Having regular bowel movements is absolutely vital for your health. Unfortunately, many people suffer from constipation and resort to the use of laxatives or drugs that may have side effects. Constipation is a very common problem and yet it can be remedied easily with some simply dietary and lifestyle changes.
The accepted definition of constipation is fewer than two or three bowel movements a week and yet ideally everyone should have at least one bowel movement a day, if not two or three. If you are having just one movement a day, or less, than I would recommend that you take some simple steps to relieve constipation safely.
Regularity is imperative because without it, toxins accumulate in the gut and are absorbed into the bloodstream. Without regularity, you increase your chances of haemorrhoids, will always feel full and in many cases feel bloated.
What causes constipation?
Nearly everyone will suffer from constipation at least once in their lifetime. There are many factors that are associated with this concern and include:
Poor diet – This is one the most common causes of constipation. Diets that rely on the use of processed foods and simple carbohydrates including excessive sugar are invariably linked to poor bowel movements since they lack fibre. Fibres help to move food through your intestines and by their ability to absorb water, they ensure that the stools you pass are not firm. Ideally, your bowel movements should be effortless, odourless and should not sink to the bottom of your toilet bowl.
Dehydration – Constipation can arise as a result of a dehydrated body. It is vital to drink fluids that hydrate the body otherwise your body will take the moisture from faecal matter resulting in strained bowel movement. Many people choose to ignore the urge to go which can cause result in harder stools as water is absorbed from the stools.
Lifestyle – the type of lifestyle you lead does show up on your body. Stress for example may be a causal factor for constipation since stress can deplete digestive enzyme production resulting in the inability to break down food which stagnates in the gut. People travelling in and out of different time zones can also have disturbed motility.
Drug usage – There are certain drugs that may cause constipation either by destroying the beneficial bacteria in the gut or by their direct action on the motility of the gut. Laxative abuse is a common problem since your body can become dependent on these with the result that you will require higher doses of laxatives to achieve bowel movement. Eventually, your intestines simply fail to work properly.
Hypothyroidism – The thyroid gland fuels every single cell of the body including the gut cells in our intestines. Insufficient thyroid hormone production is a common cause of constipation.
Hormones – All hormones communicate with each other using hormones as chemical messengers. During menstruation, certain hormones relax the smooth muscle of the intestines resulting in slower movement of the food and waste matter through the gut.
Lack of digestive enzymes – As we age, our stomach produces less digestive enzymes. These are the enzymes that break down food more efficiently helping to prevent its stagnation in the gut which results in slower movement of food.
Constipation is often an indicator of a disease and illness and thus I strongly urge people not to rely on laxatives and address any underlying issues be it a lack of fibre, lifestyle or other causes.
Natural remedies for constipation
If regularity is a problem, then I would recommend that you stay away from laxatives except for very short periods of time. Laxatives, including senna and cassia which are often marketed as natural, can decrease the colon’s ability to contract. In my opinion, it is far better to increase fibre from food and to use a fibre supplement such as Complete Fibre Cleanse.
Fibre is the roughage found in cereals, fruits and vegetables and is basically the cell structure of plants and vegetables that give shape and rigidity. When we eat vegetables and fruits, we get numerous benefits from the nutrients that are present in these but we also ingest fibre with its positive effects on the digestive tract. It is the fibre in our diet that is important for gastrointestinal movement helping to prevent constipation as well as having numerous other positive benefits.
Complete Fiber Cleanse contains a comprehensive blend of both soluble and insoluble fibres in a probiotic base which work to cleanse the gut of waste matter efficiently. Insoluble fibres bind with water and increase the volume of waste matter resulting in more frequent and softer bowel movements with less risk of constipation. Soluble fibres help to soothe the irritated linings of the intestines easing the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases such as IBS which are often accompanied by constipation. Soluble fibres are also of great benefit for the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels and assist in the elimination of toxins from the gut.
Fibre is not the solution for everyone suffering from constipation. Fibre cannot improve every case of constipation. It is genuinely a mild laxative and for chronic cases of constipation, it may not be sufficient. Some people suffer from abdominal bloating when taking fibre and my advice for these people is to actually reduce or stop taking fibre and to incorporate Effervescent Vitamin C Magnesium Crystals.
Both vitamin C and magnesium are natural laxatives but at the same time they provide nutrition to the body. Magnesium is a key mineral for energy production within cells and helps provide the energy to the cells lining the intestines so they can work rhythmically in order to encourage evacuation. The good thing about this powder is you can adjust the dose to your needs and because it is not a fibre, it does not add any faecal bulk to what exists already in the intestines.
I would also recommend the use of a very specific bitter called Gentian Angelica Bitters by Eclectic Herbals. One of the key features of this remedy is its bitter action. A bitter stimulates saliva flow, the first part of digestion, as well as other digestive enzymes to ensure food is broken down completely and additionally bile production is greatly enhanced. Inadequate bile production frequently causes constipation by allowing undigested fats to react with calcium and/or iron forming compounds that are hard to move through the colon. Laxatives, the use of mineral oils and herbs such as aloe vera usually rectify the problem temporarily, but permanent correction often lies in increasing bile production.
I believe that the problem of constipation can be addressed safely with the use of these two remedies without harming the digestive system, and without the use of harsh laxatives.