How do you overcome constipation on a gluten free diet?

Some Coeliacs find that devoid of a diet of high fibre grains things can slow down and they can develop constipation or piles. Bleeding from the bum after a bowel movement can be sign of this and should always be checked out (note: fresh red blood is normally a good sign as it's normally a pile). So..how do other Coeliacs ensure they get enough fibre to ensure they have fluid bowel movements and go at least x 1 or x2 a day?

How do you manage this if you're also fructose intolerant of taking iron supplements (which often cause constipation)?

8 Replies

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  • Vodka and Orange mainly.

    With severe constipation 4 sachets of Movicol.

  • I've been making some granary style bread recently that is so good at bulking that I have had to modifiy the recipe. This gives soft bulky stools/

    So, add to your baking some linseeds which you have smashed in a blender. You can buy pre-ground linseed too and just sprinkle on your food, but my husband, who is on medication which gives severe constipation, tried this and wasnt very good at continuing. He also was prescribed Movicol ( there is a chocolate version which tastes less like sweet sea-water, ask your GP for it).

    The bread recipe, which I use to make bagels, is urid lentil flour, almonds (whole with skins,ground with the other seeds) linseeds, pumpkin seeds and tapioca flour. For flavour add date syrup, vanilla and tamarind. When I manage it I also add flour made from sprouted buckwheat. This tastes really good.

  • Tony: top tip (voddie and cranberry is my tipple - OJ too acidic for me!).

    Lois: thanks for the bread tip.

    Have others tried Prune Juice? Fyber Gel (gf on packet)? Fruit juices? Exercise?

  • Massively increase your soluble fibre, found in fruits and vegetables, GF oats, beans, pulses and legumes!

    Aim for 3 veg with lunch and 3 for dinner plus 2 apples per day or an apple and a pear. Other fruits to try include papaya and pineapple as the enzymes they contain aid digestion, and dried fruits such as prunes. Insoluble fibre, such as that found in flours, can actually make things worse sometimes as they can irritate the bowel. Try substituting baked sweet potato or butternut squash for your starchy carb with your meal, ie baked sweet potato topped with Dahl or kidney bean chilli plus green beans and carrots for dinner.

    Make sure you're adequately hydrated - 6-8 glasses of water or herbal tea/rooibos per day. Caffeinated drinks don't count as they can dehydrate you, as does alcohol.

    Consider magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is absorbed from the small intestine, so it's likely you weren't getting much for quite a long time. It's involved in more than 300 processes in the body, including muscle contraction (important for healthy bowel movement) and can be very helpful for constipation. Other symptoms of Mg deficiency include, painful periods, fatigue (it's very heavily involved in the energy production process), muscle twitches, even tiny ones, or cramps, headaches or migraines, anxiety, the list is quite long. A good form to supplement is Magnesium Citrate, and start with 400mg per day (at night before bed helps with sleep and relaxation).

    Reduce starchy carbs. When you look at your plate, your rice, quinoa etc should be roughly 1/4 of your meal.

    Lastly, try 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds, soaked in water for 30minutes and then added to a soup, curry, GF porridge or GF museli (you can drink it as is, but it's slimy, it's invisible if you add it to foods). This is also good for helping to balance hormones - important if you have other hormonal issues going on. Make sure you're hydrating properly with this though as the soluble fibre released from the seeds absorbs water to create soft, easy to pass bulk.

  • Thank you for this...the magnesium bit fits me to a T! Dashed straight to the bedroom and found the mag citrate I had been taking before :-) Could you recommend a reasonably priced version?

  • hello. magnesium will help anyone poop. has nothing to do with a deficiency. if anything if the gluten free diet is removed then one should be pooping easier if it was hindering magnesium absorption. Of course if there is a lack of magnesium in the diet it would be adding to any constipation.

  • Hi, just where do I get Magnesium Citrate from please as have only seen Milk of Magnesia.

  • Also, there are more gentle forms of iron that you can take, if this is causing you problems.

    Ferrous sulphate is not a good form to be taking, as it's incredible poorly absorbed by the body, so check the one you have and let me know if you'd like more info on this :)

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