Are your inner pipes completely backed up? Do you rarely have a bowel movement, or do you have to tense like the incredible hulk to get something out? Problems with constipation is extremely common. Which can be seen by the high sales of laxatives and bulking agents.
There are different perceptions of when you are constipated. To have a bowel movement 3 times a week to 3 times a day is generally considered as normal. But what's normal and what's optimal is not always the same. If you only poop 3 times a week, you will have several meals gathering in your intestine. In the hot and humid environment, the food begin to ferment the longer it sits.
This increases the risk of substances forming that may irritate the gut lining, or negatively affect our gut flora. When you have nagging gut issues it might be better to aim for optimal bowel habits rather than just normal.
Signs of optimal bowel habits:
- 1-3 bowel movements a day
- Evacuation feels easy and without straining
- One feels completely relieved
- The poop is firm with a smooth surface
- The poop is brown and does not smell too bad
How many of the above points do you recognize? The food should also pass through the digestive system in 16-24 hours. Quicker passage usually leads to diarrhea while longer passage leads to constipation.
The number of times you poop is probably not the most important thing. What is considered the big problems is when the actually bowel movement is causing pain, or when you don’t feel that everything was emptied. That there is something left.
Yes, some of the problems constipation can contribute to:
- Stomach pains
- Back pain
- Reduced quality of life
- Economic costs
- "Leacky gut"
One of the most common causes is dehydrating. One of the first organs that it is the body draws more water from is the intestines. Less fluid makes the stool drier and harder. Too little fiber in the diet is another common cause. Fiber gives volume to the contents and facilitates the intestinal muscles to massage it forward. Most people know about these.
But there are a host of other factors that can contribute to constipation. Here is an overview of the most common causes.
Dehydration: too little water intake during the day causes the stool to become dryer and harder
Disordered peristalsis: when the muscles of the gut is not working enough or not in synchronicity, the food is not pushed forward as it should.
Stressful emotions: anxiety, stress, worry and depression affects the autonomic nervous system which control your gut. Acute stress often leads to diarrhea while prolonged stress to constipation.
Fiber deficiency: makes it more difficult for the gut to push its content forward.
Dysbios: obalans i tarmbakterier. Vissa bakterier behövs för att smörja tarmen och stödja dess rörelser
SIBO: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Some bacteria produce methane gas that inhibits peristalsis, the movement of the gut.
Ignoring the need: regularly ignoring the need to poop can disturb the reflex that tells you that it is time.
Laxatives: excessive use of laxatives may in the long run be counterproductive and impair the activity of the gut.
Inactivity: motion is needed to massage the internal organs and bowel, helping push its content forward.
Medication: morphine, certain antidepressants, ACE inhibitor for hypertension and certain medications for indigestion can cause constipation as a side effect.
Hypothyroidism: an underactive thyroid causes the entire system to work slower, even the gut.
Intestinal parasites: usually causes diarrhea but can also cause constipation.
Protein-rich dairy products: such as milk, yoghurt, cheese and cottage cheese.
Fecal impaction: Hard lump in the intestine that blocks passage.
Animal protein: when overconsumed making you eat to little fiber.
Pelvic floor dysfunction: when the muscles is not working as they should.
There are a lot of tips and home remedies used far back in time. Most can be tested on their own.
Water: Drink more during the day, room tempered or heated, with some lemon. Adding some fat, such as coconut fat can help stimulate the gut even more.
Eat more fiber: a lot of vegetables, quinoa, rye, oatmeal, linseed, psyllium seed and chia seed.
Eat less: meat, protein rich dairy products, dried food, cold food and, of course, all junk food.
30 min movement: take at least a 30 min walk daily.
Supplements: magnesium, betain HCL, enzymes and probiotics can all be helpful.
Relaxation: daily relaxation exercise, calm slow walks, meditation, mindfulness, a hot bath.
Coffee: effective but be careful, can often worsen other stomach problems.
Mindful eating: chew a lot and eat slowly.
Obey the urge: do not ignore to go to the toilet when the reflex arises.
Hypothyroidism: examine and treat if necessary
Enema: sometimes you might need to really flush it out.
Hypnosis: can sometimes help.
Fell free to try some of the tips above and see if it helps. If you have suffered from constipation for a long time and already tried a lot, these tips may not be enough to heal your stomach. Then you probably need to work more thoroughly with the 6 pillars of a peaceful gut and correct some imbalances in your body.