Constipation Symptoms While Quitting Smoking

Severe morning stomach pain. Debica, Poland
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Intestinal difficulties like nausea, gas, and constipation are all considered symptoms of withdrawal from tobacco products. While not pleasant, digestive issues do usually resolve themselves in a matter of weeks, so don't let the discomforts derail your quit program.

In addition to nicotine withdrawal, it is possible that other changes you may have made since quitting tobacco are contributing to the intestinal difficulties you're experiencing.

Here are a few common causes of constipation that are associated with quitting smoking.

Quit Aids

Two prescription quit aid medications list nausea and constipation as side effects: Chantix and Zyban. If you are using one of these, check in with your doctor for advice on how to proceed.

Changes in Diet

It is not unusual to experience dramatic changes in what we eat when we first quit smoking. Many of us turn to food to bridge the gap between the hand-to-mouth activity that smoking was, as well as using food for comfort when we're craving cigarettes.

Often, the foods we choose leave our daily diets less than balanced, which can, in turn, lead to digestive disturbances.

Take a good look at what you've been eating since you quit smoking. If your diet is laden with junk food, work on getting back to a more balanced regimen that includes leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein.

Make sure you're drinking plenty of water and try to keep unhealthy snacks to a minimum.

Increased Stress

While leaving cigarettes behind will eventually bring more peace to your life than you had as a smoker, initially, smoking cessation may increase the stress and anxiety we feel.

Emotional stress can have physical effects on our bodies, including digestion. If this strikes a chord with you, try incorporating some tension tamers into your daily routine.

A few minutes of meditation when you wake up, deep breathing when stress bubbles up during the day, and a hot bath or time with a good book before bed will help you keep stress at bay, and your body, regular.

Changes in Activity

Early cessation throws life out of whack for most of us, both physically and psychologically. We're tired and cranky, and often, less active than normal.

While this is fine and to be expected, less exercise than what we are accustomed to, along with some or all of the other issues listed above can be a significant contributor to constipation.

Aim for a half-hour of some form of exercise most days. It will help your body adjust to the absence of tobacco and beat back cravings to smoke as well.

If you haven't been active recently, be sure to check in with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.

A Word From Verywell

The effects of nicotine withdrawal can be unpleasant , and it does take time for our bodies to find a new normal once we stop using tobacco, but the balance will return eventually.

Remember that you are doing the absolute best thing you could for your health and well-being by quitting tobacco. Don't let temporary discomforts deter you. Better days are coming, and they are not far off.

That said, if any symptoms of intestinal pain persist or increase over time, don't hesitate to contact your doctor for a check-up.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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