Constipation 101 - Everything you need to know, to go!

 
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Hello friends!! Today are going to talk about all things CONSTIPATION!!! That’s right poop. Or rather, lack thereof! We will answer the questions:

  • Why are you constipated?

  • Why is constipation bad?

  • How often should I be pooping?

  • What can I do about constipation?

So that you can take some action steps TODAY!

This is one of the #1 reasons my clients come to me and also something many are embarrassed to reach out and talk about. I’m here to normalize the conversation and talk about your poo! So let’s get to it!

Why are you constipated?

This is the million dollar question and how to treat the constipation highly depends on the answer! This is why when someone is chronically constipated I always encourage them to #TestDontGuess . Let’s get to the bottom of the CAUSE so that we can not only FIX it, but avoid having this problem in the future!

Causes of constipation can range from:

  • Lack of water

  • Lack of fiber

  • Too much fiber with not enough water

  • Food sensitivities

  • Gut damage/inflammation

  • Pathogens/bacteria/yeast overgrowths in the gut

  • Stress

  • Hormone fluctuations

  • Nutrient deficiencies/Malabsorption of nutrients (damaged gut)

  • Medications

  • Eating too much protein

  • Lead exposure

  • Mold exposure

  • Using too many binders

If this is a new issue, take a look at this list and see if you are able to identify anything here that may be the culprit. You can begin working on that right away, or find a practitioner (like me) that will assist you in getting the the bottom of it (pun intended) :)

Why is constipation bad?

Besides general discomfort when constipation becomes a chronic problem, constipation leads to many issues including:

  • Abdominal pain (pressure/stretching of the colon)

  • Reabsorption of toxins

  • Inflammation in the colon

  • Reabsorption and circulation of hormones (leading to hormone imbalance)

  • Extra toxic burden for the liver

  • May lead to weight gain (again toxic load and hormone imbalances)

When thinking about health your poo is one of the FIRST places to start because if you aren't pooping then we can't make progress in a lot of other areas.

For example - if you want to do a cleanse of any kind, nourishing different organs and pulling toxins out of your body, you must start with the colon or all those toxins will get built up, and just make you sicker!

If you want to work on your hormones, you better be pooping! Your liver breaks down toxins, chemicals, and used hormones and sends them off for excretion....if you don't excrete them, they get reabsorbed and can cause hormone imbalances .

If you are going through a gut protocol and targeting parasites, yeast, bacteria - all those fun things that cause bloating, fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, malnourishment and more.... you better be pooping!

Poo is about 60% dead bugs.... In addition to food, chemicals, and hormones, you are also excreting the exoskeletons of your microbiome....if you are killing more off intentionally to help your microbiome rebalance in favor of the good guys, you definitely want to be clearing them out - NOT holding them in!

What is normal poop?

Shockingly, many will tell you that if you poop 3x/week you aren’t constipated. In reality here is what you want to look for in healthy poo:

  • You poo every day a minimum of once. Preferably 2-3 times.

  • You poo within 20-45 minutes of waking up

  • Your poo doesn’t stink up the whole bathroom

  • You don’t see excessive amounts of undigested foods in your poo

  • It’s long not chunky (little balls, chunky poos, or hard and uncomfortable to push is leading to constipation)

  • Should be soft but held together

  • It’s not a weird color (green, black, yellow etc…) - medium brown color is normal.

  • You don’t require coffee to go

Do any of these shock you?? I bet you identified with at least one…maybe the coffee??? While a nice lovely perk in the morning, we shouldn’t be dependent on our cup of joe to make us go!

What can I do about constipation?

Again (sorry I’ll say it till it sticks!) I recommend working with a practitioner if this is a CHRONIC ongoing issue, or if it’s becoming chronic with children. If it’s just an occasional annoyance however, there are lots of at home remedies to try that are easy, inexpensive and that you can keep on hand once you find what works for you.

Prunes

Yup! good old prunes. Eat 3-6 dried prunes daily and see if that works for you! If you choose to do a glass of prune juice instead, make sure you drink it after a meal to avoid a big blood sugar spike!

Eliminate Gluten and Dairy

I know I know. I JUST saw your eyes roll. Here I am preaching against gluten and dairy again. I’m sorry, but they are the top two food sensitivities that I consistently see make THE biggest difference! Gluten in literally EVERYONE, and dairy in some (arguably most).

Just try it! What do you have to lose….except poop?

I really believe if you aren’t willing to eliminate these things to SEE if they help - you aren’t REALLY committed to your health. Just like alcohol, if you can’t get rid of it for 30 days….you have a problem my friend ;)

There are several reasons gluten is a problem and I made a video about it here if you want to dig deeper!

Increase fiber and water at the same time

Did you know that if you increase your fiber without increasing your water, that instead of making you poop fiber can also constipate you? POOP!

Make sure you are increasing both at the same time. In addition, don’t be drinking Metamucil to get your daily dose of fiber. Make sure you’re increasing things like broccoli, cabbage, root vegetables, chia seeds, flax seeds and beans.

Some recommend that you increase your fiber to a minimum of 50g a day. I recommend that you take a look at where you are starting from (maybe use myfitnesspal for a few days to get a baseline) and then intentionally add in the foods listed above. Start with a large side of broccoli at dinner for a few days for example and make up to half your plate in veggies at every single meal.

Castor oil packs or internal castor oil

Castor oil is a remedy that many in the holistic world swear by when it comes to constipation. Some use it as a regular castor oil pack and some take it internally. It does appear to be safe when ingested as long as it’s an organic, cold pressed version and dosed appropriately.

Castor oil pack:

  • Wool or flannel

  • Organic castor oil

  • Plastic wrap or towel

  • Heating pad

Fold the wool cloth into 4ths and soak one side in castor oil. Lay over the liver, cover in plastic wrap or a thin cloth, and then place heating pad on top to drive the old deeper into the skin. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour and repeat daily.

For more information on Castor Oil and dosages, click HERE.

Squatty Potty

Did you realize that in some cases it may simply be that you aren’t sitting the way God designed us to sit that may be causing your potty troubles? Squatty potty to the rescue! Simply add this little stepper in front of your potty and put your feet on it every time you need to poo. It helps open up your valves so to speak and let the flo go.

Coffee enemas

People get almost as freaked out by this as they do about going gluten free. But I’m telling you, everyone in my family has done this and it’s not as scary as you think. Coffee enemas are used to clear out the colon, stimulate the production of bile and glutathione - a major antioxidant.

To do a coffee enema boil 4 cups of purified water, add 3 TBS of coffee enema coffee (yes that’s a thing) and let it boil for 5 minutes. Strain the water so the coffee grounds are no longer there, and let it cool to between 98.6 and 101. (right around comfortable body temperature. Too hot or too cold and your body will reject it).

Follow the coffee enema package instructions to proceed. You can learn WAY more about why coffee enemas work HERE.

Things to know:

  • Start with less coffee and see how you respond

  • Start will less water ( or break your first one up into 3-4 small doses back to back) to see how you respond

  • Never ever hold it in if it’s uncomfortable or you have a big urge to poo

  • Always use lubrication of some sort and never use an enema with open sores or injuries near your butt.

  • If you are comfortable, the goal is to retain it for 10-12 minutes

  • Be smart about it.

I did a video all about coffee enemas!

 
 



Probiotics

Often, constipation may be due to an imbalance in your gut flora - the good bugs and the bad bugs….bad bugs can make you constipated. I would recommend taking a quality spore probiotic (Megaspore is my favorite) because spore based probiotics get all the way through your system just like food based probiotics. You’ll notice they do not need to be refrigerated and have less strain counts. They don’t need to have as many strains as other probiotics because many of those strains die in the stomach acid and don’t get through your system like spore based probiotics do.

You can purchase Megaspore by setting up an account with my online supplement dispensary here:

Supplements

There are a few supplements that may also help.

Magnesium: if you are constipated you may be in need of magnesium. You can get this through epsom salt baths, topical sprays ( I like EASE magnesium spray) or supplemental form. The best supplemental form of magnesium for constipation is magnesium citrate.

Vitamin C: can also make you go. Vitamin C diarrhea is the only side effect of high doses of vitamin C. As long as it doesn’t bother your stomach as you titrate up, you can take 1000mg every hour until you poop. If you start to feel uncomfortable just stop - but again, there are no know negative side effects other than diarrhea when you hit max capacity.

Dr. Christophers Lower Bowel Formula: is another supplement specifically designed with herbs to help you go. This is something you can take more frequently to avoid getting constipated in the first place.

Senokot: while this is an herbal laxative, it’s a little stronger than something you would want to take daily so I would use this for a limited time to clear out, but would always choose it over miralax or ex-lax!

You may find that a nightly combo of magnesium citrate and vitamin C does the trick! Find what works for you. Always be responsible when it comes to dosages and check with a doctor or practitioner when working with children or existing medical conditions!!

DIG DEEPER

If constipation is a chronic issue for you, don’t simply try to treat the symptom, figure out why it’s happening. I’ve worked with clients for years now with symptoms ranging from daily stomach pain, to chronic constipation, to rotating between constipation and diarrhea and the information we can get from functional labs is priceless!

Instead of guessing, we are able to clearly find healing opportunities in the body and work with nutrition changes, lifestyle modifications and targeted (not guessing) supplementation to address the problems, heal the gut, and get results.

One of my favorite client testimonies was an awesome lady who came to me at a time when she spent 1-2 hours in the bathroom

EVERY MORNING. Within a few weeks of working together, I checked in and she was down about 5 minutes every morning. That’s amazing!!!

Food, supplements, sleep…that’s all great. But if you have bugs causing the problem you’re not going to identify them, or effectively get rid of them, without test results and a target protocol!

Try all the fun tips above FIRST! And if that doesn’t help, let’s talk!

You can always schedule a 20 minute consult with me to see if working together is right for you :)

Want more content like this plus recipes, challenges, and a community of likeminded #YOUtrition seekers? Join my free FB community #YOUtrition - Nutrition that works for YOU!


To you and your healthy poo :)

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References:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/apt.12913

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4403030/

http://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO200503039787121.page

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.