Vitamin B12 deficiency: Toiletry troubles indicative of long-term deficiency

This Morning: Guest reveals symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

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Vitamin B12 can be stored in the body for a number of years, which means that it can take a long while before signs of the condition appear. However, the changes can seem innocuous, so you may put off seeing your GP. This would be a big mistake – left untreated, a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to irreversible neurological complications. If you find yourself experiencing toilet troubles, take note of how – and how often – your bowel movements are affected.

According to WebMD, constipation, diarrhoea, or gas could be indicative of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Am I constipated?

If you’ve not had a poo at least three times during the last week, the NHS confirm that you have constipation.

When you do empty your bowels, the faeces are likely to be large, dry, hard, or lumpy.

Straining to empty your bowels is another indication that you’re constipated.

“You may also have a stomach ache and feel bloated or sick,” added the NHS.

There can be a number of causes behind constipation, such as:

  • Not eating enough fibre – such as fruit, vegetables and cereals
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not moving enough and spending long periods sitting or lying in bed
  • Being less active and not exercising
  • Often ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
  • Changing your diet or daily routine
  • A side effect of medicine
  • Stress, anxiety or depression.
  • Diarrhoea

“Diarrhoea is passing looser or more frequent stools than is normal for you,” said the NHS.

A bowel infection could cause diarrhoea, such as norovirus, bacteria, or a parasite.

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Diarrhoea can also be the result of anxiety, a food allergy, medication, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Most cases of diarrhoea clear up after a few days without treatment, but it’s key to call NHS 111 if there is:

  • Blood in your stool
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe or continuous stomach ache
  • Weight loss
  • Black stools.
  • Gas

The average number of farts a person does in a day ranges from five to 15.

Excessive gas alongside constipation or diarrhoea warrants a call to your doctor.

Other warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency, as pointed out by WebMD, include:

  • Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • A smooth tongue
  • Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
  • Vision loss
  • Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioural changes.
  • A vitamin B12 deficiency can easily be diagnosed via a blood test.

Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will then determine the root cause for the vitamin B12 deficiency.

This can range from dietary choices, an acquired autoimmune condition, to alcohol abuse.

If you choose not to get a blood test, and you do have a vitamin B12 deficiency, further health complications will occur.

For instance, you might experience persistent tingling in your hands and feet.

This could lead to issues with balance, causing more falls, which may lead to injury.

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