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Old 11-12-2009, 08:45 PM   #1
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Low Carb Journey Marred by Constipation

I embarked on my low carb journey about a month ago and achieved some amazing results: lost 20 pounds and normalized my blood sugar (I'm T2 diabetic). I would like to continue my low carb journey but there is one problem: constipation.

Constipation is cited as a common byproduct of going low-carb. But my impression is that for most people, it goes away. For me, it hasn't. I first started taking Metamucil and lots of water, thinking that fiber and increased fluid intake will take care of the problem. It made it worse. Then I tried some MiraLAX and Colace. They sort of helped but the underlying issue seems to be lack of moisture in the colon.

After doing some research, I started taking milk of magnesia. This definitely helped. But at this point, I think I may have hemorrhoids. Plus, the mlk of magnesia (or any other laxative for that matter) isn't intended for long-term use.

If you've suffered from constipation after going low-carb, how have you dealth with it? Surely, it doesn't have to be chronic? Is anyone treating it long-term with laxatives or through other means?

Last edited by maxell; 11-12-2009 at 08:47 PM..
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:00 PM   #2
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It would be helpful to give us an idea of which foods you're eating. Your profile says modified low carb, what does that mean? Are you eating low-fat? Low-carb + low-fat is a sure recipe for constipation!

Can you give a day or two of typical menus?
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:16 PM   #3
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Modified low carb means low carb foods like meats (steak, pork), vegetables that are low carb (i.e., no potatoes, corn), very few fruits (avocado, for example), dairy and egg products (low carb cottage cheese, all hard cheese, milk in small doses). Plus anything else where the carb can be controlled. I take in about 90g of carbs per day, and I try to avoid all bread, pasta, noodles, rice, crackers, cereals, and any other grain-based products. I eat about 50% fat, 25% proteins, and 25% carbs, out of about 1600 calories that I consume everyday. It's carb-restrictive, not fat restrictive.

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Originally Posted by lilly29 View Post
It would be helpful to give us an idea of which foods you're eating. Your profile says modified low carb, what does that mean? Are you eating low-fat? Low-carb + low-fat is a sure recipe for constipation!

Can you give a day or two of typical menus?

Last edited by maxell; 11-12-2009 at 09:17 PM..
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:20 PM   #4
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That was an issue for me for quite a while. The only thing that worked for me was upping the fat and adding warm liquids such as herbal teas and decaf coffee as part of my liquid intake. I stay at about 65% fat/ 25% protein/ 5-10% carb no matter what my calories are for the day. HTH.
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:26 AM   #5
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The thing that has really helped me is magnesium. I take it twice a day and it has made a huge difference.

Angie
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:51 AM   #6
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Adding fat and maybe mag. might help. 50% fat is pretty low for most LC diets, and magnesium aids in retention of water in the bowel. It is true, in my experience, that the intestinal muscles become more fit, the mucus membrane gets healthier and better able to do it's job and the smaller volume of a low vegetable waste diet moderates it's effect. This probably only happens if you do not use irritant or stimulant laxatives though. You will have to learn that "regular" doesn't necessarily mean "daily".

But if you are experiencing other digestive health problems you might also look at what foods you are eating. If I eat some of the foods I have become intolerant of, such as grains or beans, I get symptoms that my doctor passed off as "hemorrhoids", but which disappeared when I stopped eating grains and beans. Pain, bleeding, itching and swelling. All symptoms of inflammation caused by the irritants I was consuming and not digesting well.

My attempts to use fiber just made things worse.

HTH
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Old 11-13-2009, 05:57 AM   #7
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I had the same problem. I cut out the extra fiber and started taking 4000 mg of fish oil (per my dr). It took about 5 or 6 days, but I started to see remarkable improvement. A month later - I'm a happy camper.
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:04 AM   #8
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I've tried the Acai Cleanse, magnesium citrate, and Cascara Sagrade. They are all effective but the Cascara seems to not cramp or make me feel weak like the others do. I don't take it everyday.
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:21 AM   #9
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I have experience of this.

When I first did lowcarb, I ate a lot of fresh vegetables and I had no issues with constipation. In fact, a lot of the time, I was going "the other way"

This time however, I didn't have any vegies, and gosh - bad mistake. I've had the worst episodes of constipation I've ever experienced. Horrid experience.

I've now started eating spinach again (spinach is high in magnesium) and no further problems with constipation.

Look up some nice spinach dishes. I'm not sure why so many people dislike spinach? One of my favourite foods when it's cooked well! Also very low in carbs.

Edit: cauliflower is also rich in magnesium. Last time I low-carbed, I had spinach and cauliflower at least once each per week. Never had constipation.

Last edited by Chubbster; 11-13-2009 at 06:29 AM..
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:45 AM   #10
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Try replacing your dairy with more vegetables.
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Old 11-13-2009, 06:45 AM   #11
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Magnesium
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:25 AM   #12
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Magnesium
I agree. But the Tablets not the milk of magnesia. Makes a huge difference for me.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogie303 View Post
The thing that has really helped me is magnesium. I take it twice a day and it has made a huge difference.

Angie
works for me! like a miracle
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:07 AM   #14
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Mineral Oil

I use mineral oil, nice and mild (and cheap too)
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:37 AM   #15
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Another vote for magnesium. Also: veggies, exercise and lots of water.

I've had constipation problems my entire life. I mean, my entire 32 years on the planet. I've tried everything. I mean, everything. You name it.

Most doctors will tell you to eat more fiber. Personally, that only made my constipation worse. I'm pretty sure that my colon, she is slooow. So the more I stuffed myself with fiber, the more clogged up I became - even while drinking water out the yin yang, so to speak.

For me, stimulant laxatives like senna and cascara sagrada work but are unpredictable, inconvenient and uncomfortable. Non-stimulant laxatives like MoM and Miralax work sometimes, but if they don't work they leave me very bloated. Not fun...or attractive. Fiber laxatives like Metamucil or Citrucel work at first really well, but then stop working and see above.

But 1000g of magnesium per day is working like a charm for me right now. I just bought the cheapest kind I could find at the grocery store. I decided not to obsess about what kind I was taking, and it's paying off so far.
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:05 AM   #16
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I've use the wally world version of Metamucil (sugar free of course) for over a year now and its kept me going, literally .
However I use 2 ice tea spoons in a 16oz glass of water 3x a day, after each meal.
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:23 AM   #17
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Yes, magnesium seems to be the only thing that's working but I'm worried about using it long-term, which my milk of magnesia label warns against. But if I take magnesium as a supplement (as a few peopel have suggested), then it might work (toxicidity seems rare as long as your kidneys are working) for the long haul? My Philips MoM label says it has 1200 mg of magnesium hydroxide. Is that about equivalent to 1000g of magnesium the supplement?

I initially thought fiber (metamucil) and water would help but they worsened it. My endo said that fiber and water may act as "irritants" but I could not understand his reasoning why they would. This has been a long-term problem (predating my diabetes) but with my low carb diet, the severity increased to the point where I was afraid of going to the bathroom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Looweewoo View Post
Adding fat and maybe mag. might help. 50% fat is pretty low for most LC diets, and magnesium aids in retention of water in the bowel. It is true, in my experience, that the intestinal muscles become more fit, the mucus membrane gets healthier and better able to do it's job and the smaller volume of a low vegetable waste diet moderates it's effect. This probably only happens if you do not use irritant or stimulant laxatives though. You will have to learn that "regular" doesn't necessarily mean "daily".
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:06 PM   #18
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you need more fat, less fiber and more water. I would stop the fiber supplements, get your fiber from green leafys and add coconut oil to your day. Especially if you have hemorroids. The coconut oil wil work nicely to heal these and you can find great relief utilizing it internally as well.

fibers sit in the colon and the body naturally pulls liquids from foods during the digestive journey. If plumbing is stopped up, the body's natural reaction is to continue pulling water consequently, drying out our feces and allowing toxins to re-enter the bloodstream.

Last edited by fawn; 11-13-2009 at 07:08 PM..
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:31 PM   #19
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I'd add Smooth Move tea, and second the exercise. Vigorous exercise and a cup of coffee....well, works for me

I do a modified lc diet too, and find lots of veggies are important for me.
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Old 11-14-2009, 04:28 AM   #20
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Let me add that I also take chelate multi minerals with magnesium, but that did NOT solve the problem. Fish oil works miracles. I'll swear by it.
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Old 11-15-2009, 10:05 AM   #21
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How Much Magnesium Are you Taking?

How much magnesium or magnesium citrate should you be taking? I was thinking maybe 1000mg as lunajane mentions is okay. This seems equivalent to about 1200mg in 1 tablespoon of my Phillips Milk of Magnesia.

Also, those taking magnesium citrate, does 800mg seem okay? Since I also have gout, taking magnesium could help me as well. I should have my doc do a bloodwork to check my magnesium level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lunajane View Post
Another vote for magnesium. Also: veggies, exercise and lots of water.

But 1000g of magnesium per day is working like a charm for me right now. I just bought the cheapest kind I could find at the grocery store. I decided not to obsess about what kind I was taking, and it's paying off so far.
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Old 11-15-2009, 10:17 AM   #22
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too much synthetic magnesium floating around this board.....mineral balance is important. Can't stress enough the value of fat.
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Old 11-15-2009, 12:55 PM   #23
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OMG I have foudnt he cure for consto! It is digestive advantage for conso.....amazing!
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Old 11-15-2009, 04:26 PM   #24
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Good for you Amy! Digestive enzymes are a great addition as well as probiotics.....
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:39 PM   #25
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Milk of Magnesia always works great for me, but it is sooo sweet that I wonder if it is packed with sugars or if this is just artifical sweetener to make it taste better. I just took some tonight as a matter of fact because I know that I need a little help due to being on very strict induction.

If anyone knows if MOM is filled with sugar please let me know, I don't want to blow my woe. thanks!
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Old 11-15-2009, 06:45 PM   #26
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hi fawn!!
I also take Florstor every morning! What a difference!
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:56 AM   #27
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You need to take the original flavor of MoM if you don't want any carbs. I'm assuming you take Phillips since they trademarked the name, Milk of Magnesia. The wild cherry flavor has 5g carbs per tablespoon, most of it in the form of sugars. If it's sweet, it has some sugar. Same with Metamucil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MICHIE5 View Post
Milk of Magnesia always works great for me, but it is sooo sweet that I wonder if it is packed with sugars or if this is just artifical sweetener to make it taste better. I just took some tonight as a matter of fact because I know that I need a little help due to being on very strict induction.

If anyone knows if MOM is filled with sugar please let me know, I don't want to blow my woe. thanks!
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:07 AM   #28
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i never really have a problem with this and i've been at this awhile. i eat a fair amount of veggies, esp. mushrooms & cauliflower (always mashed, in faux-tater form...i can eat a huge portion as a meal...could be why i don't have this "problem" lol) but when i have had this problem i have found a very quick, easy, cheap cure which i'm sure might not be very popular around here:

sugar alcohols LOL

i'm really not kidding! a couple of SF chocolates quite literally goes a long way!
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Old 11-16-2009, 09:39 AM   #29
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you know, sugar alcohols do promote insulin.....I just learned that from "metabolism miracle" by Diane Kress.....just an FYI because I know at the beginning of my journey, I subtracted them but this gal mentions Atkins used to subtract them and the science proves otherwise.
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Old 11-16-2009, 09:51 AM   #30
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I want to thank everyone for their suggestions! This is one of the main reasons that I keep falling off of the lc wagon! I drink a ton of water daily, and eat fresh veggies, but I still continue to have this uncomfotable side effect. Gonna try a few of these out, and hopefully stay on track!
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