Constipation, characterized by infrequent bowel movements, can lead to gas, bloating, hemorrhoids, and fatigue. Natural health practitioners believe that the bowel is the foundation of good health, and having two to three bowel movements daily is beneficial for the entire body.
Symptoms of constipation
- dry, hard or lumpy stools
- straining to have a movement
- incomplete evacuation or feeling like you still need to go
- a sense of difficulty in passing a stool
What causes constipation?
- lack of exercise
- not drinking enough water
- a diet high in refined carbohydrates
- prescription drugs such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, prostate drugs, and muscle relaxants
- IBS and disorders of the endocrine system which disrupt hormonal signals, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism
- leaky gut syndrome
- low fiber diet
- ignoring the urge to go
- toxicity from parasites, lyme, virus, fungi, bacteria, etc
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise regularly, even walking every day will help
- Leave time to have a bowel movement. If urges to eliminate are ignored repeatedly, they become less frequent.
- Change your diet slowly, adding more fruits and vegetables. Reduce the amount of refined starches, sugar and processed foods in your diet.
- When traveling, try to maintain a normal diet and a regular sleep schedule.
- Position yourself correctly when using the toilet. Keep the feet raised on a small step stool or a device designed for proper eliminative posture (knees above the waist).
- Take a daily probiotic, preferable one that is rich in bifidobacterium which is the most prevalent bacteria in the large intestine.
- Take a flaxseed-based fiber formula that provides a balanced mix of soluble and insoluble fiber. Try to avoid psyllium husk since it soaks up water in the digestive tract which leads to more constipation.
- Avoid over the counter laxatives or herbals ones like cascara sagrada or senna which can irritate and weaken the colon, and become habit forming with long term use.
- Use soothing herbs such as aloe, slippery elm, marshmallow root, and triphala to help stimulate the colon. A magnesium supplement is helpful as well.
- Daily salt water enemas until normal bowel function has been restored.