Why Quitting Causes Constipation (and 5 Ways to Deal with It)

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

Your journey towards a nicotine-free life is accompanied by several withdrawal symptoms, and one of the most common issues smokers experience is constipation. You need to understand that when you smoke, your body develops chemical dependency. And when these chemicals are removed, your body reacts in certain ways.



The functions of your intestines for instance, are disrupted when you stop smoking. As nicotine becomes part of your system, your stomach and intestine is now used to nicotine and cannot work regularly if you take it out. Nicotine works Woman-stroking-her-belly-bell-27544691as a stimulant, thus sudden nicotine withdrawal will result in constipation.

Aside from constipation, you may also experience stomach cramps or nausea. But you do not have to worry as these symptoms will eventually wane and improve as your quit smoking program progresses. Your body will learn to adjust and resume its normal functions without the need for nicotine.


5 Ways to Ease Constipation after Quitting Smoking

Constipation may last for several weeks after you quit. This may cause extreme discomfort considering that you have to deal with other withdrawal symptoms. Though time is a major factor, there are other several ways that can help you ease constipation and recover from the withdrawal symptoms of smoking.

  • Pay close attention to your diet. Choosing the food you eat after quitting can help you deal with the withdrawal symptoms better. Eating healthy foods (e.g. fruits, vegetables) rather than meat can improve bowel movement. Meat are generally harder to digest and more difficult to pass.
  • Add more fiber-rich foods in your daily diet. Fruits and vegetables rich in fiber is a good way to help your digestive system work normally. But, you may want to reduce your intake of prunes, beans, kiwi, rye bread, and pears in your diet, as well as chocolate, dairy products, banana, and caffeinated drinks as they can worsen constipation.
  • Drink lots of water. Drinking 8 glasses of water every day can help your digestive system work more easily. It helps prevent constipation and improve your metabolism during withdrawal. Drinking water may also ease other nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
  • DID YOU KNOW?

    Drinking 8 glasses of water every day can help your digestive system work more easily. It helps prevent constipation and improve your metabolism during withdrawal.

  • Exercise daily and keep an active lifestyle. Eating healthy foods and drinking lots of water will be more effective if coupled with a daily exercise routine. You may want to hit the gym for an hour, run in the treadmill or brisk walk every morning. Exercising daily and keeping an active lifestyle is a good way to ease constipation and other mental and physical symptoms of quitting smoking.
  • Herbal and mineral laxative might be helpful. Some smokers find taking herbal laxative helpful during the first weeks of their withdrawal program. But before taking any of these products, you may want first to consult your doctor.

Constipation is only one of the many symptoms of quitting smoking. There are more severe symptoms that you have to endure. Keeping a healthy diet and active lifestyle can help you fight these symptoms and eventually win the battle against smoking. Time, healthy diet, and daily exercise will help train your body to resume normal functions free from nicotine dependence.

The 3 Week Diet

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