Is Constipation Blocking Your Happiness?
Is your Gastrointestinal Tract Comprised?
Scatology is the study of fecal matter. The amount of information that can be determined from a person’s fecal matter is staggering. A simple stool test can look occult blood which can indicate bleeding in the intestines from an ulcer or cancer. Advanced testing of stool can determine a person’s ability to digest food, dysbiosis, dietary intake and overall health. The problem for many is not testing their stool but getting the stool our of them.
Constipation is rarely talked about but is one of the top complaints I hear from my patients. Chronic constipation is a key sign that your gastrointestinal tract is compromised and is vulnerable to localized symptoms and systemic health issues including; allergies, inflammation, fatigue, weight gain and infections. I am going to start this article by sharing some key points you always wanted to know but would never ask about normal bowel movements (BM):
- 1-2 is the # of bowel movements a person should have daily
- BM should be quick, easy and painless
- BM should be of the consistency of Play Doh
- BM should be long, not broken into pieces
- If it smells foul to you, there is probably an issue of dysbiosis
- BM should sink
There are several lifestyle reasons for constipation and their correction is the start to having happy and health the bowel movements.
- Dehydration – most Americans do not drink enough plain water. Caffeine and sugary drinks dehydrate the body and can cause constipation. You should drink ( in ounces) half your body weight (in pounds). Ex. A 150 Lbs person should drink 75 ounces of water / daily
- Lack of fiber – fiber is important for two reasons. First, fiber bulks up your BM and gives the intestinal wall something to push and squeeze down the entire bowel. Second, fiber acts as food for healthy bacteria, this is known as a prebiotic You should have minimum of 30 grams of fiber a day. Fiber is listed under carbohydrates on all food packages. A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are the best sources of fiber.
- Stress – The body needs to be relaxed to properly digest, form BM and release a BM. Relaxing is a key step to relieving constipation; yoga, exercise, and meditation are all useful.
- Food allergies – if you feel bloated or worse after eating certain foods that is a good indication that food should be avoided
- Caffeine – while most people while have a bowel movement after ingestion caffeine, many will build up a tolerance and will require more and more caffeine. Avoiding caffeine is key to restoring your normal function.
The greatest improvement in the quality of a person’s bowel movements can be made by changes to their lifestyle, but for some professional help is needed.
Patients with chronic constipation often cannot get themselves moving no matter how diligent they are to lifestyle. Some major reasons for this can be a loss of nerve innervation to the bowels do to an injury or nerve impingement; this condition may require traditional chiropractic care to restore normal nerve function. Ileocecal Valve Syndrome refers to a malfunctioning sphincter muscle that links the large and small intestines. The malfunctioning Ileocecal valve can become stuck open which allows fecal matter to move both up and down the GI tract or become stuck closed which will stop fecal matter from moving down the GI tract. Ileocecal Valve Syndrome in either causes multiple symptoms and requires a special Applied Kinesiology technique to repair. Difficult cases also tend to respond massage and Chinese meridian work.
There are several nutritional supplements that can help restore normal bowel function without causing secondary problems or addictions. These are not substitutes for a healthier diet and lifestyle but they will help initiating and promoting healthier bowel movements.
1.Prebiotics give the good bacteria in your diet the nutrients they need to grow
2.Probiotics are important because they keep bad bacteria in check and help breakdown food
3.Herbal products include Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL), Aloe Vera, Marshmallow plant, Okra, Chamomile, Slippery Elm and Cat’s Claw
4.Nutritional supplements include L-Glutamine, Quercetin, MSM and Zinc
My favorite product for constipation is Designs for Health GI-Revive because in combines several of the above items to promote healing and movement in the gut.
A good bowl movement is a healthy and great way to start your day. Make the lifestyle changes today for faster, smoother and more frequent movements tomorrow.