Does Meth Make You Constipated?

Meth is a central nervous system stimulant. While it produces intense euphoria and energy, there are also several detrimental effects, including insomnia, restlessness, and agitation.

However, meth use can lead to gastrointestinal (GI) upset and constipation. This article explores the full effects of methamphetamine on the stomach and available treatment options if you’re ready to get clean.

Why Does Meth Cause Constipation?

Meth use can lead to constipation by decreasing bowel movements, constricting blood vessels, disrupting dopamine levels, reducing appetite, and causing dehydration.

  1. Decreased Bowel Movement: Meth affects the central nervous system, leading to decreased activity in the gastrointestinal tract. This reduced bowel movement can result in constipation.
  2. Dehydration: Meth can cause dehydration due to increased sweating and reduced fluid intake. Dehydration can lead to harder stools and difficulty in passing them.
  3. Vasoconstriction: Meth constricts blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the digestive system. Restricted blood flow impacts your intestines’ ability to transport waste through the digestive tract, leading to constipation.
  4. Reduced Appetite: Meth often suppresses appetite, leading to decreased food intake. A lower intake of dietary fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements, can contribute to constipation. Meth use can also increase cravings for unhealthy foods, leading to an upset stomach.
  5. Effects on Dopamine: Meth affects the neurotransmitter dopamine, which plays a role in gastrointestinal function. Disruption of dopamine signaling in the gut can lead to changes in bowel habits, including constipation.

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Symptoms of Meth-Induced Constipation

The most common signs of meth-induced constipation are difficulty passing stool and infrequent bowel movements. You may experience additional issues, including:

  • Bloating and gas

  • Abdominal cramps

  • Dry or hard stools

  • Less than three bowel movements a week

  • Nausea or stomach ache

  • Vomiting

  • Feeling full quickly

man having stomach pain

How To Avoid Constipation From Meth

Crystal meth and constipation frequently go hand-in-hand. While there are several causes of constipation, you can minimize your chances of developing gastrointestinal issues due to meth:

  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration leads to constipation because the intestines cannot draw enough water into the stool, making it more difficult to pass. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine, as these substances can cause further dehydration.

  • Add high-fiber food to your diet: A balanced diet featuring plenty of fruit, vegetables, seeds, and nuts can provide you with the fiber you need to avoid constipation in the first place.

  • Get active: Regular exercise promotes healthy digestion, which prevents severe constipation. Aim for thirty minutes of exercise a few days a week. If you frequently sit for long periods, take breaks and stand up for at least a few minutes every hour.

  • Stop using: The above things will help, but as long as you continue to use meth, you will experience constipation. The best way to avoid drug-induced medical issues is to seek treatment for meth use.

man with no appetite

Meth Side Effects That Can Cause Stomach Issues

Regular meth use can cause methamphetamine-induced paralytic ileus, which occurs when the muscles of the intestines become temporarily paralyzed, keeping food from passing through the digestive tract. Other stomach-related side effects associated with meth use are:

  • Weight loss: Because methamphetamine suppresses appetite and increases energy, users will skip meals and not eat enough calories to maintain their weight. Some people enjoy the weight loss. However, it is not sustainable and may lead to additional health problems.

  • Reduction in appetite: When you skip meals for a substantial period, the gastric juices irritate the stomach lining. This inflammation can cause gastritis, which could lead to an increased risk of stomach cancer.

  • Nausea: The chemical imbalances and increased nervous system sensitivity associated with meth use often cause nausea and vomiting. These symptoms occur as the drug effects strengthen and decrease as they wear off.

Signs Of Stomach Damage Caused By Meth

The toxins in methamphetamines alter the way your body functions, and severe constipation is just one side effect. Long-term gastrointestinal complications also include:

  • Infections

  • Tears in the intestinal tract

  • Permanent organ damage

  • Nausea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Internal bleeding

How Dangerous Is Meth-Induced Constipation?

Constipation is more than just uncomfortable, resulting in rectal prolapse, impaction, hemorrhoids, and anal fissures. Severe symptoms include bleeding from your rectum, constipation lasting more than three weeks, and vomiting. These symptoms should not be left untreated.

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Can Meth Withdrawal Cause Constipation?

While meth withdrawal does not cause constipation, you may still experience issues after prolonged use. Meth withdrawal symptoms affect you physically and psychologically. When your body becomes accustomed to methamphetamines, it forgets how to function without them. Meth withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety

  • Sleepiness

  • Hallucinations

  • Vomiting

  • Depression

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Frequent headaches

  • Appetite changes

Other Drugs That Induce Constipation

Certain classes of drugs cause constipation because they significantly affect the functioning of the digestive system. Opioids and alcohol are two types of drugs known for causing such problems. As the stool builds up in the colon, it may harden and become difficult to pass.

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Treatment for Meth Addiction

Meth use can have serious long-term consequences for those who are addicted. One of the most effective ways to address drug addiction is by getting into treatment. Recovery programs help you process the underlying causes surrounding your addiction so you can begin the healing process and connect with a caring, supportive community of people who understand your struggles with meth.

  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Dual diagnosis treatment can address your mental health issues as well as drug use. Through this process, you’ll gain a better understanding of your mental health and meth use while engaging in engaging healing methods.

  • Family Therapy: Many families of those struggling with meth addiction want to help their loved ones but don’t know how. Family therapy allows your family into your sobriety journey and increases your chances of success.

  • Medication-Assisted Treatment: Medication-assisted treatment may be the best option available for those addicted to certain classes of drugs. For example, opioid withdrawal can be intensely uncomfortable, and medication-assisted treatment can help reduce cravings that can lead to relapse.

  • Trauma-Informed Care: Trauma-informed care helps clients heal from previous traumas while minimizing the stress they feel when reminded of the event. By learning how to cope with these traumatic events, you will be more likely to engage in positive coping mechanisms while learning how to avoid risky situations and thoughts that can lead to relapse.

  • Aftercare Treatment: Before completing addiction treatment, you’ll work with clinicians to create an aftercare plan featuring coping skills, strategies, and outreach resources to help you identify and deal with triggers.

Meth Addiction Treatment Near Boston, MA

If you or someone you know is experiencing meth-induced constipation, contact East Coast Recovery Center in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Our addiction treatment center is well-trained in the effects of meth use, including physical and mental side effects. Even if you’re not ready for addiction treatment, talking to one of our friendly and compassionate admissions agents can be the boost you need. Call, email, or fill out a form to get started.

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