Constipation is one of the most common side effects of phentermine. As well as being painful and embarrassing, it can really slow down weight loss too. Here we explain more about constipation on phentermine, including why it occurs and the best ways to combat this side effect.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation is a problem that many of us have suffered from at some point in our lives. Being constipated means that bowel movements are difficult or happen less frequently than normal. Causes can include a change in routine, stress, and some medications, or it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. However, most cases of constipation are not serious and often resolve themselves within a few days.
Many people think that you should have a certain number of bowel movements per day or week, but the truth is that everyone is different. While some people go three times a day, others will only go three times a week. It’s common to have one bowel movement every day but however often you go is considered normal for you. It’s not a problem to go a couple of days without one as long as you feel fine. But, fewer than three bowel movements in the space of a week indicates that you’re constipated. And if it’s less than once a week then it’s severe.
As well as problems passing stools, constipation can result in a swollen abdomen, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting. It also means that you are not releasing the build-up of waste in your body, so you may feel bloated and gain weight.
Why Does Phentermine Cause Constipation?
Like amphetamine, phentermine stimulates the nervous system and leads to dehydration. This is why other common phentermine side effects include dry mouth and headaches as well as constipation. Dehydration causes you to become constipated as there is not enough water in the body available to help expel waste products through stools, which are typically 75% water.
Constipation has also been linked to low mood and stress. Therefore, some of the other side effects of phentermine, such as depression and anxiety, may also contribute to constipation,. Furthermore, many people taking phentermine experience strong appetite-suppression and eat a lot fewer calories than they used to. This drop in food intake may then cause the digestive system to slow down, resulting in constipation. This is especially likely if you’re not eating a balanced diet or you’re limiting the intake of certain food groups.
How To Combat Constipation On Phentermine
If you’re usually regular as clockwork then going a day or two without a bowel movement might have you reaching for the laxatives. However, it’s best to try more natural methods first, especially as these can also help to boost phentermine weight loss. Here’s our top ways to beat constipation on phentermine:
1. Drink More Water
Even before you experience side effects such as dry mouth and constipation, you should up your water intake in anticipation of the dehydrating effects of phentermine. Water boosts weight loss too, so it should always be part of a healthy lifestyle. As a general guide you should drink eight glasses of water a day, equivalent to 2 liters or 68oz. If you start to experience constipation then drink two to four extra glasses of water each day.
Many people also swear by a glass of warm water with lemon in the morning. Warm water increases the tightening of the intestines, which then facilitates bowel movements. The lemon helps as its high acid content stimulates the digestive system to get things moving.
2. Avoid Dehydrating Drinks
While you’re drinking more water you should avoid drinks such as coffee, soda and alcohol. The high sugar levels in alcohol and soda make constipation worse, while coffee is very dehydrating. Although caffeine can be considered a quick fix for constipation, it is also a diuretic, meaning that it takes moisture out of stools, making them very painful to pass.
3. Add More Fiber To Your Diet
If you’re following a low-carb, high protein diet, this might also be causing your constipation on phentermine. General advice for combating constipation states that you should limit high-fat low-fiber foods, such as meat, cheese and processed foods, and eat more fiber-rich foods, often found in carbohydrates. Women need 25g of fiber per day while men need 38g. But, not all fiber is created equally when it comes to our digestive systems. Soluble fiber slows digestion and boosts metabolism, but it’s the insoluble kind of fiber that helps to facilitate bowel movements. You can find insoluble in fruit and vegetables – especially in the harder-to-chew skins (e.g. cucumber, peppers, apples), wheat bran, and whole grain versions of products such as cereal, bread, pasta and rice. So, for the sake of your digestive system, remember to eat healthy carbs as part of a balanced diet.
4. Get Some Exercise
Inactivity is known to make constipation worse, so getting some exercise is another way to promote healthy bowel movements. While moderate to rigorous physical exercise is preferred, just going for a quick walk around the block will help. Plus, you’ll reap the added benefits of exercise as well as faster weight loss!
5. Reduce Stress
Since depression and stress can trigger constipation, the way phentermine can lower your mood may also affect you this way. Worrying about constipation and stalling weight loss may then cause added stress and worsen symptoms. Reduce stress through yoga, meditation, these stress-management techniques, or get a soothing massage. Massaging your abdominal region in particular relaxes the muscles supporting the intestines, helping you become more regular.
6. Try Prunes
No it’s not an “old wives’ tale”, prunes really are powerful when it comes to constipation. Prunes, or dried plums, are rich in insoluble fiber and contain sorbitol, which acts as a natural laxative. Eat 6-12 prunes per day to see if this helps resolve your constipation. Or, if you prefer you can drink 4-8oz of prune juice in the morning to stimulate a bowel movement.
7. Choose A Mild OTC Remedy
If those methods don’t help, you may want to use a mild over-the-counter stool softener such as Colace. This can be purchased with or without an added laxative. Or, a laxative such as Milk of Magnesia can help promote a bowel movement. This should work in around 4 hours and is stimulant free so you won’t suffer from cramps as a result. Lastly, several members in our Facebook support group have also recommended magnesium citrate, which can be taken as a liquid or in pill form. However, this product is very strong and can be extremely fast-acting. Therefore you should take great care and never exceed the dosage advised.
Please be aware that stool softeners and laxatives should not be taken for more than two weeks. So, if you are experiencing ongoing problems with constipation on phentermine then you should consult your doctor.
Are you experiencing constipation on phentermine? Do you have any tried and tested advice to resolve this side effect? Let us know by commenting below.