A new study has revealed that there is a link present between kidney disease and constipation. The health records of more than 3.5 million individuals, all U.S. veterans, were examined by a team of researchers. The team observed whether the veterans had reported feeling constipated or if they had used laxatives over the past seven years. The results of the study showed that individuals were at a higher risk of facing kidney failure and even other chronic kidney diseases if they experienced constipation.
The severity of constipation also had a link with even higher increase in the risk of experiencing kidney related health conditions for such individuals. According to Dr. Csaba Pal Kovesdy, the chief of nephrology at the Memphis VA Medical Center as well as one of the co-authors of this study, the current results didn’t come across as much of a surprise. Previously conducted research has shown that there is an association between cardiovascular diseases and constipation. That is why the current team suspected that a possible association could also be present between constipation and negative effects being faced by kidneys.
Even though the team of researchers isn’t sure about the specific mechanisms that connect kidney disease to constipation, it has been suggested that some changes that occur in gut bacteria and cause a person to experience constipation may also be playing a role in making food pass slowly through a person’s digestive system. Chronic inflammation may occur due to such a kind of slowing down in the digestive system which can play a part in the onset of kidney disease.
The current study was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The researchers wrote that approximately 30% of the general population is affected by constipation during some point of their life. It is also one of the most common existing ailments that are handled in primary care settings. Women and elderly individuals are affected by constipation the most. Constipation could very well be the cause for kidney disease, or it can also be a sign for other factors that may lead to such disease. According to researchers, further studies need to be conducted to help determine if treating constipation might help in preventing kidney failure or chronic kidney disease.
The current findings also hold clinical implications. It might help physicians to treat constipated patients through means that don’t have to do with only using laxatives. They might administer diets that are rich in fiber or use probiotics. These alternate methods could be considered as more positive as there is a possibility that dehydration given rise to due to laxatives makes for an important link between kidney disease and constipation.
The team of researchers is aware of the limitations of the current study. The sample taken into consideration consisted predominantly of males, about 93%, with 60 being the average age. That is why researchers are unsure if similar effects can be observed in different populations. The current study also happens to be an observational one which means that the analyzed data is not enough to determine a cause-and-effect relationship between kidney disease and failure with constipation.