Constipation is the when you feel full in your bowels and need to use the restroom, but cannot. This can happen for many days in a row, causing bloating, a distended belly, discomfort, and the sensation of having to force your bowels to work to rid the body of its wastes.
- Don’t eat well
- Are stressed
- Take pharmaceutical medications frequently
- Don’t exercise
- Tend to be dehydrated
The problem of constipation persists.
How often should you poop?
Pooping should happen once a day, minimally, when your bowels are healthy. If you aren’t pooping this frequently, it is usually an indication that your digestive system is not running at its best.
The most efficient natural treatment for constipation is castor oil – 1 to 2 teaspoons every night. In the olden times, many rich families had a custom for everyone to have 1-2 teaspoons of castor oil, at least once a week. Even today, it is a very well kept secret as it has many additional benefits in the long term.
What Causes Constipation?
There are numerous causes for constipation. They include:
A sedentary lifestyle (not getting enough exercise).
The bowels are stimulated when we move. Movement alone can help inspire peristalsis (special undulatory movement that allows our excrement to move through nine meters, or over 30 feet of GI tract). Just taking a 20-minute walk can help move food and metabolic toxins through the intestines so that we can go the bathroom with ease.
Eating a bunch of food all at once
This can put a huge strain on the digestive system. Those there are 30 feet of digestive tract can cause undigested food to sit inside the body, instead, putrefying and rotting instead of being excreted. This causes a host of viruses and bad bacteria to attack the intestinal walls, as this undigested food becomes a breeding ground for disease. When we eat too much, it is much more likely that each meal wont’ be digested fully, and remnants of previous meals will sit within the intestinal walls causing mayhem.
When we “forget to eat” all day and then suddenly fill our bellies until they are bursting this is also very bad for digestion. You’ll notice that when experts suggest fasting to reset the digestive tract, they also give very specific advice about what to start eating again. That’s because when we fast the body slows down the digestive process because it thinks it is in starvation mode. By slowing digestion, the body can reserve energy for the body’s muscles, the brain, and other important functions. When you eat at irregular intervals, and then dump a huge amount of food in the system, it isn’t going to be handled as well as when you eat consistently, and the body’s digestive system is working like clock-work.
Not eating the right foods.
Many foods contribute to poor digestion and constipation. Dairy, meat, gluten, convenience foods like TV dinners (due to high levels of MSG and other chemicals added for “flavor” and to keep the food fresh), fried foods, alcohol, highly processed foods, and sugar all lead to sluggish bowels.
Stress and anxiety are huge contributors to constipation.
Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response). This causes certain functions in the body to “freeze up” – including the movement of the bowels (peristalsis. Stress also causes us to reach for unhealthy foods, decrease the amount of exercise we get, and drink less water, all of which contribute to constipation. Remedies for stress include taking a long walk, deep breathing, meditation, taking a “time-out”, exercising and massage therapy.
The body needs water to eliminate wastes.
Simply not drinking enough pure water is the cause of about 70 percent of chronic constipation cases. Water keeps the digestive tract smooth and flexible so that it can move to help usher wastes out of the body. Without it, food gets stuck.
The use of certain medications.
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications can also cause constipation.
Despite the pervasiveness of this problem there are many myths about constipation:
- Myth 1: It’s inevitable as you age. This is untrue. If the body is cared for, the bowels are not overrun with toxins, and someone stays active, they can expect to avoid constipation even in old age.
- Myth 2: Constipation is caused by too little fiber. The lack of fiber in your diet alone won’t cause constipation. As you read further you’ll discover there are many things which cause your bowels to slow down and stop processing waste as they should.
- Myth 3 – Eating yogurt will cure constipation. Though yogurt contains healthy probiotics dairy can be very hard for many people to digest. If you eat yogurt when you are chronically constipated, it can make the condition worse. A better source of probiotics are in fresh fruits and vegetables which contain low levels of beneficial probiotics, naturally.
Constipation Relief Options:
Allopathic Cures for Constipation
Allopathic medicine offers the following “cures” for constipation, often forgetting the simplest changes that need to be adhered to in order to induce long-term healing from slow bowels:
- Prescription medications (including opiod-based drugs)
- Bulking agents such as Benefiber, Citrucel, Equilactin, Fibercon, Fiber-Lax, and Metamucil. While it is good to increase fiber in your diet, simply adding bulk to slow-moving bowels isn’t the greatest way to stop constipation.
These medicines can cause some unwanted side effects such as:
- Drug addiction (in the case of opiod-based pharmaceuticals)
- Chronic constipation due to chemicals which try to loosen stool (yes, the very thing you are trying to remedy)
- Irritation of the stomach and bowels
- High fever
- Dependency and decreased bowel health
Natural Cures for Constipation
There are several natural cures that can temporarily aid the symptoms of constipation, and some that can even benefit the body from returning to a constipated state. For the most effective, long-term cure, the root cause of constipation must be addressed.
Some naturally laxative foods include:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of castor oil – stimulates large and small intestines
- Raisins due to dietary fiber and tartaric acid which is a laxative
- Coconut water
- Leafy green vegetables
- Foods high in fiber such as apples, pears, prunes, dates, etc.
- Aloe Vera juice
- Chamomile, mint or ginger tea
- Triphala (herb which includes three Ayurvedic remedies)
Other natural remedies include lowering stress, getting more sleep, exercising more, and spending more time in nature.
Traditional Chinese Medicine for Constipation
There are several protocols for treating constipation with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The cause of constipation from a TCM perspective is:
- Overeating, causing stagnation of the digestive system,
- Excessive heat – emotionally related,
- Large intestine and liver qi blockages,
- Qi deficiency in general, and
- Yin deficiency caused by lac of fluids (dehydration).
Most often specific acupuncture or acupressure points will be stimulated so that qi deficiencies or imbalances will correct themselves. Herbal remedies to help aid digestion and support the liver and GI tract will also be prescribed.
Yoga for Constipation
Yoga may be the last thing you feel like doing when you can’t go poop, but there are many poses designed to help stimulate the digestive process.
- Meditation to help reduce the fight or flight response in your body caused by stress, but which also causes your digestion to freeze up.
- Postures like Seated Spinal Twist, Standing Forward Fold, and Plow pose which help to stimulate the internal organs, improve your sleep, and inspire peristalsis of the intestines.
- Breathing exercises like the “Breath of Fire” which creates more “agni” a Sanskrit term meaning “fire,” meant to support the digestive process.
When practiced together consistently, yoga can not only treat the symptoms of constipation but also reduce stress, which thereby prevents it from being as common.
If constipation is acute – yoga may take some time before it begins to change the way your digestive processes function.
Herbal Medicines for Constipation
Grocare recommends three medicines for slow bowels, constipation, and most other bowel disorders – Hernica, Xembran and Acidim. These are all 100 % natural, FDA approved medicines that work along with healthy lifestyle choices (like eating better, getting more sleep, reducing stress, etc.)
HERNICA is an herbal product that helps to fight Protozoal & other infections in the digestive tract. It supports the natural microflora, or healthy bacteria, in the intestine which ensures good digestion.
HERNICA also strengthens the stomach and intestines and builds immunity to combat sub-clinical infections which occur when we’ve got putrefying food stuck in our GI tract.
XEMBRAN is an herbal bacteriostatic and bactericidal. Xembran also works along with the body’s immune system to eliminate the harmful bacteria that collect sin our guts from poor eating, sleeping, stress, and irregular meal times – without any side effects.
ACIDIM helps to relieve the gastric symptoms of bloating, flatulence and indigestion. Together, both ACIDIM and STOMAID help to treat constipation at the root level.