Constipation May Share a Link with Kidney Disease

A new research study was able to conclude that there could possibility be a link between kidney disease and constipation.

The researchers of the new study went through the health records of about 3.5 million U.S. veterans to check if there were reports of constipation or laxative use in a 7-years period. The results showed that people who had constipation also had a higher chance of developing kidney failure and chronic kidney disease as compared to those do not suffer from constipation.

The researchers were also able to find that if the constipation was more severe in nature, the risk of having kidney conditions was also higher.

Dr. Csaba Pal Kovesdy from the Memphis VA Medical Center, co-author of the study, mentioned that the results are not very surprising. Earlier studies in this area had also been able to show this link between constipation and cardiovascular diseases. The researchers suspect that it could be the same mechanism responsible in causing the kidney problems as in case of the cardiovascular system.

The key to this link has been suspected to be the gut bacteria. Constipation results due to an alteration in the gut microbiome, according to Kovesdy. These changes in the gut of the people could result in several metabolic changes, like inflammation.

Even though the researchers are not very sure about the exact mechanism taking place to link kidney disease and constipation, they hypothesize that the gut bacteria alterations could result in making the food pass very slowly through the intestines, resulting in constipation, This process of slowdown could be linked with chronic inflammation, ultimately triggering kidney disease.

Constipation is known to affect about 30 percent of the population, according to the researchers of the study. The study was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology on the 10th of November. Women and elderly people are known to be affected the most by this condition.

Constipation might be the cause behind kidney disease, or it could be counted among the factors leading to a kidney disease. More research evidences are required in order to determine if the treatment of constipation could possible help in preventing kidney failure or chronic kidney disease, as per the researchers.

The findings may have clinical implications as well, according to the researchers. For example, doctors might choose to treat constipation in their patients using methods that does not involve laxatives, such as fibre-rich diet or probiotics.

The researchers were also able to figure out the limitations of the new study. Most of the participants in the study were male (93.2 percent), with an average age of 60 years. Therefore, the researchers are not sure if the results could be generalized to other populations as well.

The study was observational in nature, and hence could not pinpoint a cause and effect relationship between the two variables. To understand the exact mechanism behind the link between kidney diseases and constipation, further research needs to be conducted in the near future.