Before reading this page, take this short quiz.
- Constipation or difficulty with having a bowel movement is common in people with celiac disease, both before diagnosis and after starting the gluten-free diet.
- Symptoms of constipation can include bowel movements that do not occur very often (fewer than three bowel movements per week), straining, and hard stools. 1
- Eating gluten by mistake or on purpose is one of the main causes of constipation in people with celiac disease.
- Slowly adding fiber, along with plenty of fluid (such as water), is the first treatment for constipation.
- The average gluten-free diet is low in fiber.
- You can add fiber to your diet with more fruits and vegetables, whole gluten-free grains, dried/cooked beans and legumes, and plain nuts and seeds. Be sure to also drink plenty of water.
TAKE HOME MESSAGES:
- If you are constipated, look carefully at your diet and lifestyle for possible hidden gluten.
- Ask yourself: are there some easy ways you can add more fiber to your meals?
- Talk to your doctor or dietitian if you are having constipation.
- Eoff JC, Lembo AJ. Optimal treatment of chronic constipation in managed care: review and roundtable discussion. J Manag Care Pharm 2008; 14(9, Suppl. S-a):S1-S17.
Revision Date: 8-23-12
Author: Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LDN
Editors: Suzanne Simpson, RD and Rupa Mukherjee, MD