In a recent article published on the Healthline website, the author discussed various studies that assessed the incidence of constipation in individuals with COVID-19 and whether there is a direct or indirect correlation. For example, a case study published in May 2020 described a man with COVID-19 who came to the hospital with a fever, cough, nausea, constipation, and abdominal pain. A CT scan showed that he had colonic ileus. Another study published in June 2020 reported a number of individuals with COVID-19 were admitted to a hospital with various gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, including constipation.
Researchers have found that the gut microbiome of individuals with COVID-19 discharged from the hospital differs from the gut microbiome of the general population. Researchers suspect that this difference may contribute to GI symptoms. In another study published in 2021, researchers examined the effects of a fecal microbiota transplantation on a group of 11 people with COVID-19 discharged from the hospital with GI symptoms. Three of the individuals had constipation. In another 2021 study, researchers examined potential therapies for treating COVID-19. They listed constipation as an adverse effect of the drugs famotidine and bevacizumab.
In addition, results from a study published in March 2021 revealed that 44% of a group of individuals with IBS and either anxiety or depression reported an increase in constipation. The rise was attributed to psychological distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and not a COVID-19 infection. The author also revealed that other GI issues commonly reported in those with COVID-19 include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal pain.
The article concluded that constipation is not a typical symptom associated with COVID-19, but some individuals with the novel virus do report this symptom, and it may be due to adverse effects associated with the use of the drugs used to treat COVID-19, dietary changes during illness, stress, or changes in exercise habits in those with COVID-19.
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