Live wholesome Q&A:
Q: I am horrified to ask this but at least its anonymous! I am very constipated. No medication is helping. What can I do?
A: Oh poop! Don’t worry. Everyone turns all sorts of colours when I ask them ‘poop’ questions. It is such an important indicator of your body’s health and it is vital information to someone in my line of work!
Lets get to the bottom of this..(see what I did there?)
Healthy elimination (ie pooping) should happen 2-3x per day! yip! PER DAY! This is a chart to show you ‘ideal’ poop. There is such a thing (type 3 and 4).
Constipation is mostly dietary and lifestyle related (food and stress basically)! Unless you have a known medical issue such as a blockage, crohn’s disease or are on pretty strong medication that has a side effect related to constipation, we can fix this with what you eat and drink! Here are a few tricks to try to get that system working again:
1) WATER! I always use my favourite analogy of person going down a water slide, while there is water moving down the slide you slide freely and everything is super fun! When the water stops, you get stuck on the slide with no way down, not so much fun anymore! You have a nice visual now, don’t you? Same with your bowels! Water is essential! Bear in mind that your body needs a full litre of pure water just to function, maintain organs and breathing etc. Now add sweating and heat, exercise etc and that number goes up drastically! Aim for between 2-2.5 litres a day of pure clear water! (if you have kidney related issues then different amounts apply to you). Sip the water in no more than 100ml increments throughout the day. This way you don’t flush minerals and tax your kidneys!
2) FIBRE! You know this, I know this, everyone does! But how much are you really getting in? Raw fruit and veg and insoluble fibres are essential! Find oatbran at your local healthstore or grocery store. it is insoluble so moves through your gut like a broom. The same goes for raw grated carrot, a natural broom! Prunes are a great way to stimulate movement and relieve constipation. Soak 2-3 prunes overnight in rooibos tea. Eat them the next morning! Do this daily. Then add a mix of grated raw carrot, raw beetroot and raw apple and eat this mix over lunchtime and at dinner if you are severely blocked up! Add pulses to your food like lentils. Brown rice is great! Psyllium husks from your healthstore or clicks is also a great fibre to add in to cereal or salads etc. Give these natural foods time to work!
3) You are lacking MAGNESIUM! This helps the muscles relax. Naturally there are muscles in your gut! They move the fecal matter along. When the muscle relax, the obstruction can move along! It also helps the stool to soften, by drawing water into it! A simple epsomsalts bath will help, if you need a more serious solution then ask your pharmacist or GP for magnesium citrate. It can be found in most health stores aswell!
4) Are you taking alot of painkillers? Or an iron supplement? These are known causes of constipation! I’m not saying stop taking them, just be mindful of the fact that you need to do more to counter their effects.
5) Start MOVING! Exercise is a known gut stimulant! Just walking already sets things off! It moves the food along faster through the large intestine! move move move! Water aerobics, walking, light jogging, swimming, etc. Just mosey!
6) FOOD ALLERGY! You may be suffering from a food allergy or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) in which case you need to address the types of foods you eliminate! Possible triggers can be wheat and diary!
7) DRINK WARM TEA! a cup of peppermint, ginger, chamomile, green tea or fennel tea will help get things moving. Senna is also used for constipation but has often caused many to get crampy!
8) Eat COCONUT OIL! Coconut oil fixes so many things, one of them is constipation! It softens the stool! Start off with 1/2 a tsp morning and night, if this doesn’t work increase to a full tsp! Dont go overboard with more than 2tbsp a day, it may cause runny tummy! Opposite problem, eek! Hide it in your breakfast, or drink it in a smoothie!
9) Put your feet up on a little stool or foot rest while you sit on the loo! This changes the angle of the bowel, which often helps the movement of the obstruction!
10) Invest in a digestive enzyme that is plant based! Eat this with each meal. You will be amazed at the result. It helps breakdown the carbs, fats and proteins so it assists the digestive process.
11) You need probiotics! Years of toxins via medication, foods, chemicals, hygiene products, pollution etc kills off bacteria in the gut. Bacteria is essential! Acidophilus is my favourite and a high quality absorption is essential so don’t buy cheap brands, you will be getting what you paid for! I like SOLGAR or SOLAL.
12) Consider doing a cleanse. Toxic build up is no joke. It can filter through the gut into your body and literally poison your entire system! A proper, herbal cleanse, is recommended every 6 months. Especially if you are constipated, drink alcohol frequently, smoke, take medication, eat sugar and high protein diets. You are like a dustbin that never gets emptied, everything goes in and rots slowly and nothing goes out!
If you are financially strapped and need a serious solution fast, then drinking epsom salts (1tsp in half glass warm water) will fix it temporarily but you won’t be getting to the root of the problem, so be mindful of the above mentioned tactics as well! Also, stay at home! You will need to be in running distance of the bathroom! I did say serious solution fast. Roughly 4hours.
All that said, never ever run to quick fixes when you haven’t addressed possible causes of constipation. You will only make your gut lazy and dependent on those fixes! Figure out where you have been going wrong and fix the cause of the problem don’t just mask the symptoms!
If you need more info, feel free to inbox me.