“Constipation can make you realize that life is not easy at all.” -Rubal Bhatia
Constipation is when you find it difficult to have a poo or you find you’re going to the toilet less often than usual. It is defined as passing a hard stool; even if you go every day, if it is hard, you are constipated. Symptoms of constipation can also include going to the toilet less than 3 times a week and finding it just plain difficult to go to the toilet. Sometimes it can cause pain, chaffing of the delicate skin around the anus, even splits and cuts; so it can be very uncomfortable and damaging.
It can affect your mood, your appetite, your physical performance and every part of how you function. Holding onto waste material, which can become toxic as it ‘rots’ within, can be extremely bad for your whole system.
Constipation can sometimes be treated with simple changes in lifestyle habits like eating more fibre and being more active. The most common causes of constipation include bad lifestyle habits, not eating enough fruit and vegetables (fibre), not drinking enough water and being inactive. You can help to alleviate constipation just by including more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Prunes are widely used as a natural remedy for constipation as they contain high amounts of fibre which helps increase the amount of water in the stool, adding bulk, making it easier to poo.
Another way to alleviate occasional constipation would be to take laxatives. They can be used if lifestyle changes have not helped. They are freely available in pharmacies and supermarkets.
Laxatives come in three types: irritant, stimulant and osmotic.
Irritant laxatives stimulate the bowel to move by making it uncomfortable or irritated, increasing intestinal mobility and often causing abdominal cramp and should be avoided in cases of suspected intestinal obstruction. They should only be used infrequently as a last resort as they can disturb the health of the internal membranes and the bowel wall; too much irritation can lead to exhausted bowel muscles or even inflammation of the delicate internal tissues.
Stimulant laxatives like senna, once again stimulate the bowel nerves and muscles to move and this can cause griping pains and cramping as before. They should not be used regularly as the muscle of the bowel will become exhausted and fail to respond after a time. People who rely on regular laxatives will notice that they need to keep creeping up the dose to get a response – this is a sign that the body is getting exhausted because of them. They are only for occasional use when all other methods have failed to resolve the constipation.
Osmotic laxatives increase the amount of water in the large bowel by either drawing fluid from the body into the bowel and/or by retaining the fluid they were administered with. This means the waste material in the bowel gets soaked and rehydrated, making it softer. These types of laxative are safe to take long term. Examples include: OxyKlenz and MagO7. They are magnesium oxide and are not absorbed into the body; they just attract water to themselves, which really helps a congested bowel full of hard, dry waste material.
Overuse of laxatives can lead to a disturbance in the electrolyte balance in the body, and if taken to excess, can lead to diarrhoea, dehydration and deficiencies in minerals. Irritant or stimulant laxatives can also cause permanent damage to the digestive system resulting in impaired nerves and muscles in the colon; this can make it harder and harder to resolve as the system is damaged.
Stress can be a very important factor in causing constipation and this can tip over into depression linked with the toxicity in the bowel. Typically, if you suffer from constipation, it may be reassuring to know that the use of relaxation techniques and positioning may be helpful in reducing straining whilst on the toilet and may help to ease your struggle whilst on the toilet. See Squatty Potty (R)for a useful bathroom foot rest and rather amusing video.
Most of our happy hormone, Serotonin, is produced in the gut, so gut disturbances can interfere with our supplies of this necessary hormone. Many people have found that taking supplemental Tryptophan helps the body to make 5-HTP, which it then uses to make serotonin. 500-1000mg daily is a good starting dose. This can help lift the mood and also help the bowel to function smoothly, relieving constipation due to the increase in gut motility. Food sources of Tryptophan include turkey, pineapple, eggs, tofu, salmon, nuts and seeds and some cheeses (non-pasteurised, organic cheeses are best).
Constipation is not a normal state; it should always be possible to eliminate waste daily and easily. It is the first step to good housekeeping to take out the trash regularly – and your body is no different from a well-run house! If you continually have problems in the toilet area, please seek help from a natural health professional. You can always book a consultation with Taymount for expert help.
All products mentioned are available at the Taymount Clinic – see below:
|MagO7 is a gentle and fast acting oxygen cleanse that works overnight for most people. This unique combination gently softens unwanted build-up in the digestive tract while providing beneficial oxygen to the digestive system; also available in powder form.|
|Oxyklenz is a non-habit-forming gentle bowel re-hydrator using magnesium and oxygen|
|L-Tryptophan 500mg – precursor of serotonin – only used if the body needs it|