A girl dressed in fitness equipment is preparing to do sit-ups on a fitness mat.

Can sit-ups cause constipation? Yes, sit-ups can cause this symptom. But there are a few reasons that influence this symptom like:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle soreness
  • Blocked dry hard stool
  • Twisted bowel obstruction.

Sit-ups are the type of exercise that involves rotating the lower body from a straight position to ninety degrees. The rotation creates an L-shaped body on the ground.

This thing puts to work the abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor muscles. Also, sit-ups in general, are an excellent work-out for body sculpting and stress relief.

Follow the guide and learn how to prevent sit-ups from causing constipation in the long-term.


A stressed girl dressed in fitness equipment is doing sit-ups on a fitness mat.

Can sit-ups cause constipation when you are stressed? Although this exercise creates adrenaline to fight stress, sometimes it is not enough for the body to relieve stress.

Stress is one of the most common causes of episodic constipation. The reason is that: it makes the body focus all of the resources inside the body, go to all the vital organs.

The most affected organs are:

  • Heart
  • Brain
  • Muscles.

This thing means that digestion and bowel movement are not priorities in those stressful intervals of time. The majority of the blood flow and oxygen will go towards those organs that are a priority.

Although workout, in general, is an excellent way for stress relief, sometimes, the effort of doing sit-ups can slow down transit. Working the abdomen that lacks sufficient blood flow, water, and liquids can slow down the intestinal transit.

The adrenaline that comes as a result of a workout will temporarily alleviate the negative symptoms. But, after 3-4 hours, you will feel symptoms like discomfort, pain, irritation, and a sensitive belly.

Here are a few things to do if you are stressed:

  • Rest and do light stretching.
  • Eliminate the stress causes.
  • Start with a few sit-ups.

It is essential to eliminate the causes of stress because the body will function better. Digestion, intestinal transit, and bowel movement are complex processes.

If you can’t get rid of stress immediately, then you should focus on those things that cause it. And start working out after you have finished with it.

What do the experts say?

According to a guide about stress and mental health published by The U.K. National Health System: Try to find the causes of stress and manage them. Here are the most common ones: too much pressure at work, health issues, injuries, retirement, and unemployment.

According to a guide called Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Life, published by the U.S. NIDDK: Managing stress by getting enough sleep, regular physical activity, and maintaining your ideal weight are great ways to prevent health problems.


A girl in gym clothes yawns and feels fatigued when doing sit-ups.

Can sit-ups cause constipation when the body is too tired? Of course, they can. Fatigue, in general, slows down the internal functioning of the body.

Too much work-out and intense stretching cannot improve intestinal transit. A tired body can’t handle digestion properly. This situation is similar to having long intervals of stress.

Although sit-ups work the abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor muscles, too much physical effort can affect the muscle tissues.

This thing means that:

  • It will take the body longer to recover.
  • Those tissues have to regenerate using proteins.

Also, the body needs to hydrate after work-out, especially if you are looking for fast constipation relief with exercises. This thing means that the body requires an even larger quantity of vitamins and nutrients. If you feel fatigued and you do sit-ups, you will have to stop and rest.

Here are a few things to do whenever you feel irritation, abdominal discomfort, or pain after sit-ups:

  • Take a break.
  • Warm-up the body.
  • Drink water and fresh fruit juice.

If the irritation and discomfort persist, then it is time to stop the physical activity and rest for a couple of days. Rest, eat proteins, and hydrate your body as fast as possible.

What do the experts say?

According to a study about fatigue, IBD, and psychological factors published by The American Gastroenterological Association: The feeling of being fatigue can increase over time in patients with IBD. To reduce fatigue is necessary to improve the psychological factors.

According to another study about behavioral therapy and fatigue in young adults with Crohn’s disease, published by the same health authority: The most common symptoms of people with Crohn’s disease are fatigue and sleep deprivation.


A girl dressed in fitness clothes is doing sit-ups and drinks water after a workout to prevent dehydration.

Can sit-ups cause constipation when the body does not receive enough water?

Dehydration causes constipation because water is not present in the stool after it reaches the large intestine. This thing happens in general, for most people, most of the time.

Hydrating the body is a complex process that requires:

  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Nutrients.

The process requires these elements to prepare the chemical reactions inside the body. Hydrating the body means having the right quantities of chemicals so that the muscles work optimally.

This thing also applies to digestion and bowel movement because they require the same chemical elements. If dehydration is present often, then the stool inside the large intestine will become hard and dry.

If you rotate your body with lots of hard and dry stool inside, you will feel irritation. And continue to have constipation in the future.

Here are a few things to do to prevent dehydration:

  • Drink non-carbonated mineral water.
  • Wait thirty minutes after eating fruit.
  • Eat fruits on an empty stomach.
  • Drink water during sit-ups.

Eating fruits on an empty stomach is the best way to assimilate vitamins and nutrients. If you eat fruits after a meal, fermentation will create gas and bloating.

You can relieve gas with some exercises, but it is better to eat food the right way. Try not to combine fruits with any food, especially with meat.

Eating vegetables with meat is another way to assimilate vitamins and nutrients. To have bowel movements regularly, eat liquid food like fruit compote (stewed fruit), soup, and shakes.

What do the experts say?

According to a technical review on constipation published by The American Gastroenterological Association: Evidence shows that increasing physical activity is beneficial for constipation. Evidence shows that fluid intake can treat constipation only if there is evidence of a form of dehydration.

According to a study called the pathophysiology of chronic constipation, published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine: The colon is the organ that absorbs the fluid and moves the fecal matter to the rectum for evacuation. Removing the water from the fecal matter is directly influenced by time and can increase when dehydration is present.


A girl is feeling muscle soreness, and the indications point out that she should stop doing sit-ups.

Muscle soreness is the result of working too hard for too long. Doing sit-ups often without being in shape is usually a bad idea. And sit-ups can cause constipation after too much workout. You can shorten the time by doing some exercises for fast relief, but the effort will be the same.

Muscle soreness is similar to stress because the affected area is lacking resources like:

  • blood flow
  • oxygen
  • water.

Muscle soreness is an indirect cause of constipation because it does not affect the stool directly. What it affects is the re-direction of the resources inside the body.

This thing means that the blood flow, proteins, nutrients, and vitamins will be directed towards regenerating the muscle tissues.

Working the muscles requires the tissues to expand and contract. By doing this thing for too long, the muscle and intestinal tissues will be damaged.

You can heal the tissues by eating proteins and vitamins. Proteins regenerate the tissues after a workout. Also, you need to rest so the digestion process will assimilate the food properly.

According to a study called: Stretching for Prevention of Exercise-Related Injury, published by The American Academy of Family Physicians: The study (twelve-week measurement) found that stretching (before and after exercise) alleviated muscle soreness by four units on a 100-unit scale.


The large intestine has a dry and hard stool that stays blocked inside and causes discomfort to the girls' abdomen before doing sit-ups.

A blocked and dry stool can cause constipation in the short-term. The symptom can become worse after sit-ups.

Stool present in the large intestine that sticks like glue to the intestinal walls is bad for sit-ups. The reason is that dry stool cannot move towards the rectum.

The more you exercise the lower abdomen and the pelvic floor muscles, the more likely it is that the stool will disintegrate.

But, unfortunately, sometimes the hard and dry stool will not move and this thing can damage the intestinal lining and tissues. When this thing happens, you will feel irritation, discomfort, and sometimes a lite pain.

According to a guide about digestive disease and constipation in children, published by The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Dry, hard, lumpy, and hard-to-pass stools are common symptoms of constipation in children.

According to a guide about constipation symptoms and causes published by the same health authority: Other factors that can cause hard and dry stools like anorectal blockage, tumors, and intestinal obstructions.


The illustration shows a twisted bowel obstruction of the small intestine without too many details and a normal state.

Can sit ups cause constipation to someone who suffers from twisted bowel obstruction? It is essential to know what twisted bowel obstruction is.

Twisted bowel obstruction (Volvulus) is the incorrect positioning of the intestinal segments inside the body. This thing means that segments of the small intestine are twisting around other segments.

Loops of the intestine can create a blockage that can be:

  • total
  • partial
  • mechanical
  • non-mechanical.

Regardless of the type present inside, the blockage slows food, liquids, and gas moving towards the large intestine. The feeling of gas moving inside and the need to evacuate it is usually not comfortable.

Gas relief and constipation relief using exercises are possible in the short-term. It is essential to start slow and focus on gentle body movement. Gentle movements will make the body better adapt to physical effort.

Also, the small intestine can twist around itself and the mesentery that supports it. This thing creates an obstruction even though the intestine functions at its limiting capacity. The intestine will still get fluid and blood.

In rare cases, the blood flow and fluid filling will stop. Thus, affecting those parts of the intestine. This thing leads to blood-starved tissues and non-functioning intestinal walls, which represents a medical emergency.

According to a guideline about endoscopy and colonic volvulus published by The American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: The sigmoid colon is the most common place where the Colonic volvulus occurs. Bowel twisting along its mesenteric axis will result in colonic pseudo-obstruction and colonic volvulus.


A girl shows on a fitness mat what sit-ups are with indications and what body parts they affect.

Can sit-ups cause constipation? Before exploring this subject, we must first understand what sit-ups are and what body parts they affect.

Sit-ups are a type of exercise that focuses mainly on the abdomen and the pelvic floor muscles. They also put to work the shoulders, arms, and things.

The basic movement of this exercise is to:

  • Sit horizontally on a fitness mat straight.
  • Bring the upper body vertically on the floor.
  • Return to the initial posture.

The basic movement makes the abdomen contract, expand, and work by rotating the upper body. Also, place the palms and arms behind your head.

Sit-ups are excellent exercises for abdomen workouts. Rotating the upper body from the floor up to ninety degrees, back and forth, will put the entire abdomen to work.

Sometimes, they work the pelvic floor muscles because the body will imitate a squatting posture. This thing means that the anorectal angle will increase, and the pelvic floor muscles will relax.

This thing causes the bottom to prepare for stool evacuation, and defecation will become natural. In the long-term, sit-ups are very helpful to get rid of constipation and improve bowel movement.


The image shows two girls doing sit-ups and crunches to highlight the differences between them.

The difference between sit-ups and crunches is that sit-ups make the upper body rotate ninety degrees back and forth. On the other hand, crunches rotate the upper body for about forty-five degrees from the floor.

This thing means that crunches focus only on the abdomen (lower and upper abdomen). In this case, there won’t be any hard workouts that involve the pelvic floor muscles, thigs, or arms.

Crunches are an excellent training exercise to get a six-pack in the long term. They are easy to do after a couple of months, and they require little effort. But this thing also requires you to be in great physical shape.


Doing sit-ups is an excellent way to work the abdomen and the pelvic floor muscles. If you feel irritation, abdominal discomfort, or pain, then you should visit a doctor.

Doing sit-ups at first is demanding. Start slow, and always remember to hydrate. Drink plenty of water and eat fruits on an empty stomach.

If you suffer from constipation after a workout for more than two months, then it is time for a change. Visit a doctor and ask for blood, urine, and stool tests.


Can sit-ups cause constipation? Yes, sit-ups can cause this symptom, but there are a few reasons. The most common ones are stress, fatigue, dehydration, and muscle soreness.

Keeping the body hydrated and not exercising too much can positively influence constipation in the long-term.

In rare cases, Volvulus (twisted bowel obstruction) is another cause of constipation. People who suffer from Volvulus should visit a doctor.

Last medically reviewed on 28.08.2021





My name is Sebastian D., and I am the senior editor of With the help of my mentor, Dr. Horia Marculescu, I decided to create a practical guide to constipation relief.. read more

Copyright © 2017-2021. All rights reserved. ConstipationGUIDE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.