Constipation. It’s not exactly dinner table conversation (at least not at the family table that I grew up at) but it’s a serious problem that can cause minor annoyances but can also lead to life threatening issues. When it happens to us on occasion for a day or so it’s not something to be concerned about, but when you are struggling with this on a daily basis and it’s become a chronic problem, it’s something that needs to be addressed.
First of all, let’s outline what we want to have happening.
In a nutshell, we want:
- Anywhere from 1-3 stools per day – without straining or discomfort
- Minimal odor
- Medium brown in color
- Long, log-like piece or a few pieces
If you are having fewer bowel movements that are difficult to pass and are hard or pellet like, that’d be constipation, my friend.
Here are a couple of root causes for constipation:
- Insufficient dietary soluble fiber – this can cause poor mobility in your colon, hard or incomplete stools
- Low intestinal cell energy generation – this can be caused by statin drugs, hypothyroidism, and adrenal fatigue
- Slow peristalsis (the muscle action that moves things through your GI tract) – caused by low stomach acid, grazing, low serotonin production, magnesium deficiency, food sensitivity or intolerance, hypertension meds
- Nervous system imbalance – from opiate or antihistamine drugs, chronic stress, adrenal fatigue
Typical over the counter pharmaceutical solutions or fiber supplements (ie Citrucel, Metamucil) are OK in an emergency, but….
Better one-time triage solutions are:
- Natural chewing gum with xylitol, which won’t aggravate IBS and will gently loosen stools
- Prunes (take 5 at night, 5 the next morning & lots of water)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – add ¼ cup to a smoothie at night.
- Stimulant Herb formula with senna and/or cape aloe
Really what you want to do however, is solve this on a permanent basis. Long term constipation can cause all kinds of issues such as diverticulitus and colon cancer
Here are my top 10 recommendations to get things moving smoothly on a regular basis (pun intended!)
- Go when you need to go! Give yourself enough time in the morning to make things happen without rushing or stress.
- Eat reasonably sized, relaxed meals. Chew your food (don’t wolf it down!)
- Reduce stress
- Make sure you are getting enough magnesium (start with 400 mg/day)
- Take a full spectrum probiotic (or one with high bifido if you are over 60)
- Increase healthy fats (especially at dinner)
- Get regular exercise
- Increase dietary fiber (add 2 Tbsp of ground flax to foods)
- Stay hydrated
- Consider an elimination of dairy & gluten for a period of time to see if there is a sensitivity you are unaware of. My next 12 Day Datox starts soon – I’d love to have you join us!
Remember that everyone is unique!
What worked for your Uncle Joey may not work for you. And also remember that everything is connected in your body – things don’t happen insolation.
If you want someone to help you figure out what’s going on with YOU, don’t hesitate to reach out – that’s what I’m here for!