LETS TALK CONSTIPATION!
I think it is first important we define it. I believe constipation is anything outside of 1 healthy large, formed bowel movement per day. Even if your normal is 1 – 3 times per week – this is not normal, and you should work to get to the optimal level. Obtaining healthy digestion is KEY and foundational to every other aspect of health – including your mental wellness.
Women are 4 times more likely to get constipated than men – just add that one to the list! It makes us irritable, frustrated, bloated, anxious, lethargic and the list goes on.
There are many causes of constipation, the ones I want to highlight to you are the most common ones that I see in my practice:
The gut-brain connection is extremely intimate! When we are stressed our brain signals the release of cortisol and high amounts of cortisol greatly impacts our digestive system. It can hold everything up or shut it down completely. Anxiety also messes with our system.
Not eating enough fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and seeds will increase our chances of being constipated. Also, certain foods and drinks such as excessive alcohol, coffee, gluten, refined grains, sugar, red meat, may cause or worsen any symptoms of constipation.
Lack of Exercise
The colon responds to activity. Good muscle tone, in general, is important for regular bowel movements. The abdominal wall muscles and the diaphragm all play a crucial role in the process of defecation.
Many things cause us to be dehydrated -other than not drinking enough water. This includes travel, exercise, hot climates, and caffeine, to name a few. It is important to always increase our water intake during these times! Water also helps break down the stool and makes it softer so we can pass it easier.
Constipation is a side effect of many prescription and over-the-counter drugs. These include antacids that contain aluminum, antispasmodics, antidepressants, sedatives, iron supplements, diuretics, and calcium-channel blockers.
5 EASY TO IMPLEMENT TIPS
TO RELIEVE CONSTIPATION & IMPROVE DIGESTION
1) HYDRATE at least ½ your body weight in ounces per day people!
2) INCREASE EXERCISE a minimum of 30 minutes per day, can be anywhere between walking and high-intensity exercise
3) INCREASE FIBER INTAKE 25-35 g/day with fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Beets, chia seeds and celery are game-changers!
4) REDUCE STRESS work on your inner world – self-compassion and managing emotions are KEY!
5) MINDFUL EATING take AT LEAST 20 minutes to eat mindfully. This means no distractions and a calm environment. Eating stressed out can be a HUGE impact on your digestion!
*OTHER SUGGESTIONS: probiotics, colonics, castor oil packs, while pooping – put a stool under your feet and raise your hands!
Written By: Melissa Cosentino, B.Comm, CNP
Concerned About Constipation? (2013, December 1) Retrieved From https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/concerned-about-constipation
Constipation (2019, December 6) Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constipation
Constipation Relief Guide (2019, May 9) Retrieved Frm https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/constipation-relief-tips#2
Common Causes of Constipation. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/common-causes-of-constipation