If you’re often sitting on the loo struggling to pass a bowel, or passing a bowel with pain then your bathroom may have become a place of fear and anxiety.
The idea of being in agony while trying to pass a bowel can cause you to avoid going altogether, consequently increasing the irregularity
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Knowing the cause of your constipation is the first step in reducing it and working towards healthier bowel habits.
Constipation is defined by difficulty in emptying bowels, passing bowels less than 3 times a week, and or passing hard pebbles like stools.
The causes of constipation vary from an individual to another, but the most common causes are a diet low in fibre, dehydration, hormonal imbalance, gut dysbiosis, medication side effects or stress.
When you are constipated toxins are being kept in the body, putting an extra load on the liver and causing it to slow down. This of course impacts the liver detoxification pathways and its other functions.
Constipation is often associated with fatigue, sluggishness, clogged pores, strong sweat often signs that the body is not detoxifying well.
The most important things to do when you’re experiencing constipation are to make sure
- you’re drinking 2l of water a day
- you’re eating an abundance of legumes, vegetables, and fiber-rich foods. Your aim is a MINIMUM of 30g a day
- you’re relaxed and mindful while eating your meals
- you keep your stress levels as low as possible
- you sit on the loo every day at the same time (even if nothing happens the first few times). It’s more about training your mind and body to relax at that time,
Here are 5 Naturals tips to add to your routine to facilitate the process.
Most of us are deficient in this important mineral that has over 300 functions in the body. Magnesium transports nutrients, relaxes the nervous system, improves gut motility, participates in energy production and balances blood sugar amongst many other functions.
Magnesium is best in its most absorbable form. Magnesium Citrate has been researched and can be beneficial for constipation.
If you’re taking supplements or are under medication please speak to a health practitioner before supplementing Magnesium as it can interact with other medications.
2. Daily Probiotic
Daily probiotics may help you regulate your bowel movement and increase bulk as they’re bringing more bacteria into your gut.
When it comes to probiotics, you want to make sure you’re using the right bacteria and strains but also the right dosage. This is very important because there are tons of probiotics available to us, but choosing the one that targets your constipation will get you faster results.
Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus have been studied for constipation. Speak to a health practitioner to help you choose the right strains of Bifido and Lactobacilli.
3. Flaxseeds + Chia seeds
These are my personal go-to for constipation. They are easy to add to your daily diet and can really shift things if you are consistent
Besides increasing your fiber load and helping the bowel move, both flax and chia seeds rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids will help decrease inflammation in your body.
Add a couple teaspoon of chia seeds to 2l of water and drink throughout the day.
With the flaxseeds, you can add 2tbsp to your morning porridge, smoothie, or eat it with fruits.
Add 2tbsp to 4tbsp of water, wait for it to form a slimy consistency and eat as or add some fruits
4. Support the Vagus nerve
The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body, it connects the brain to different parts/organs of our body including the gut. It is an important part of what we called the parasympathetic nervous system.
Our nervous system navigates between two states
- The sympathetic system, also called “fight and flight” mode. In this system we are tense, adrenaline is high. This system is automatically activated to protect us when our mind senses danger. In this state, many functions including the digestive system slow down dramatically to allow us to run away from danger.
- The parasympathetic system, also called “rest and digest” mode. This is the system we want to be in most of the time. We feel safe, we are relaxed, and our body functions are optimal
Vagal tone is the Vagus nerve activity therefore by increasing vagal tone we are able to activate the parasympathetic nervous system faster and optimise our digestive functions.
But the reality is that due to our modern lifestyle many of us stay in the Sympathetic nervous system for long period of times, eventually finding it harder to switch back to “rest and digest’
How can you support your vagus nerve?
Regular exercise, deep slow breathing, restorative yoga, acupuncture, reflexology, meditation, cold showers, singing are all activities that will increase your vagal tone, activate your parasympathetic system and ultimately support your digestive function.
5. Expressing and releasing your emotions
I have personally found that when I’m holding emotions in, not letting go of certain things, the energy in my body becomes stagnant and often physically that will manifest into constipation.
This will be of course different for many, but this is something I’ve noticed in myself and my clients. So journaling, therapy, emotional support, letting go of what no longer serves you, can all be ways to eliminate stagnant negative energy and support a regular bowel movement
In my Reconnect and Thrive 1-2-1 coaching program, I’ve noticed that many of my ladies that experience recurrent constipation often find themselves challenged in other parts of their lives and struggle to let go.
As always I believe our approach to our health should be holistic.
Mind and body are connected so when you are feeling stuck in both senses of the term, always address mind and body simultaneously.
Ultimately, the one most important thing you need to understand is why you are having constipation.
Take time to connect with your body, investigate in order to understand and treat the constipation at the root cause.
If your symptoms are recurrent, speak to a holistic health practitioner for support.
As a Registered Nutritionist I will be able to run some functional tests to understand the root cause of your recurrent constipation.
My experience is that when things aren’t changing after addressing diet, lifestyle, and emotional health often there is gut dysbiosis, hormonal imbalance, or sometimes both.
Reach out for a free consultation to discuss how I can support you to improve your gut symptoms, increase your overall energy and feel lighter.