Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on fish. Also, there are 1,686 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Bowel movements: the scoop on poop and Best Treatment for Constipation

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on fish. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

    • Nicole G.

      Hi Michael-I’m vegan but have very little rectal sensation and have been diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction (resulting in constipation). Might you have any idea as to the underlying effects of my condition. Also, might you know of what I can do to manage it? I feel as if I have tried everything. Thank you. I so appreciate the work you do!

      • Dr. Connie Sanchez, N.D.

        The pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles which support the the organs (i.e., bladder, uterus, rectum) in the pelvis like a hammock or a sling. These muscles may become weakened as a result of being overweight, menopause, and/or having children. Exercises known as Kegel’s may be performed to learn how to gain better control (contraction & relaxation) of these muscles. Techniques such as biofeedback have also been shown to be beneficial. Maintaining a high fiber diet, such as a whole food, plant-based diet, is also very important in keeping the stool soft for easier elimination.

  • mrkevinlei

    This happened to me once after eating a lot of salmon sashimi. I was a bit worried at first, but I guess I wasn’t the only one. One thing that prevented this from occurring again was eating varieties of sushi that contained starches (ie. rice) instead of just the pure fish (sashimi).

    • Geoffrey Levens

      I’ve eaten pretty large amounts of salmon, red snapper, etc maybe close to 3/4 lb at one meal and never had that problem (nor any other time!). that large an amount though was always cooked. Raw, sushi/sashimi always smaller portions. Maybe mostly from some types of fish not commonly seen in the US?

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Also be sure to check out my associated blog post Bowel Movements: The Scoop on Poop!

  • Fidel Castrati

    What do the demonstrators propose the government do? They’d be better off holding up “Go Vegan” signs.

  • Cyn

    If a 60 year old vegetarian eats a lot of fruit, veggies .. Drinks a
    lot of water…walks 5 miles a day… and is still constipated? What
    next?

    • Thea

      Cyn: Is sounds to me like the 60 year old vegetarian is on the right track! I wish I walked 5 miles a day.

      But vegetarian still usually means plenty of eggs and dairy. NutritionFacts has a video showing how dairy promotes constipation. The video is talking about kids, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t relate to adults too:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/childhood-constipation-and-cows-milk/

      Also, if someone is calories from dairy and eggs, one is not eating healthy foods like beans, whole intact grains, veggies and fruit–all of which have fiber while dairy and eggs do not. I know you said that the person is eating veggies and fruit, but to the extent that some calories come from animal products those calories are not coming from fiber-rich plant foods.

      Finally, being vegetarian and eating lots of fruit and veggies does not preclude also eating lots of processed foods. I would expect those processed foods to be a problem constipation-wise. So, there may be room in this person’s diet to clean up a bit, replacing processed foods with healthier whole plant foods.

      I would recommend doing a search on this site and watching the videos and articles on the topics of: bowel and constipation. Here is one good article:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/09/17/prunes-metamucil-or-a-plant-based-diet/

      I’m not a doctor or expert, but I think these are good ideas that are worth a shot. On going constipation is nothing to ignore and may even be related to increased breast cancer. (See videos on this site.) So, it is worth fixing.