When a person drinks more than one soda a day, it can lead to constipation. This is because the carbonation and sugar in soda can cause the large intestine to shrink.
This can lead to the stool moving much slower than usual, and it can be harder to pass the stool.
The stool can also become more solid and stick to the walls of the colon.
A person can use a stool softener to soften the stool and encourage it to flow out of the colon more easily.
Soda causes diarrhea
Soda can also cause diarrhea.
Drinking more than one soda a day can cause an increased production of the gut’s bacteria. A person may also be more likely to have a bowel movement when they are drinking soda, because the carbonation and sugar in soda can increase the intestinal contractions and pressure.
The increased pressure in the intestines can make it harder to pass stool.
Other possible causes
Other possible causes of constipation include:
- A lack of dietary fiber
- Eating too few or too many foods
- A lack of physical activity
- An increased production of the gut’s bacteria
- An increased production of the colon’s waste
- An increased pressure in the colon
- Taking certain medications, including birth control pills
- Certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease
Diarrhea is a more severe form of constipation. A person may also experience diarrhea after drinking too much soda.
People who are pregnant or breastfeeding are at a higher risk of developing either type of constipation.
When to contact a doctor?
Constipation is usually a sign that a person needs to make some lifestyle changes. However, a person should speak to a doctor if they have symptoms of both constipation and diarrhea.
A person may need to change their diet, and may also need to see a doctor to treat any underlying causes of constipation.
A doctor can diagnose the underlying cause of constipation, and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
It is important to note that a person should always seek medical advice if they are constipated. They should also seek advice if their constipation worsens while taking certain medications or if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If a person stops taking their medication and still experiences constipation, they should see a doctor.
If constipation and diarrhea co-occur, a person should seek medical advice.
If a person notices yellow stools, or if their stool is very hard, they should see a doctor for urgent medical attention.
A person should also seek urgent medical advice if they have any of the following:
- A fever
- A rash
- A severe headache
- A persistent muscle ache
- A rapid heartbeat
- A sore throat
- A painful, swollen, or tender lymph node
- Extreme abdominal pain
- A swollen, red, or painful eye
- A persistent or sudden change in bowel habits
A person should also seek urgent medical advice if they have:
- Sudden weight loss
- A history of bowel incontinence
A person should also seek urgent medical advice if they develop signs of hemorrhage, including:
- A sudden and severe headache
- A sudden change in bowel habits
- A severe abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
- Yellow or brown or black stools
How is constipation diagnosed?
If a person has constipation, they should see their doctor. They may be able to diagnose constipation with a physical examination, or they may be referred to a gastroenterologist.
A gastroenterologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the digestive system.
The doctor may perform a rectal examination to check whether the stool is hard and dry, or soft and watery.
They may also ask about a person’s other symptoms, including:
- How long the person has had constipation
- How often the person has had constipation
- The person’s diet and bowel habits
- The person’s current medications and supplements
- The person’s family history
The doctor may also perform a stool test to check for the presence of blood in the stool.
However, they may not be able to diagnose constipation with a stool test alone.
A doctor may ask for a urine test to check for blood in the urine. It is also common for doctors to ask for a person’s blood test results to check for blood in the stool.
The doctor may also perform an enema test to check for the presence of blood in the rectum.
A person should talk to their doctor about:
- The best way to pass stool
- The best way to use the toilet
- The best way to clean the toilet
If the doctor suspects that a person has a bacterial infection, they may request a stool sample for analysis.
A doctor may also perform a test called a sigmoidoscopy to check the lining of the rectum for any abnormalities.
How is constipation treated?
A doctor may prescribe a medication to treat constipation.
If a person wishes to try a home remedy, they may take a laxative to increase the amount of water in their stool.
A doctor may also prescribe a medication to help stop the production of the bacteria that cause constipation.
A person may also require medications if their constipation is caused by an infection.
However, a person should speak to a doctor if their constipation is caused by a medication or medical condition.
A doctor can determine the cause of constipation, and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
For example, a doctor can prescribe the following medications to treat constipation:
- Osmotic agents. These medications increase the amount of water in the stool.
- 5HT4 agonists. These medications increase the amount of serotonin in the brain.
- Antibiotics. These medications stop the growth of certain bacteria that can cause constipation.
A doctor can also prescribe the following medications to treat other medical conditions that cause constipation:
- Antidiarrheal agents. These medications treat diarrhea.
- Antispasmodic agents. These medications treat muscle spasms.
- Anticholinergics. These medications treat diarrhea.
A doctor can also prescribe a stool softener to treat constipation.
However, they should not use a stool softener unless a person has chronic constipation.
A doctor cannot diagnose constipation with a stool sample alone.
A doctor should refer people with constipation to a gastroenterologist if they:
- Have a history of bowel incontinence
- Have a history of fecal incontinence
- Are unable to pass stool
- Have a history of hemorrhoids
A person may also need surgery if their constipation is severe.
However, surgery should only be performed if a person has a condition that prevents them from passing stool.
The following may also be a reason a person may require surgery:
- A hard stool
- A large, painful, or abnormal mass
- A history of blood in the stool
- An irregular or difficult bowel movement
What is the long-term outlook?
A person may be able to treat their constipation with a combination of home remedies and medications.
However, constipation can potentially lead to serious complications.
The following complications can develop if a person does not seek treatment:
- Ulcers. A person may develop an ulcer if they do not pass stool on a regular basis.
- Fecal impaction. A person may develop fecal impaction if they do not pass stool on a regular or consistent basis.
- Anal hemorrhage. If a person does not pass stool on a regular or consistent basis, they may develop hemorrhoids.
A person can also develop complications if a bacterial infection causes constipation. These complications include:
- Perforation of the colon. This is a rare complication. If a perforation occurs, stool may enter the colon and cause symptoms.
- Abdominal hernias. If a large hernia develops, it may prevent a person from passing stool.
- Diverticulitis. This is a rare complication. If a diverticulum develops, stool can enter the colon.
The following complications can develop if a bacterial infection causes constipation:
Chronic constipation. This is a rare complication. The person may become constipated and experience symptoms.
People should speak to a doctor if their constipation does not improve with home remedies or medications.
A doctor is the best person to identify and treat constipation.
A doctor will determine the cause of constipation, and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
However, a doctor cannot diagnose constipation with a stool sample alone.
A doctor should refer a person to a gastroenterologist if they have:
- History of blood in the stool
- History of fecal incontinence
- History of bowel incontinence
A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in the digestive system.
People should speak to a gastroenterologist if their constipation does not improve with a doctor’s care.
Many people drink soda to help them feel fuller and have a little extra energy.
However, consuming too many carbonated drinks can lead to constipation, especially if the person drinks them regularly.
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