It’s brown, smelly and hopefully soft. It’s uncomfortable, messy and done in private. I’m talking about the rather awkward subject of poop, and, more specifically, constipation. Though we may not like to talk about it, constipation is an issue thatmost people have experienced that has many simple remedies when you know the facts.
What makes you constipated?
Constipation occurs when bowel movements are less frequent or difficult. The normal length of time between bowel movements varies widely from person to person—for some, 3 times a day may be normal; for others, two times a week is regular. But, according to WebMD, going longer than 3 days without a bowel movement is too long, as stool becomes harder and more difficult to pass.
According to WebMD, if you have two or more of the following for at least three months, you are constipated:
1) Straining during bowel movement more than 25% of the time
2) Hard stools more than 25% of the time
3) Incomplete evacuation more than 25% of the time
4) Two or fewer bowel movements in a week.
There’s a wide array of culprits that could be causing you to be constipated. These range from diet issues, such as inadequate water and fiber intake or eating too much dairy, to a disruption in routine, such as traveling, emotional issues like stress and depression. Also, beware laxatives: though they may solve the immediate issue of constipation, using them too frequently over time can weaken the bowel muscles and actually cause future constipation.
Foods causing constipation might include most processed foods, dairy, wheat and soy. Consult with a licensed healthcare professional to determine any underlying food intolerance.
What Does Dr. Oz recommend for chronic constipation?
The well-known Dr. Oz has much advice on the issue. He says some remedies for blocked bowels include pistachios, water & fiber, rhubarb and exercise. His favorite home remedy is magnesium powder in orange juice. The calcium alone constipates you, and the magnesium combats these effects, acting like a laxative. Magnesium for constipation relief might indicate a deficiency in this critical nutrient. Include foods rich in magnesium, like: black beans, broccoli, halibut, raw nuts and seeds.
He also states that adding fibrous foods to your diet, like raspberries (the fruit highest in fiber!), papaya and lentils, will ease constipation. My favorite fiber supplement is Garden of Life’s Super Seed, which is a natural whole food blend of seeds, sprouted grains and legumes. Super Seed does NOT include psyllium husk, which provides no nutritional value.
Research suggests that coffee and/or caffeine–as well as alcoholic beverages–could be the culprit to constipation. My recommendation includes going on a modified cleanse. More information about detoxification and cleansing can be found here.
I also recommend taking probiotics for constipation relief. One of my favorite probiotics manufacturer’s is Natren. You can find their products here.
Though constipation is a common condition that most often works itself out, you should call your doctor if you have blood in your stool, you have severe pain with bowel movements or if your constipation has lasted more than two weeks. Hopefully, with the help of this article, you’ll easily be able to identify your next episode of constipation and quickly know how to alleviate yourself.
Yours in Health,
Stella Metsovas B.S., CCN