Fiber is an essential nutrient to get rid of constipation. In fact, the majority of natural laxatives or stool softeners contain a lot of fiber. Studies have shown that the consumption of high fiber foods can increase stool frequency in patients with constipation (1).
However, several people got constipated after the consumption of high-fiber foods. Now, why do these people get constipated on a fiber-rich diet? Can too much fiber cause constipation?
The answer is yes. Too much fiber can cause constipation in healthy adults by creating phytobezoar formation in the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, phytobezoar formation is a common cause of bowel obstruction which triggers constipation.
Moreover, there are several other causes of constipation that are associated with fiber intake. In this post, we will see why too much fiber cause constipation.
How Does Too Much Fiber Cause Constipation?
Although fiber is an essential macronutrient to reduce the risk of constipation, in some circumstances fiber can promote constipation. The most common situation is high fiber intake.
But why does too much fiber cause constipation? There are two major constipating factors that are interlinked with high fiber intake. These are
- Phytobezoar formation
Let’s check how the above-mentioned two factors cause bowel problems.
Phytobezoar is the most common type of bezoar. Bezoars are masses produced by the accumulation of undigested material like fiber in the gastrointestinal tract more frequently in the stomach.
Phytobezoar mainly contains fruit and vegetable fiber. Intake of a large amount of food with high-fiber content is the major reason behind phytobezoar formation. According to studies, phytobezoar formation can cause small bowel obstruction (2).
This small bowel obstruction can promote constipation problems. In fact, people with inadequate chewing problems and aged people are more prone to get constipated by phytobezoar formation.
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation. Although it is not directly associated with high fiber intake, it can indirectly cause constipation. In fact, less water consumption with high fiber dishes can trigger phytobezoar formation more rapidly.
On the other hand, dietary fiber adds bulk to stool and water is an essential component to maintain smoothness in the stool. That’s why the combination of a high fiber diet with low water intake can produce hard bulky stools and it can make severe constipation problems.
Can Too Much Fiber Make Constipation Worse?
Too much fiber can make constipation worse in patients with either Idiopathic constipation or chronic constipation. It’s because these two types of constipation are inversely related to the consumption of dietary fiber.
Studies have shown that intake of fiber-rich foods can worsen constipation symptoms of both idiopathic constipation and chronic constipation patients (3, 4). On the other hand, healthy adults without these disorders can also be affected with severe constipation during a high fiber diet because of phytobezoar formation.
Furthermore, improper chewing and less water consumption also make constipation worse during a high fiber diet plan. Moreover, several fiber-rich foods like nuts contain phytic acid.
Studies have shown that phytic acid can create absorption problems for micronutrients (5). Because of this too much consumption of fiber dense nuts can cause constipation by triggering micronutrient malabsorption.
Too Much Fiber Constipation Relief
To get rid of too much fiber-related constipation people need to follow some simple steps. The most common precaution is to reduce the intake of high fiber foods without breaking the daily nutrient requirement structure,
Replacing high fiber foods with moderately high fiber foods is a great way to deal with this kind of problem. Moreover, it is essential to drink adequate water with fiber0dense foods to avoid two major causes of constipation aka dehydration and phytobezoar formation.
Also, eating magnesium-rich foods can also help to reduce the risk of constipation. Studies have shown that low magnesium intake can reduce stool frequency (6). That’s why the consumption of magnesium-dense foods like pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and almonds can help to get rid of constipation.
Moreover, eating probiotics with your regular diet plan may also help to achieve constipation relief. According to studies, probiotics may increase the intestinal frequency and improve stool quality (7).
What Foods Are Best To Replace Fiber For Severe Constipation And Too Much Fiber?
Although every food contains fiber it is ver difficult to replace them. However, magnesium-rich foods with low fiber density are the best to replace fiber for severe constipation and too much fiber.
It’s because, magnesium is an essential macromineral, deficiency of this mineral can lead to constipation (2). Moreover, consumption of adequate water and fluids can also help to get rid of constipation.
That’s why severe constipation patient can also add fruit juices without added sugar to replace dietary fiber rich foods.