Eczema and Constipation

Eczema and constipation might seem unrelated, but recently studies have found a link between the two. Although the exact reasons for this connection are still being researched, there’s clear evidence that many people with eczema, a skin condition that causes itchy and inflamed patches, often suffer from constipation.

Here we’ll explore what current research says, how eczema might affect the gut, and how to manage both conditions effectively.

Eczema and constipation – the research

Studies are increasingly highlighting a possible relationship between eczema and constipation. One major study in Taiwan involving over 170,000 people found that those with constipation were more than twice as likely to have eczema as those without.

Similarly, a study in the United Kingdom with over 23,000 participants found a strong link between constipation and a higher likelihood of eczema. Another study in Japan involving over 67,000 infants showed that one-year-olds with constipation had a slightly higher risk of developing eczema until age three.

These findings suggest a link, but more research is needed to understand why eczema might make constipation more likely and the mechanisms behind this association.

Understanding how eczema affects the gut

While eczema is usually seen as a skin condition, its effects might reach beyond the skin, possibly affecting the gut too. The concept of the gut-skin axis suggests that the health of the gut can impact skin health and vice versa.

For example, inflammation in the gut can make skin conditions like eczema worse, indicating that issues in the digestive system could trigger or intensify skin inflammation. This could be due to an imbalance in the gut microbiome, which plays a crucial role in digestion, immune function, and overall health.

How to manage eczema and constipation

Managing both eczema and constipation usually involves changes in diet, lifestyle, and sometimes medical treatments. Here are some strategies that might help:

Diet – Eating a high-fibre diet can ease constipation, while omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish and flaxseeds) may help reduce eczema-related inflammation.

Hydration – Drinking enough water is essential for relieving constipation and keeping your skin healthy.

Probiotics – These supplements can balance the gut’s microbiota, potentially improving both digestive and skin health.

Regular Exercise – Staying active can boost digestion and circulation, which helps skin health.

Skin Care – Using gentle, hypoallergenic skin care products and moisturising regularly can prevent eczema flare-ups.

If you’ve tried these methods and still struggle to manage your symptoms, it might be time to consult a specialist.

If you’re dealing with both eczema and constipation, and looking for effective treatments, consider booking a consultation with colorectal surgeon Mr Michael Stellakis. He can discuss with you the best options for managing your symptoms.