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Does Chocolate Cause Constipation?

Does Chocolate Cause Constipation?
Kevin Cleary

Key Takeaways:

  • A wide range of factors can cause constipation.
  • Good daily health can be due to regularity, but a hard or difficult-to-pass stool is a sign that something is not quite right.
  • While studies haven’t proven a direct link to chocolate causing constipation, other ingredients in chocolate (other than cocoa) may be the culprit.
  • Chocolate is often to blame for those suffering from constipation, rightfully or not.
  • Constipation isn’t life-threatening but can be a huge damper on your quality of life, and HPFY has everything you need to fight constipation.


We have all heard the term constipation, but what is its true definition? The technical definition of constipation is less than three bowel movements per week. A number of reasons can cause it, and many blame chocolate for the reason they are constipated. Does chocolate constipate you? Say it isn’t so!! Fortunately for our beloved sweet, there have been no conclusive studies to prove that chocolate causes constipation. So why do people believe chocolate can cause constipation? Let’s dive into it, and hopefully, I can shed some light on the why’s and how, but if you should suffer from constipation, HPFY has everything to help rectify the situation.

Chocolate And Constipation: What Is The Link?

We eat chocolate in many forms and truly love it!! Often, chocolate is associated with sweets, but believe it or not, the core ingredient of chocolate, cocoa, is actually quite bitter. Try eating baking chocolate and see what I mean. It does get added to some of our favorites like ice cream or cake, obviously with other ingredients (sugar). The question here is, Does Chocolate Cause Constipation? According to an article by Medical News Today, a survey in 2005 of people suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) found chocolate to be a common trigger of constipation. Cocoa contains magnesium, which can increase the amount of water in your intestines. Other ingredients in chocolate include:

  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Caffeine

It’s possible that some of these ingredients could be the cause of constipation, not necessarily the cocoa in chocolate, especially if you have a lactose intolerance or conditions such as celiac disease, blockages/tumors of the anus, or spinal cord injuries. Milk and dairy products, as well as wheat allergies, are often the cause of some common digestive issues that can lead to constipation. Chocolate may affect those who can’t tolerate these ingredients, and caffeine can increase acid in the gut and those with IBS.

What Causes Constipation?

While chocolate may not be the prime culprit, what then does cause constipation? If you can believe it, cocoa is probably not the cause of constipation, but chocolate can make constipation worse. Typically, constipation is caused by dehydration. Constipation can also be caused by:

  • A diet low in fiber
  • Lack of exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • Pelvic floor disorders
  • A stool that passes too slowly
  • Medications
  • Antacids
  • Medications for blood pressure
  • Parkinson’s disease medications
  • Antiseizure medications

Other factors that can affect your ability to have bowel movements regularly include conditions that affect your muscles, nerves, or even hormones. These can include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), nerve damage, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, or even an overactive thyroid (a.k.a. hyperthyroidism).

Constipation Relief

If you should experience constipation (whether you ate chocolate or not), what’s the best way to avoid constipation or achieve relief? Lifestyle changes such as eating fruits, vegetables, or beans high in fiber, drinking fluids regularly, exercising, and avoiding processed foods can all help minimize the risk of constipation. If you should experience constipation, treatments include:

  • Change of medication
  • Laxatives
  • Stool softeners
  • Fiber supplements
  • Enemas

Is It Okay to Eat Chocolate?

Yes, it’s okay to eat chocolate as long as it doesn’t become an everyday occurrence. As the saying goes, “Everything in moderation.” If you should expect that chocolate is making any bout of constipation worse, some options can allow you to enjoy your favorite treat and not deal with the negative effects of constipation. You could try:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Dairy-free chocolate
  • Cocoa nibs (roasted actual cocoa beans)

If you should feel the need to eat chocolate, seek out dark chocolate that contains 70% or more of cocoa. This dark chocolate can support digestive health due to its natural source of probiotics. It also contains flavonoids which are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Also, dark chocolate contains magnesium which can help with muscle relaxation, improved sleep, and can help strengthen bones.

When to Seek Medical Attention

More often than not, constipation is a temporary thing and can resolve itself. See your doctor or dietitian if you should experience constipation with other issues such as:

  • Constipation lasting three weeks or longer
  • Bloody or black stools
  • Vomiting
  • Symptoms that interrupt everyday activities
  • Chronic stomach pain
  • Bleeding rectum or blood on toilet tissue

Constipated? Try Laxatives for Relief!




Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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