I am writing this article in response to a reader’s question.
Question: I am a 42 year old women. I have been suffering from constipation for the last two years. I am also having high blood pressure. Can constipation cause high blood pressure?
Answer: Constipation can cause various complications. The commonest complications are; haemorrhoids, anal fissure, and rectal prolapse. Hypertension is not on the list. However, people with elevated blood pressure may also have constipation. That is an association, not causation.
People who are suffering from high blood pressure are at increased risk of getting constipated for the following reasons.
Poor eating habits can cause constipation and high blood pressure
Eating too much junk food? You are at risk of having both hypertension and hard stools. Wonder why? Junk foods are loaded with salt and calories. They don’t have enough dietary fibre. Too much salt will increase your blood pressure. Lack of fibre will make your stools hard and dry.
Obesity elevates your blood pressure and makes you constipated
Obesity is one of the common causes of hypertension. Being obese means, you are not active enough. Lack of physical activities makes your bowel lazy. That will make you constipated.
Obese people are also at risk of other health problems such as diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
Related: Can constipation cause weight gain?
Blood pressure medications can cause hard stools
You have high blood pressure and taking medications for that. Do you know that antihypertensive medications can cause constipation?
Read this article to find out more about drugs and constipation.
Hypothyroidism can cause constipation and hypertension
The thyroid gland secretes a hormone called thyroxine. This hormone controls many metabolic activities of the body. Sometimes, the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormone. This condition is known as hypothyroidism.
Underactive thyroid is one of the recognised causes of hypertension. The majority of people with underactive thyroid will have constipation. This is a common association.
Stress is associated with increased blood pressure and difficult bowel movements
Too much stress in your life can elevate your blood pressure. It can also cause constipation. Managing your stress is important to control your blood pressure. Stress management technics will also help to have regular bowel movements.
High blood pressure is a common condition that mainly affects people over the age of 40. However, it can come at any age. There are many causes of hypertension. Our blood pressure readings can vary time to time, depending on our activities and mood.
Straining at defecation can transiently elevate your blood pressure. It doesn’t mean you have hypertension. Persistently elevated blood pressure is the one that causes complications.