Q. Does constipation affect the heart?

Doctor Answer is medically reviewed by SecondMedic medical review team.

Answered by Seconmedic Expert

Constipation itself is not directly linked to heart problems, but there can be indirect connections between the two. Here's how constipation might have an impact on the heart:

Straining: If constipation leads to excessive straining during bowel movements, it can temporarily increase blood pressure. This increased pressure can affect blood vessels, including those in the heart. However, this is usually a temporary and minor increase in blood pressure.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation: The act of straining during a bowel movement can stimulate the vagus nerve, which can lead to changes in heart rate. For some individuals, this might cause a temporary change in heart rate, often resulting in a slower heart rate.

Dehydration: Chronic constipation can sometimes lead to dehydration, especially if you're not drinking enough water to soften the stool. Dehydration can impact blood volume and blood pressure, potentially affecting heart health.

Medication: Certain medications used for treating constipation, such as laxatives, can have side effects that impact electrolyte balance. Electrolyte imbalances can affect heart rhythm and function.

Underlying Health Conditions: Chronic constipation might be associated with underlying health conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or hypothyroidism. These conditions could indirectly affect heart health if not managed properly.

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