Dry and lumpy stool is a clear indicator that a smoker is suffering from constipation. Inability to pass stool for 2 or 3 consecutive days is also an indicator that you are constipated.
Nonetheless, you can easily hope to ease your digestive issues when you quit smoking. You simply need to make certain lifestyle changes.
Here is a quick look at a few such changes:
Consume Nightshade Plants:
When you quit smoking cigarettes, the withdrawal symptoms are terrible indeed. They take weeks and even months to ease. One such withdrawal symptom is constipation.
To ease this, you should try and compensate the nicotine craving by consuming foods that are high in nicotine content. When you do so, you are able to ease your digestion without bothering to smoke another cigarette.
Some of the most common foods (high in nicotine) include tomatoes, cauliflower, capsicum, eggplant, peppers and potatoes. When you consume these vegetables, you are easing your digestion thereby minimizing constipation.
Start Exercising – 45 Minutes a Day:
When you exercise on a regular basis, you tend to boost your immunity levels. Smokers who are facing constipation related issues should exercise 4 times a week.
When you exercise, your blood pressure stabilizes, your body weight reduces and your mind releases dopamine. All these factors help ease your natural digestive process. This in turn helps in normalizing your natural bowel movement.
Adding More Nutrition to Your Existing Diet:
Your diet definitely needs to have more fiber content. You can get this from whole fruits (such as papaya, banana and oranges), whole grains (such as barley, quinoa, and sorghum) and whole pulses.
When you consume foods that are high in fiber content then, you are able to automatically improve your digestion. The movement and absorption of foods in your intestines is also stabilized.
So, eating more fiber rich foods is a boon for smokers that have quit smoking. Apart from fiber, your foods should be rich in nutrients. At the same time, you need to avoid foods that are processed or refined.
Never Miss Out on Your Daily Dose of Hydration:
Water is essential if you would like to maintain a healthy digestive system. So, you need to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. This is essential for smokers that are facing constipation as they have just quit smoking.
If you cannot drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily then, compensate this with fresh fruit drinks, milk, coconut water etc. Basically, your body should be well hydrated throughout the day.
Release Happy Hormones by Exercising Your Mind:
Your mental peace is vital for ensuring that you achieve optimal digestion. To ease constipation, you should indulge in meditation. Add yoga to your daily routine if you cannot meditate.
When your mind is at peace and anxiety is at bay, you tend to release dopamine. Happy hormones not only make you smile, they also keep your digestive tract functional.
So, smokers that have recently quit smoking should never skip your daily dose of laughter to avoid constipation.
Stomach problems after quitting smoking are common to almost every smoker. The question, ‘can stop smoking cause constipation’ has a definite ‘yes’ for an answer.
Nicotine cravings lead to anger, frustration, mood swings, digestive issues and a host of other withdrawal symptoms. Nonetheless, there is nothing to worry about.
Taking good care of yourself helps a smoker regain his lost health very quickly. Make extra efforts to lead a healthier life. Seek the help of a trained medical representative if your constipation issues are not resolved at home.
It is best to opt for a natural digestive tonic to optimize your digestive process and eliminate constipation permanently.