Can Eating Oatmeal Lead to Constipation?

Can Eating Oatmeal Lead to Constipation?

Oatmeal is a popular breakfast cereal prepared with oats and water or milk. It has a high fiber content, which can assist in supporting regular bowel motions. Some individuals, however, question if oatmeal promotes constipation.

Constipation is defined as irregular, difficult, or incomplete bowel motions. It is caused by feces traveling too slowly through the digestive tract or by a lack of fiber and fluid consumption. Constipation manifests differently in various people, with symptoms ranging from stomach discomfort and bloating to hard, dry stools.

What is Oatmeal?

Oatmeal is a porridge prepared with rolled or crushed oats. It’s a popular breakfast item that’s high in nutrients and has health advantages.

There are several varieties of oatmeal:

Rolled oats, often known as old-fashioned oats, are steamed oat groats that have been rolled into flat flakes. They cook for approximately 5 minutes.

Steel-cut oats are created by cutting entire oat groats into smaller pieces rather than rolling them. It takes around 15 minutes to cook them.

Quick oats are rolled oats that have been chopped into tiny pieces before to rolling. They cook more quickly, in around 1-3 minutes.

Instant oats are pre-cooked rolled oats that may be easily produced by just adding boiling water.

Oatmeal is abundant in nutrients and contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A 1/2 cup serving of oats provides the following nutrients:

  • Four grams of fiber
  • Manganese – 69% of the RDI
  • RDI for phosphorus is 15%.
  • Thiamin (RDI: 13%
  • Magnesium (12% RDA)
  • RDI for zinc is 11%.
  • RDI for iron is 7%.

Oatmeal has a lot of soluble fiber, which has been associated to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also has beta-glucan fiber, which may help with heart health.

Oatmeal is a highly nutritious, nutrient-dense, filling breakfast choice.

Benefits of Eating Oatmeal

Rich in Fiber: Oats are high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which promotes digestive health and regular bowel motions.

Heart Health: The beta-glucans in oats have been associated with reducing cholesterol levels, and improving cardiovascular health.

Blood Sugar Control: Oats have a low glycemic index, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Nutrient-rich: Oatmeal is a wonderful source of critical nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Weight Management: The fiber in oats gives you a feeling of fullness, which may help you lose weight by lowering your overall calorie intake.

Does Oatmeal Cause Constipation?

Does Oatmeal Cause Constipation?

No, oatmeal is unlikely to cause constipation. Its soluble fiber content, on the other hand, can assist in reducing constipation. Soluble fiber softens stools, making them easier to pass. However, you will need to drink enough fluids to assist in transporting the fiber through your system.

Causes of Constipation


Sluggish bowels can be caused by a lack of fiber, excessive consumption of processed meals, and an insufficient intake of fruits and vegetables.


Dehydration, a lack of physical exercise, and persistent stress can all interfere with digestive function.


Constipation can be a side effect of some drugs, such as pain relievers and antidepressants.

Medical Conditions

Constipation can also be caused by hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, and underlying medical issues such as thyroid diseases.

Other Foods Good for Constipation

Other Foods Good for Constipation

Fruits and Vegetables: Packed with fiber and water, fruits like berries, pears, and prunes, and vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach are fantastic choices.

Legumes: Lentils, beans, and chickpeas are fiber powerhouses, promoting digestive health and satiety.

Whole Grains: Beyond oatmeal, opt for whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa for their significant fiber content.

Nuts and Seeds: Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and almonds offer concentrated sources of fiber and healthy fats.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods could worsen constipation symptoms and should be avoided:

Red meat: Which is high in saturated fat and low in fiber, might impede digestion and lead to constipation.

Processed foods: Which are often low in fiber and heavy in harmful fats and refined carbs, can have a detrimental influence on gut health.

Dairy items: Some people find dairy items like cheese and milk constipating, while lactose intolerance plays a part.

Fatty and fried meals: High-fat foods, especially when mixed with a low-fiber diet, can impede digestion and lead to constipation.


Oatmeal, with its high soluble fiber content, is more likely to be a friend than an enemy in the fight against constipation. However, a comprehensive approach to gut health is essential. Combining oatmeal with other fiber-rich meals, staying hydrated, engaging in regular physical exercise, and controlling stress all contribute to regular bowel movements and a happy gut. 

If constipation persists, it is always best to get specialized advice from a healthcare practitioner and treat any underlying medical concerns.


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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being