Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Handling Your Emotions With Chronic Constipation

    Chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) is when you have hard stools that are tough to pass and you usually poop fewer than three times a week. It’s a common condition that affects more women than men.

    For some people, the uncertainty and discomfort that come with CIC can be upsetting. It can:

    Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

    Why Can’t I Poop?

    Can’t go? You’re not alone. About 20% of Americans have occasional constipation -- bowel movements less than three times a week. Or if they do poop, the output is hard, small, and painful to produce. Sometimes, a medical disorder like irritable bowel syndrome can cause constipation. Those issues often need care and treatment from your doctor. But for many people, the problem will be short-term and easy to fix. To figure out what has you stopped up, ask yourself these questions: Is it time...

    Read the Why Can’t I Poop? article > >

    • Cause stress and anxiety
    • Affect your sex life
    • Mess with your sleep
    • Make you feel tired or not well
    • Lead you to skip social activities

     

    Emotions and Your Bowels

    Stress can upset your gut and make you tense your muscles. That can make your constipation worse. And your brain is on high alert during times of stress, so you’re more aware of belly upset.

    Anything that causes chronic stress, including CIC, can affect your emotions and your well-being. That can put a strain on your relationships, too.

    Experts also think that levels of serotonin, a chemical your body makes, play a role in the movement of your bowels, along with affecting your mood.  

    Tips to Manage Stress and Your Emotions

    You can do some things to keep your emotions on a more even keel:

    Add activity. Go for a walk, a swim, a bike ride ... any kind of movement that you enjoy. Exercise helps you release stress and feel better. It may also help with your bowel movements.

    Connect and share. Talk to friends or family members about what's going on in your life. The stronger your social ties, the better.

    Spark joy. Find activities that appeal to you, like gardening, walking in the park, or artwork. Make time for your hobbies. They’re a key part of a rewarding life.

    Get mindful. Meditation, yoga, and prayer may help ease your stress. Meditation is something anyone can do by putting your attention on something (such as your breathing or a word that's meaningful for you) for a few minutes a couple of times a day. Your mind will wander. That's OK. Just gently return your attention to your breathing.

    Know when to get help. If your quality of life or emotions are taking a hit, and lifestyle changes don’t help enough, tell your doctor. She’ll ask you some questions about how much or how you feel stressed, sad, or unable to enjoy your normal activities.

    If your doctor thinks you might have anxiety or depression, she may refer you to a therapist. It's important to take care of your mind and emotions, as well as your body.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on May 03, 2019

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    bald woman smelling flowers
    Complementary therapies to ease symptoms.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes highlighted
    4 early warning signs.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    Trainer demonstrating exercise for RA
    Exercises for your joints.
    Senior woman using diabetes test kit
    Each one takes 10 minutes or less.
    woman having a good day
    Revitalize your life.

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.