Foods that can Trigger Constipation

Constipation may not be something people are comfortable talking about, but it is common. 

Even if you have never experienced constipation before, you may at some point in your life. It’s important to discuss this condition with your doctor and that you understand what causes constipation, how to treat it, and whether laxatives can help you.

Causes of constipation

Many factors can contribute to the occasional bout of constipation. These include:

  • Dehydration— Not drinking enough fluids can dehydrate your body and lead to a harder, drier stool, which can be painful and difficult to pass.
  • Inactivity— When your body is sluggish, so is your bowel. This leads to the stool spending a longer time in your gut, where it becomes drier and more compact.
  • Ignoring the urge — Not going to the toilet when the urge strikes means the stool spends a longer time in the gut, where it becomes more compact and harder to pass.
  • Dietary triggers — Eating a diet high in processed foods can mean you’re eating a diet low in fibre. Fibre is important to add bulk to the stool and help the stool’s transit through the bowel.

While low fibre foods are widely known as triggers for constipation, are there other foods that can affect your bowel function?

Foods that can trigger Constipation

If you suffer from constipation, take a look at the food you eat. Some people find certain foods can aggravate the condition. Common culprits include:

  • Dairy products —Dairy products, including cheese, milk, yogurt and ice cream, may contribute to constipation, especially in children.
  • Diet high in saturated fat — Eating a diet high in saturated fat has been linked to constipation. Sources of saturated fat include butter, cream, full-fat milk and cheese, meat, coconut milk and cream, palm oil, cooking margarine, snacks like chips, cakes, biscuits and pastries, and takeaway foods made with saturated fats.
  • Black tea — Black tea does contain tannins which could aggravate pre-existing constipation in some people.
  • Chocolate —Chocolate can provide a double whammy. It is high in fat, which slows down digestion, and contains caffeine, which can be dehydrating.
  • Confectioneries —Confectioneries such as lollies and gum are highly processed foods and could cause a block up. A study of over 1000 young women (18-20) in Japan found that as intake of confectioneries increased, the prevalence of constipation also increased.
  • Unripe Bananas — When it comes to bananas and constipation, colour matters. Unripe bananas, or green bananas, contain tannins and high starch content, which could cause or aggravate constipation in some people.

Constipation Relief

If constipation affects you or any family member, the Dulco range of products could be helpful. The Dulco range includes Dulcolax Tablets and Dulcolax SP Drops that provide clinically proven1-3 relief from constipation. Dulcolax suppositories are effective in 20-45 minutes for predictable relief from constipation.

If you believe you are suffering from constipation, consult with your doctor for the most effective treatment options for you.

Always read the label and follow the directions for use.

1. Kamm et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011; 9(7):577-583. Sponsored by Boehringer-Ingelheim.
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3. Mueller-Lissner et al. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010;105(4):897-903. Sponsored by Boehringer-Ingelheim. Wiriyakosol,
4. S et al. Asian Journal of Surgery. 2007; 30 (3): 167-172. Mandel, L and Silinsky, J. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 1960; 83 (8): 384-387. Phillips, R.W. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 1965; 13 (1): 78-79. Pincock, J.G. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 1960; 82: 268-269. Lvine, J. and Rinzlner, S.H. The American Journal of Cardiology. 1960; 108-110.

Learn about which Dulcolax product may be appropriate for you.


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