Constipation Cures: What to Do When You Can’t Poo
By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Constipation is a leading health concern in the western world. It’s the most common gastrointestinal (GI) complaint, affecting over 60 million people in the United States and costing over 235 million per year in treatments. If you’re having trouble on the toilet, here’s everything you need to know about how to get your system moving easily.
How to Cure Constipation Forever:
Signs that you may be constipated:
- The passing of hard, dry bowel movements
- Motions may be infrequent (less than every day/every second day)
- Stool may be difficult to pass, which may cause straining
- The sensation that you have more to go and you don’t feel empty but nothing is happening
Other symptoms that may occur include bloating, abdominal discomfort and pain, anal fissures and hemorrhoids.
The most common causes of constipation include:
- Lack of fiber
- A change in routine
- Lack of exercise
- Repeatedly ignoring the urge to go
Other less obvious constipation causes: low thyroid function, magnesium deficiency, digestive infections, poor healthy gut microbiota, stress, pregnancy, some medications such a painkillers, IBS, food intolerances and other more serious concerns such as tumors.
Ideally you should have a bowel motion daily to ensure a healthy happy colon and digestive system, regular motions have also shown to support a healthy happy mood!
Simple Solutions for Constipation:
- Flaxseeds and Chia Seeds
Take 1-2 Tbsp. daily of ground flaxseeds and/or chia seeds. Special note: when increasing fiber it is also important to increase your fluid intake otherwise any type of fiber will have the opposite effect. Rule of thumb – ½-1 glass of extra water per Tbsp. of fiber. You can also try other fiber rich sources such as slippery elm and psyllium husks.
- High Fiber-Rich Foods
Consume more prunes, figs, apples, pears, raspberries, winter squash, sweet potato, peas, broccoli, beans, whole grains, and other healthy plant foods. It is recommended to consume approximately 25-30g of fiber every day.
- Magniesum-Rich Foods
Eat more dark green leafy such as chard, kale, spinach, beet greens and more. Here is more on the miracle mineral – Magnesium.
- Probiotics and Fermented Foods
Taking a probiotic that is a broad spectrum high strength, can work wonders and eating fermented foods (here is a list of fermented foods) regularly can get things moving along. The good bacteria assists in the faeces formation and clearing the stool from the colon.
- Drink 8 Glasses of Water Daily
This avoids the stool from becoming dry. The stool is composed of more than 75% water and the rest is waste. If you are dehydrated the stool becomes dry and it is harder to pass. This can also include herbal tea. Here’s more on the importance of water.
- Juices Containing Beets
Don’t be shocked to see red in the toilet bowl after drinking a red beet juice! This can be surprising and can often scare people when they see red, but this is simply the beet going all the way through your system.
- Go When Nature Calls
Holding on will actually aggravate and cause constipation. The stool becomes drier and harder to pass with time. When you gotta go you gotta go!
Movement increases bowel motility which assists in the peristalsis movement in the bowel and helps move the stool through the digestive tract.
- Less Caffeine
Caffeine can cause bowel dehydration and increase the risk of constipation. Avoid the over consumption of caffeine containing beverages.
- Try an Elimination Diet
If all the normal things are not helping you then doing an elimination diet may help solve the issue. Avoiding gluten and dairy can be the most obvious first step, these 2 are commonly problematic for digestive problems. Avoid these for 2 weeks and see if there is any change, then re-introduce them and observe. Keeping a diet/bowel diary can help.
- Manage Stress
Relaaaaaax. Anxiety causes less blood and energy to go to the digestive system thus slowing things down. Yoga, mediating and/or fun hobbies can help you relax to a calm state. Having an abdominal massage with oil going in a clockwise direction looking down can also assist.
- Lift Your Legs
Yes sounds funny, but sitting in a squatting position assists in opening up the bowel, so having a foot stool near the toilet can assist enough to properly empty the bowel for some people.
It is important to note that the long term use of laxatives can cause a permanent reliance on laxatives so it is best to only use if necessary on a very short term basis.
Constipation can occur during a Reboot so here are some extra tips for anyone who may be suffering with constipation during their reboot.
If these simple solutions do not help it may be time to consider a check-up to ensure there is no other cause such as a thyroid disorder.