WASHINGTON: People with severe constipation may be at an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease and kidney failure, a new study has warned.
The findings suggest that the diagnosis and management of constipation might be helpful for preventing or treating kidney disease.
Constipation is a common condition, and it can have a variety of impacts on health. For example, constipation is known to increase individuals' risk of cardiovascular disease, potentially through effects caused by gut bacteria.
Researchers from University of Tennessee Health Science Centre and Memphis VA Medical Centre in the US studied information on over 3.5 million US veterans with normal kidney function who were initially examined in 2004 and 2006 and were followed through 2013.
Compared with patients without constipation, patients with constipation had a 13 per cent higher likelihood of developing chronic kidney disease and a nine per cent higher likelihood of developing kidney failure, after adjusting for various patient characteristics.
More severe constipation was linked with an incrementally higher risk for both chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.
"Our findings highlight the plausible link between the gut and the kidneys and provide additional insights into the pathogenesis of kidney disease progression," said Csaba Kovesdy from University of Tennessee Health Science Centre.
"Our results suggest the need for careful observation of kidney function trajectory in patients with constipation, particularly among those with more severe constipation," said Kovesdy.
He added that if additional research shows that constipation plays a causal role in kidney disease, treatment of constipation through lifestyle modifications and/or use of probiotics could potentially protect patients' kidney health.
The research appears in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN)