As our understanding of the human gut grows, modern medicine has come to realize that constipation is a much more prevalent and serious health problem and far less benign that we ever realized.

In fact, constipation may be a symptom of greater health problems, from hormonal issues to diabetes, colon cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Add chronic kidney disease to that list of serious diseases, based on a recent study appearing in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center and Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center discovered the link as they studied and monitored the health of some 3.5 million veterans for nearly a decade.

Compared to healthy patients, those suffering from constipation were 13 percent more susceptible to chronic kidney disease, and 9 percent were more likely to develop kidney failure, necessitating dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant.

The link between constipation and chronic kidney disease may be an uncomfortable blessing in disguise, because there are few signs or symptoms in the early stages.

What’s more, a cluster of health problems ranging from diabetes and high blood pressure to obesity and heart disease can increase your risks of chronic kidney disease too, blurring that simple connection to constipation.

“Our results suggest the need for careful observation of kidney function trajectory in patients with constipation, particularly among those with more severe constipation,” says Dr. Csaba Kovesdy, chief of nephrology at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, according to a press release.

Right now, constipation is nothing more than a warning sign of chronic kidney disease. However, if constipation is found to play a more active role in this disease based on future research, Dr. Kovesky believes simple lifestyle adjustments and taking a probiotic may be enough to protect a patient’s kidney health.

Taking a probiotic with multiple species of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic is a safe, proven way to boost the healthy diversity of your gut microbiome to treat constipation safely, effectively and without a drug.