Blocked Up? 8 Surprising Constipation Causes

| Women's Health

No one likes to talk about it, but it's a rather common condition. Being constipated can be extremely uncomfortable, and it can also be a symptom of other health issues as well as causing some. Get ahead of the road blocks by upping your fiber game and limiting your intake of certain foods and medications. Here are nine reasons you've been benched:

Chocolate: Low in fiber and high in fat means slow-going for you. It might not cause total constipation, but enough to make you stay in the right-hand lane. That's the bad news. The good news is you're allowed to chug chocolate milk after a workout — click here to learn more!

dark chocolate

Vitamins: Prenatal vitamins, multivitamins and too much vitamin D can cause your colon to act sluggish. Try taking them with your biggest meal to ensure better digestion and add a digestive enzyme to your dessert. See more suggestions here. Curious about supplements? Click here to learn more in our Glossary of Supplements.

mixture of vitamins and supplements

Dairy products: Back to the high-in-fat concept, milks, cheeses and creams are all totally lacking fiber. Dairy seems to target the kids more than adults, so limit their intake and add some fruit to their plate. If you're planning some grown-up time, you'll want to avoid dairy, too. Check out these other foods you'll need to remove from the menu before date night!

Dairy

Caffeine or alcohol: You'd think caffeine would do the opposite, but a couple cups of java a day or over-pouring your share of alcohol can dehydrate you. This dries up the lubricated exit.

coffee

Bananas: When your body is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s, it's not being very productive. This happens if you tend to peel back an unripened or green 'nana that is full of starches still. As it ripens, the starches turn into sugars, which are more readily digested and handled by the body. Click here for a banana kiwi protein smoothie with 7 grams of fiber!

bananas

Hypothyroidism: OK, so it's not a food, but it's worth mentioning because many women deal with symptoms and don't realize they have it. When the thyroid slows down, many other functions of the body slow down, including your bowels. Read one woman's story here.

thyroid exam

>> Find out: 15 Signs You Have Thyroid Issues

Pain killers and allergy meds: Both can dehydrate you and slow you down. The idea with pain meds, opioids specifically, is to relax the body. Allergy meds try to dry up excess fluids. Stay hydrated while taking either and ask your doctor how you can pair it with a laxative or at least a stool softener.

woman taking medicine