Constipation: how to get those bowels moving again
28 Dec 2015
Constipation is diagnosed when bowel movements feel difficult, hard, or painful. Contrary to popular belief the frequency of your bowel movements is not the primary criteria for diagnosing constipation.
On average you should have at least three bowel movements weekly, but because some people have fewer they would not be diagnosed with constipation. Quite honestly it is very much a personal and individualized bodily function and there is no right or wrong. The key is to listen to your body.
A good guideline is that your stools should generally be well-formed and pliable, as opposed to pebble-like and hard. As a result, it is also important to note that any dramatic shifts from your personal norm. Especially, in regards to frequency, reoccurring diarrhoea and/or the sudden onset of very painful, very difficult-to-pass bowel movements. Furthermore, they require an immediate visit to a physician to look for underlying causes.
Common Causes of Constipation
1. Lack of exercise – Because abdominal and intestinal muscles work together to move the bowels.
2. Medications – medications can cause constipation, known problematic medicines are Codeine, antidepressants, iron, zinc and calcium supplements, channel blockers, psychotropic drugs, and anticholinergics.
3. Certain diseases such as Crohn’s, IBS, IBD and more.
4. Lacking in fibre and high in processed foods, almost all carbohydrates and starches can also clog up your bowels.
Treatment for constipation
– Soluble fibre
– Magnesium (as magnesium citrate)
– Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
– Aloe Vera Extract
Nutritional laxatives such as magnesium, ascorbic acid, and pantothenic acid are becoming more popular with people who have constipation and are resistant to fibre based solutions.
In conclusion, we would also highly recommend a ‘poop test’ or stool analysis. Should you have any doubt in your mind as to what is happening in your bowels, these are non-invasive and can reveal a lot of hidden information. For managing ongoing bowel issues and digestive disorders it is always best to consult a functional medicine doctor.