Constipation is a lack of regular bowel movement or bowel movements that require straining and does not empty completely. Many people claim they are regular and their definition is once every 2 days or 3 days. Being regular really means one to two bowel movements a day. There is a problem if we eat 3 times a day, but we eliminate only once every 2-3 days.
Bowel emptying is a very important part of healthy living, detoxification and weight loss. Our liver processes toxins and dumps them into the bowels for elimination. In cases of delayed bowel emptying, the toxins can reabsorb creating increased toxic burden resulting in low energy levels, nausea, headaches, aches and pains or a crampy uncomfortable abdomen.
If you have constipation, the first thing you need to investigate is your diet. Are you having enough fresh vegetables, some fruits, seeds and nuts? Fibre is required to bind and bulk. Are you drinking enough water? A normal healthy person requires 30mls of fluid (excluding coffee and alcohol) per kg body weight.
Are you on any medication where the side effect includes constipation? If so, it is time to review your medication.
Do you have a healthy gut flora? Have you been on antibiotics more than twice in the last 2 years? Are you on the oral contraceptive pill? If your gut microbiome is out of balance you could be constipated.
Are you stressed? Our ancestors were hunter gatherers and stress meant that they had to run from the saber tooth tiger. When trying to safe our lives in an emergency, our bodies do not get us to waste time visiting the lavatory. That said, our modern day stress is different but the impact on the nervous system and signalling remains the same. If you are stressed, get onto natural stress management protocols.
Do you have a habit of holding it in each time you an urge to defaecate that your body is losing its ability to move the bowels regularly. If so, make sure you listen to your body’s signalling and go when you feel the urge. To stimulate the large bowels, squatting for a period of time to induce the urge is a great strategy. We used to have squat toilets until sitting toilets were invented. We were not meant to be sitting and defacating at the same time!
Don’t underestimate the benefits of pooping regularly.