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Does PCOS Cause Constipation?

“In the United States, an estimated 5 to 6 million women have PCOS.”

In a world where health mysteries often hide beneath the surface, few conditions have puzzled experts such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This mysterious hormonal disorder has proven to be a challenge for millions of women. Well, what if there’s more to PCOS than what meets the eye? Could its impact extend beyond its known effects on the reproductive system?

In this article we will uncover the truth about how PCOS might be connected to constipation and address a common yet concerning question; “Does PCOS cause constipation?”

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Constipation

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Constipation

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal disorder primarily recognized for its influence on the female reproductive system. However mounting evidence suggests that PCOS may also have an effect, on the system specifically when it comes to constipation.

So if you’re wondering whether polycystic ovarian syndrome leads to constipation, let’s explore these contributing factors to find your answer;

The Impact of Excessive Hormones

PCOS is characterized by imbalances in hormones with increased levels of androgens (like testosterone) and insulin resistance being common. These imbalances can result in cycles of ovarian cysts and other reproductive problems. However they can also affect the system.

How Excessive Hormones Contribute to Constipation:

Higher levels of androgens can slow down bowel movements making it more difficult for the intestines to pass stool through the tract. This can lead to constipation.

Insulin resistance, a feature of PCOS can also play a role, in causing constipation. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels. It can also impact the functioning of the intestines. Insulin resistance may cause delayed emptying of the stomach and slower movement through the system.

Addressing the aspect of PCOS through medication, lifestyle adjustments or dietary changes has the potential to alleviate constipation symptoms.

The impact of gender: Why PCOS affects women

Why PCOS affects women

PCOS primarily affects individuals who identify as women. While it is clear that this condition is specific, to women understanding the reasons behind why PCOS predominantly affects them is crucial when exploring the link between PCOS and constipation.

The Gender Influence of PCOS:

PCOS is connected to the presence of ovaries and the female reproductive system. It is characterized by the development of cysts in the ovaries, which leads to imbalances.

These hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS, the increased levels of androgens can affect the endocrine system. Potentially impact gut function.

The unique gender specific traits of PCOS along with its imbalances provide a foundation for investigating a connection between PCOS and constipation, in women.

Inflammation and Its Impact:

When it comes to PCOS chronic inflammation is associated with insulin resistance. This condition can lead to constipation as it slows down the movement of food through the intestines.

In addition inflammation can directly affect the gut causing changes in its movement and function. As a result digestive problems such as constipation may arise.

PCOS Symptoms:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that can manifest in many  ways. While its main effects are related to the system it can have impacts on the body. Here are some common symptoms associated with PCOS;

  • Irregular Menstrual Cycle: One of the signs of PCOS is periods. Women with PCOS may experience infrequent, prolonged or even absent periods due to imbalances.
  • Excess Hair Growth: PCOS can lead to hirsutism, which refers to hair growth on areas like the face, chest, back or other parts of the body. This often occurs due to levels of androgens.
  • Acne and Oily Skin: Increased androgen levels in individuals with PCOS can also contribute to acne breakouts and oily skin.
  • Weight Gain: Women with PCOS struggle with weight gain around the abdomen area. Managing this weight gain can be challenging due to insulin resistance seen in individuals with PCOS.
  • Mood swings, anxiety and even feelings of depression are common due to hormonal imbalance and constipation in PCOS. Taking care of your well being is a part of managing PCOS effectively.

PCOS-related Constipation Symptoms:

  • Abdominal Pain and Discomfort: IBS often causes abdominal pain and discomfort, which can range from mild to severe. These symptoms may be relieved after a bowel movement.
  • Bloating and Gas: Excessive gastrointestinal problems in women with PCOS as well as bloating are common complaints in IBS. These symptoms can lead to abdominal distention and discomfort.
  • Diarrhea and Constipation: IBS can present with diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both. This is often referred to as IBS-D (diarrhea-predominant), IBS-C (constipation-predominant), or IBS-M (mixed).
  • Alternating Bowel Habits: Some individuals with IBS experience alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation, which can be unpredictable and disruptive.
  • Mucus in Stool: Passing mucus in stool is a symptom of IBS and is often associated with changes in bowel habits.

Managing PCOS and Constipation

Managing PCOS and its impacts on bowel movement might be a difficult task however it is highly crucial for an individual’s health and well=being. Certain steps that can be taken to ensure a healthy lifestyle as a PCOS patient may include;

  1. Avoid Hypothyroidism
  2. Increase Fiber intake
  3. Prepare meals that are constipation-friendly
  4. Stay hydrated
  5. Increase physical activity
  6. Intake Magnesium Supplement 

A Deeper Dive into PCOS and Gut Health

PCOS and Gut Health

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a highly complicated hormonal condition that affects more than just a woman’s reproductive system. The latest research shows the deep link between constipation and PCOS. In this supplementary content, we will find out how PCOS impacts gut health.

So, say in the loop!

The Connection between PCOS and Gut Health:

  • Hormonal Disruptions: People with PCOS often experience hormonal imbalances, especially higher levels of male hormones (androgens) plus an inability to use insulin properly. These disruptions don’t just affect the reproductive system; they can also influence your overall endocrine system which controls your digestive movements and digestion in general.
  • Inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a prominent feature associated with PCOS. Inflammatory markers are not only found within the reproductive organs but may be present inside your intestines as well. Intestinal inflammation could cause changes related to gut motility, leaky guts or permeability problems, all leading up to various issues concerning digestion – how’s that for impact! 
  • Microbiome Modifications: Recent findings stress the importance of gut microbiome in PCOS. Shifts in composition and variety of intestinal bacteria can have an effect on metabolic health, insulin resistance, and inflammation – all which are closely associated with PCOS.

Looking After Gut Health for those Suffering from PCOS 

Understanding how these two conditions affect each other opens up a great deal of opportunities for managing any symptoms suffered by people with this condition. Here are some tactics to support good gut health during times when it’s being affected by polycystic ovary syndrome: 

  • Healthy Diet Regime: Including fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits and veg helps keep your digestive system healthy.
  • Eating Right: Foods like yogurt with probiotics can help keep your gut microbiome healthy. Staying Hydrated: Getting adequate hydration is key to preventing constipation, which many PCOS sufferers experience. 
  • Probiotic and Prebiotic Intake: Adding in some probiotics through supplements or foods may also maintain a healthier digestive system, while prebiotics from items such as garlic, onions and leeks feed beneficial bacteria in the gut.
  •  Inflammation-Fighting Dieting: Cutting out processed food and sweets could help manage both PCOS symptoms as well as any inflammation that might be present within the gastrointestinal tract .
  •  Regular Physical Activity: Exercising not only helps support metabolic health for those struggling with polycystic ovary syndrome but it additionally stimulates digestion , promoting more regular bowel movements too!
  •  Stress Reduction Techniques: Chronic stress won’t do anyone any favors when they have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Fortunately there are methods of reducing this stress including yoga or mindfulness practices – these measures will work wonders on improving overall digestive health too !

 Professional Advice Is Key : The link between PCOS and intestinal wellness remains an area still being studied today ; so if you’re having problems dealing with either disease then seeking professional advice would definitely prove helpful & provide personalized tips tailored just for you!


In conclusion, by understanding the potential relationship of PCOS and constipation, an individual interprets the influence of imbalance hormone levels along with inflammation impact affecting a woman’s gut health therefore leading to an aid in opting for the right approach at the right time in order to improve their overall health and well-being.

I hope this article answered your question, “does PCOS cause constipation?”

Frequently Asked Questions

Can PCOS Really Cause Constipation?

Yes PCOS can cause constipation.

Are Men Affected by PCOS-Related Constipation?

No, PCOS affects only women.

What Are the Best Dietary Choices for PCOS and Constipation?

The best dietary choices include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

How Long Does It Take to See Improvement with Lifestyle Changes?

It differs from person to person.

Are There Any Potential Risks with Magnesium Supplements?

Yes, high dosage may lead to diarrhea therefore a healthcare consultancy is crucial

Kelli Maw
Kelli Maw brings over 10 years of clinical research experience to Constipation Cause. As a Senior Medical Director, she has led global clinical trials across numerous therapeutic areas including metabolic, kidney, endocrine, lung, women's health, and neurologic conditions. Her expertise spans from rare genetic diseases to more common conditions like constipation. Kelli is board-certified in family medicine and has over 20 years of hands-on clinical experience.
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