Nausea, bloating and constipation

May 2, 2015 by
Filed under: Case of the month, Cases, Spinewave Bulletin, Symptoms 

Nausea, bloating and constipation are common and often non-specific symptoms.

Patients can present with one or all three symptoms and not even realise they are constipated. Surprisingly, 50 percent of people who complain of nausea, bloating or constipation have normal bowel movements1.

normal colon chiropractic

In health, the right colon usually functions as a reservoir, mixing contents, while the left colon functions as a conduit. In constipated people, measurement of colonic transit may reveal segmental (right-sided, left-sided or rectosigmoid) delays in colonic movement2.

The term “slow transit constipation” refers to a clinical syndrome attributable to ineffective colonic propulsion3. Sometimes patients complain of constipation but there is no underlying systemic disorder or pelvic floor dysfunction that explains the symptoms. There will be no pathological finding on imaging either. The person may complain of other symptoms such as nausea, bloating, painful or irregular periods, urinary hesitancy, cold hands or fainting. These are called “extragastrointestinal” symptoms.

colonic inertia B&W chiropractic

Potential causes of this subtle problem can be wide and varied, such as medications, pain killers, allergies to certain foods, candida, stress, anxiety or dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. However, the underlying mechanism of slow transit constipation is reduced colonic contractile activity, which needs to be kick started again. This is called “colonic inertia”. The image above shows normal colonic contractions following a 1,000 kcal meal.

Symptoms such as abdominal bloating, discomfort and nausea are attributed to delayed colonic transit with “back up” of contents and perhaps bowel distention3

Last July my 14-year old son, James, presented with unexplained nausea, which was keeping him off school.

We went to our GP who began a series of tests, ultrasounds, X rays, and specialist visits. Ten weeks later we had no answers. James was still constantly nauseous and as a family we were at our wits end.

Over the years, my husband and I have been to see Neil and we have been very happy with the results in terms of pain relief and general wellness. Eventually I thought maybe I should take James to see Neil.

Initially, Neil did some adjustments, hoping to ease James’ nausea. After a few visits we had a breakthrough when Neil detected a blockage in James’ intestine.

Neil manipulated the blockage and started to get it moving. With a combination of chiropractic visits, self-massage and magnesium, James fully recovered and was back to school within 2 weeks.

Craig, James and I cannot thank Neil enough for solving this problem, which others in the medical profession could not.

Dianne Lamberton

© 2015 Spinewave


  1. Harding, LK, et al. Nausea, bloating and constipation. Nuclear Medicine Communications. 1998. 19 (3): 189.
  2. Stivland T, et al. Scinitigraphic measurement of regional gut transit in idiopathic constipation. Gastroenterology. 1991. 101: 107–115.
  3. Bharucha, AE. Constipation. Best Practice & Research: Clinical Gastroenterology. 2007. 21 (4): 709-731.
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