Constipation Problems and the Atkins Diet

The number one medical problem that remains under diagnosed year after year is constipation.  Nobody wants to go to the trouble of scheduling a doctorâ??s appointment when they have constipation.  In the majority of cases, the condition goes away within a day or two anywayâ??long before most of us could ever get in to actually see our doctor!  However, when constipation becomes chronic or lasts for more than a few days, serious medical problems can arise.  Are chronic constipation problems a concern for those on the Atkins diet?

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Constipation is a common problem because it has so many potential causes.  Some of the more common sources of short term problems with constipation are:  recent travel; taking a new medication, such as a pain killer, antidepressant, or blood pressure pill; recent changes in diet; dehydration; and withholding a bowel movement.  Once the cause is identified and addressed, the problem should go away within a day or two. 

Chronic constipation, however, is definitely cause for concern as there are two primary causes.  The first is due to a fecal impaction.  When you develop a fecal impaction, a blockage forms in your gastrointestinal tract that does not let allow waste to be evacuated from your body.  A fecal impaction will generally develop due to feces clinging to the walls of your intestines and colon.  Over the years, the accumulation will slow the entire digestive process down.  Eventually, a fecal impaction will develop.

Chronic constipation due to blockage can lead to septicemia, heart infections, and a host of other serious medical issues.  The longer the feces remains blocked and unable to be removed from your body, the more toxins and bacteria are reabsorbed into your bloodstream.  Bacteria will float around your body and may take hold in your heart where they may cause infective endocarditis, an infection in your valves. 

The combined toxins and bacteria loose inside your body will weaken your immune system and leave you susceptible to infection and disease.  If enough bacteria build up in your blood stream, a condition known as septicemia may result which is just one massive infection that can cause death unless a large injection of antibiotics is given.  Using a colon cleanser periodically should remove any accumulated waste in your digestive system and reduce your chances for blockages and chronic constipation. 

Constipation is definitely a concern for those just starting the Atkins diet.  Ketosis causes alterations to the metabolism and causes the body to use more water than normal.  During the initial phase of the Atkins diet, ketosis is burning fat at an elevated rate.  Those starting the Atkins diet need to be sure to monitor fluid intake and not take any laxatives if constipation occurs in the first few days.  By increasing water consumption, you should be able eliminate the source of constipation naturally within a day or two.

There other reason why constipation is a concern for those on the Atkins diet is related to the second common source of chronic constipation:  fiber intake.  Because of the restrictions on carbohydrate intake, many people do not get enough fiber on the Atkins diet, especially during Induction.  By either taking fiber supplements or increasing your natural fiber intake through alternative food sources, you can stay regular and avoid chronic constipation and the problems it causes while still enjoying all the benefits of the Atkins diet.

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