I struggled with constipation for years not knowing that the solution was as simple as what I’m sharing with you here.
Bloating, heaviness, lethargy, brain fog, depression, these can all be related to your bowel activity. If you haven’t been going often you might be experiencing some of those effects.
If you have difficulty with elimination, you understand how uncomfortable it can be, and how relieved you feel once you can go! I feel your pain.
Are you going at least once a day?
You probably already know that bowel movements are necessary for good health, but in today’s fast-paced world, a poor diet, stress, medications, or frequent traveling can get in the way of you and your digestion — so going to the bathroom regularly can suddenly become a challenge!
The medical definition of normal elimination is considered to be at least three bowel movements a week. Other sources consider that you should be going at least 3 times a day. According to Dr. John Douillard, expert in Ayurveda, there should be a complete elimination within the first hour of waking up.
Who’s right? Personally I think you don’t have to worry about how many times you are going. You could go once a day and feel great, or you might feel better when you go 3 times. The number of times you need to go will depends on what you’re eating, how often, at what times, etc.
The point is that you should be going frequently and more importantly you should be paying attention to the way you feel and your symptoms. Do you feel heavy, lethargic, bloated, gassy, on a regular basis? These are a very clear indication of whether you are eliminating properly or not.
Good detoxification = Easier weight loss
When I have a client with a health concern or difficulty losing weight, the first thing we focus on fixing is their digestion, specifically elimination. If you are not detoxifying and eliminating properly you are going to have a hard time healing or trimming excess weight in your body because your body stores toxins in your fat tissue. The better you digest, the better you eliminate what your body doesn’t need, and the less stuff that will be stored as fat.
Not to mention that when you don’t eliminate all the toxins and waste, these are sometimes reabsorbed into your system, causing self-toxicity and it can result in many, many health issues. But, don’t worry, getting regular is not that hard.
The colon isn’t the only elimination organ in the body. We have the kidneys, the lungs and the skin as well, but the colon is the most important for elimination of food waste. When the colon get’s backed up , you might experience some skin issues as your body is trying to get rid of toxins.
Let’s look at some common causes of constipation:
- Lack of sleep
- Insufficient nerve supply to the intestines
- Lack of fiber in the diet.
- Food intolerances
- Lack of exercise
- White flours
- Consuming Protein powders
- Food allergies
- Imbalanced intestinal flora
- Frequent travel
- Emotional Stress
- Worry, anxiety, tightness
Does any of the above sound familiar to you?
Are Your Prescription Meds causing Constipation?
Interestingly When turned to natural alternatives to my health issues, and discontinued all my prescription medications including birth control pills, constipation went away, right away!But wait, i’m not saying stop your meds before talking to your doctor, but just be aware that prescription medications alter physiology; in other words, they change the way your body functions. In a way, they manipulate the body, and the results are not always ideal in the long run.
My best recommendation if you are on prescription meds and you suffer from chronic constipation is to talk to a Naturopath or Natural Medicine doctor about alternatives.
The problem with Laxatives
To deal with not being “regular,” maybe you have turned to laxatives to get the job done fast. I used to do that to! In fact, laxatives are one of the most commonly bought over-the-counter medications there is in America.
According to a research article, In 1986, more than $200 million was spent on nonprescription laxatives. Unfortunately, this situation has not improved and constipation-related expenses continue to increase. The annual estimated expenditure for laxatives in the United States is $800 million (US) and that appears to be an underestimation because many patients purchase over-the-counter (OTC) preparations before escalating to prescription medications. (1)
There are plenty of reasons why Taking Laxatives is not a good plan. Check this out:
Health problems associated with laxative abuse include:
- dehydration (fluid loss)
- electrolyte imbalances
- acid/alkaline base changes
- the inability to produce enough digestive enzymes
- edema (water retention)
- dizziness and light-headedness
- damage to the colon and digestive organs
- alternating diarrhea and constipation
- complications with the cardiovascular systems
- weight loss or gain
- other life-threatening side effects, including death when overused
What to do instead? – Natural Alternatives & Solutions For Constipation
Before I go on, I want you to know that when it comes to supplements, my philosophy is: You go on them, get better, and get off them. This isn’t about depending on a supplement or herb to get the job done. It’s about healing the underlying causes of constipation and getting relief in the process.
Here you have 10 proven dietary and lifestyle practices that will keep you regular
My favorite herb for keeping you regular is Triphala, because it helps you heal, tonify, and clean your colon and it works fast!
Triphala is a classic Ayurvedic formula that consists of three fruits which safely and effectively treat occasional constipation (2):
- Haritaki tones the muscular wall of the gut.
- Amalaki supports the health of the intestinal skin and villi.
- Bibhitaki boosts the removal of mucus and toxins from the wall of the gut.
Triphala is not a harmful, bowel-irritating laxative like senna, cascara sagrada and others which may cause dependency. I personally have used it with amazing success, and I recommend it to clients suffering from constipation. It doesn’t cause cramps or mega-urgencies!
When it comes to herbs, organic is better. This is my favorite brand for great quality Triphala. I promise you, It works!
Caution: If you have colitis, ibd, or any other type of color disorder please consult with your health practitioner before trying this herb. If your colon is damaged or sensitive it can cause diarrhea or worsen your condition. When i first tried it i was dealing with a type of colitis, and it was a bit aggressive for my bowels, but now that my colon is healthier i can use it without any problems, and it works every time!
2.- Chia seeds
Chia seeds are mucilaginous; which means that combined with liquid form a gelatinous substance that easily moves through your intestines. If you are going to try chia seeds, make sure to also increase your fluid intake, because it helps them move through the gut easily. They are also a great source of calcium, and essential fats.
You can find tons of recipes on the internet for chia seeds. I personally just eat a tablespoon of the seeds on their own and chew them slowly.
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of fiber, they add bulk to your stool and help it pass through your intestines. They work to treat both constipation and diarrhea! Just remember that whenever you eat a lot of fiber, you want to also make sure to drink plenty of water too — otherwise without enough hydrating liquids you could have even more bathroom troubles!
4.- Chew or Drink Licorice Root
Licorice is said to be one of the most extensively researched medicinal plants, and it has a lengthy list of versatile uses to match. Licorice has a natural laxative effect that promotes peristalsis (the contractions in your colon that help move waste through). However, the active ingredient, glycyrrhiza, if taken in excess, can lead to a few issues.
To be on the safe side and avoid high doses, you can chew on a piece of licorice root or drink licorice tea as well.
However if you have other issues as well like gastritis, reflux, heartburn, and constant stomach pain. It is important to go deeper into healing the digestive tract. If you want to take it to next level, and completely heal and repair the skin of your intestines, try this amazing product. I took it for several months and completely restored by digestion, eliminated gastritis, and constipation forever.
5.- Increase Bile Flow.
Bile plays a key role in regulating your trips to the toilet. In order to have good elimination you need bile. After digestion, leftover toxins in the large intestine are re-absorbed back into the bile where it ends up in the liver. Over time, the liver can become congested and the production of bile will slow down.
This can lead to congestion of the gallbladder and poor bile flow into the intestines. Bile is the ultimate upstream regulator of the stool’s consistency, frequency and intestinal transit time. Maintaining a healthy production of bile is key to regular elimination
In order to support natural production of bile try the following foods:
- Olive oil on an empty stomach in the morning
- Carrot juice, first thing in the morning works great!
- Dandelion leaves or dandelion tea is awesome!
- Leafy greens
For an excellent tip on how to keep your gallbladder healthy, your bile clean, and even burn fat in the process, check out my previous post HERE
6.- Probiotics in the form of fermented vegetables.
Probiotics are essential for all things health, there’s no questions about it. But before you start taking probiotic supplements that may or may not work for you, go for the probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is one of the best foods you can put in your body, it has so many benefits that there’s entire books written on it. This is by far the best brand.
Often time foods are not enough to get all the healthy bugs we need to help us have consistent bowel movement, if your constipation is very frequent, I recommend trying a very good probiotic that will colonize your bowels as opposed to just be transient. I recommend this one because it was formulated by a reputable health professional, it has longer term benefits, and its high quality.
7.- Fiber-rich foods, The Right Kind!
Such as fruits, green veggies, whole grains and beans if you can tolerate them, are also key to healthy and regular bowel movements. Fiber scrubs the digestive tract of excess mucus and toxins, attaches to toxin-carrying bile and takes it to the toilet. Fiber also provides food for the good microbes that live in the large intestine, yes, they need to eat too!
If you bowels are dry, try adding more soluble fiber to pull water into the intestines and try avoiding things like salads and broccoli, they might worsen constipation in some cases. You can find soluble fiber in mangoes, bananas, apples, avocados, sweet potatoes to mention a few. I recommend trying a 1 day cleansing diet, to really clean up all the old stuff. I have a complete guide on how to do this 1 Day Cleanse, with a menu, recipes and many more tips, it’s amazing. Go Here to Download it now, it’s free.
8.- Indulge in Coconut Water
Sometimes constipation is due to dehydration of the colon. Coconut water contains naturally occurring electrolytes which are very efficient at restoring hydration in the colon. Works amazingly well! ½ a cup might be enough.
9.- Careful with coffee!
Coffee can speed up the transit in your intestines, and trigger a bowel movement. In fact, many people swear by their morning espresso to go to the bathroom. However, coffee can also produce the opposite effect, because it dehydrates your colon, making it even harder for stool to pass through.
10.- Last but not least LET GO!
When we hold on to thoughts, emotions and feelings, when we don’t ask for what we need, when there’s words unspoken, and truths not told these can translate into tightness in your digestive tract, it will constrict and make it more difficult for things to go where they need to go.
Your colon is intimately connected with your emotions, that’s how your body works! So, start letting go of everything in your life that doesn’t serve you, so that your body can let go of waste as well.
For some people they can try every remedy in the world and constipations doesn’t go away until they heal their emotions and free themselves. I am one of them.
Bonus Tip! Get a Chiropractic Adjustment.
This alone can change your life. Chiropractors work with the spine, which houses your nervous systems. This system controls every organ of the body and when our spine is out of alignment it can impact peristalsis (the wave-like motion that makes everything move through your digestive tract.) Getting chiropractic adjustments can help improve just about any health issues you might be experiencing.
Have you tried it all, and need Professional Support?
For more tips on healthy digestion check out my previous post HERE