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Is Yogurt to Blame for Your Constipation?

The National Digestive Disease Clearinghouse defines constipation as having fewer than three bowel movements each week. Movements could also be being painful, uncomfortable, or feel incomplete. The stool might be hardened, dry, or smaller than typical. Chronic constipation occurs when these symptoms persist over weeks or months.

Common treatments for constipation include consuming more dietary fiber and drinking more fluids. Increasing exercise can also be an effective treatment. In some people, certain foods in the diet can be the cause of the constipation. Processed foods and high fat foods are common culprits, but there are others.

Is Yogurt to Blame for Your Constipation?Dairy products, including yogurt, milk, and cheese can cause constipation in some individuals. A doctor should be consulted if one experiences any physical symptoms related to constipation or bloating, especially if those symptoms include physical discomfort.

Constipation Caused by Dairy Intake

Dairy products contain a component called casein, which is a protein only found in dairy products. The casein in milk, cheese, butter, and cream have all been shown to react negatively with some people’s digestive system. This is a different condition than lactose intolerance, which is the inability to digest the sugar present in dairy called lactose. A doctor should be able to identify if casein is an issue for people.

Even yogurt can worsen constipation, which some health care professionals actually recommend for a healthy colon. Clever observation techniques can be very helpful in identifying if one has an issue with all dairy products or just yogurt.

Log Your Food and Bathroom Usage

A simple but useful way to identify if a person has issues processing yogurt is to keep a food journal and a bathroom journal. For two weeks, document when yogurt is consumed. Also document every bowel movement and a description of the stool. Note any feeling of constipation or bloating.

Cross check the two journals to identify any correlations between the two. Specifically, check signs of constipation against times when yogurt was eaten. If there was a lack of bowel movements or unhealthy looking stool around the same yogurt was eaten, the yogurt could be to blame.

Is Yogurt to Blame for Your Constipation?Delete Yogurt and Continue the Log

Remove yogurt from the diet and continue the journals for another two-week period. All other components of the diet should remain the same. The purpose is to see if the removal of yogurt alleviates constipation or improves stool health.

If symptoms lessen or completely disappear, yogurt was probably the cause. If symptoms remain unchanged or become worse, there are likely other factors to blame.

Other Factors

If removing yogurt did not help, try removing all dairy products for two weeks. This includes all cheeses, milk, ice cream, butter, and yogurt. If improvements are seen over this two week period, one of these other dairy products is likely to blame instead of just yogurt alone.

If eliminating dairy has not helped alleviate constipation, a doctor consultation is recommended to find the underlying cause. There is a possibility that the diet is not the source of the constipation. A doctor can help identify whether the cause is something more serious.

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*The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the Editor. Results may vary from person to person and cannot be guaranteed.

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