Most of us know how painful constipation can be, but we view it as more of a nuisance than an actual illness. However, constipation is a real health issue that affects millions of people worldwide.
Fortunately, constipation can be cured quite easily and in this article I’m going to show you how to do that easily and naturally so you can end constipation forever. There is no need for strong laxatives or harmful pharmaceuticals, we just need to equip ourselves with some strong knowledge and the right approach and we will get movin’!
What Is Constipation & How Is It Caused?
Constipation is one of the most common bowel issues. According to The American Journal of Gastroenterology, approximately 19% of the U.S. population suffers from constipation, which is defined as passing hard, dry stool that is difficult and painful to move.
The definition for constipation ranges depending on which professional you talk to. Some believe an individual is typically considered constipated if he or she has passed fewer than three bowel movements per week, while others believe mild constipation begins when you don’t go to the bathroom one time per meal you ate the previous day.
Constipation can be caused by a number of issues, including taking laxatives too frequently, hypothyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ignoring the urge to pass a bowel movement. So, if you know you need to use the bathroom, don’t hold it in!
Travelling can also promote constipation, especially because many people tend to alter their eating habits when outside their everyday routines. Travelling may interfere with your typical meal schedule, limit your accessibility to bathrooms and healthy foods, and heighten stress, all of which may affect your bathroom schedule.
Specific pharmaceutical drugs, such as antidepressants, antacids, blood pressure pills, and iron supplements, can also provoke bowel issues like constipation. And one of the simplest causes: dehydration! You should be getting at around eight glasses of water per day or even more depending on your body size and weight, frequency of exercise, and climate.
Physical fitness also plays a role in constipation. If you’re not exercising regularly, then you may not have normal muscle contractions in the bowel wall. Sedentary or low-exercise lifestyles increase risk of constipation and bowel issues.
Perhaps the most common cause of constipation is poor diet, especially if your diet isn’t high enough in fiber. Fiber is essential for a healthy bowel system, so if your diet is high in processed foods, you’re depriving yourself of fiber. Foods that are naturally high in fiber are those that typically need to be chewed more, such as apples, carrots, flax, whole grains, quinoa, and chia seeds.
Warning Signs That Indicate You’re Constipated
Whenever we have stomach aches, a lot of people will simply say, “I’m constipated,” or, “I have indigestion.” However, there are tell-tale signs that can actually tell you what’s provoking your stomach pains. Some constipation clues include:
Bad breath (halitosis): Constipation may cause bad breath because, as toxic waste builds within the body, gasses rise up and sometimes come out through the mouth. Unfortunately, those who have bad breath cannot always smell it on themselves, so unless your friend speaks up, you may not even realize you have this issue!
Rectal issues and infection: Perhaps the most obvious indicator of constipation is the pain that often comes along with it. Constipation can be painful because the rectum begins to stretch. As stool spends more time in the bowels, water is reabsorbed, making stool hard and dry. If the rectum stretches too much it can cause rectal prolapse, meaning your rectum fails to close, which can result in leakage and infection.
Skin problems: The skin is our largest organ in the body and is often considered a reflection of what’s going on inside. Constipation is essentially a build up of toxins, which can cause acne, skin dicolouration, and other skin problems (source).
Fewer than three bowel movements per week: Technically, you should be passing one or two bowel movements per day. However, since not all of us have perfect bowel systems (largely due to our imperfect diets), it’s common to only have bowel movements every second day.
Small, hard, dry stool: The appearance of your stool is another good indicator. Healthy stool looks smooth, long, S-shaped, typically a medium brown colour, and not broken into a bunch of pieces. When you’re constipated, your stool is often very small and broken up, dark, hardened, and fairly dry.
Strain during a bowel movement and not “feeling empty” afterwards: If you’re literally pushing your stool out, you’re likely constipated. After passing a bowel movement, you shouldn’t feel like you’ve just run a marathon. It’s a natural process that should be fairly quick and painless. The need to strain and push excessively during a bowel movement, or not feeling “empty” afterward, may indicate that you’re constipated (source).
The Dangers of Ignoring Constipation
So, you’ve recognized that you get constipated fairly often. You can’t just ignore it; it won’t go away on its own if you continue your regular patterns. Plus, if you are constipated regularly, it can manifest into other health problems.
Constipation is a really great way to be tired and sick. When you are constipated you give time for bacteria to come out of spore in your intestines and proliferate in your intestines. Parasites do the exact same thing and this can lead to parasite infections. Bacteria can also make their way through your body and begin causing inflammation in a number of areas. This is why ending constipation is so important.
Here are some of the health risks chronic constipation poses:
Colon Cancer: The colon is designed to only hold a few pounds of stool. Much like a plastic bag, if the colon is overloaded with heavy items, it can rip open. The colon’s primary function is to transport stool, not store it. If the colon is acting like a storage container, it puts strain on the inner membrane and can cause ruptures, internal infections, and in some cases, colon cancer (source).
Hemorrhoids: If you’re constantly pushing out stool and experiencing pain from constipation, this can cause large hemorrhoids in the body, which can be very painful.
Constipation Emergencies: If you allow your body to become constipated too often without remedying it, you may find yourself sitting in an emergency waiting room with severe abdominal pain. Over time, the pain can worsen, so much so that you may feel you require a doctor’s assistance. Between 2006 and 2011, ER visits in the U.S. due to constipation increased by 42% (source).
Loss of Healthy Bacteria: Constipation reduces the intestine’s overall concentration of flora, a healthy bacteria that helps with immunity as well as vitamin production. Without flora, the intestine becomes more susceptible to infection and illness. Flora also acts as a stool softener, so the less flora you have, the worse your constipation will get (source).
How To Cure & Prevent Constipation
Many people resort to popular laxatives like Ex lax which to rid themselves of painful stomach aches and constipation, but laxatives like this can actually do more harm than good due to their harsh ingredients. Your body can become dependent on laxatives, meaning you can’t have normal bowel function without taking them regularly. Laxatives can also decrease your colon’s ability to contract, which can worsen constipation, and they also flush out the good bacteria in your colon. Laxatives can even damage nerves, muscles, and intestinal tissues.
There are numerous easy methods to naturally cure constipation. For example, you could start by simply drinking more water. As stool moves throughout your intestines, your body removes water. If you are extremely hydrated, your body will remove less water, leaving the stool to soften and pass quickly and painlessly. An easy indicator of whether or not you’re hydrated is the colour of your urine, which should be pale yellow: too yellow means you’re dehydrated and clear means you’re too hydrated.
The best way to cure and prevent constipation is, ultimately, to change your diet, particularly by increasing the amount of fiber you eat. It’s recommended to eat at least 20 grams of fiber per day, but preferably 30 grams. Fiber in your stool helps to draw more water, allowing the stool to soften. As you increase the amount of fiber you eat, so too should you increase your water intake, to allow that fiber to move through the body.
If you cannot get enough fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy sources, or you feel you need additional support, you can supplement it with organic psyllium dietary fiber. Psyllium aids with colon health and has other benefits such as controlling blood sugar, improving acne and skin irritations, helping to maintain or lose weight, and decreasing your risk of heart attack, stroke, gallstones, kidney stones, and diverticulitis.
However, you can’t just take fiber and expect to have a healthy bowel system. If you’re eating poorly, fiber will not help your bowel movements, but rather hinder them. The human digestive system isn’t actually designed to properly break down fiber. What happens instead is that fiber remains undigested in your bowel along with your flora, your healthy bacteria. If your bacteria are healthy, then they’ll feed on the fiber and proliferate.
However, if they’re unhealthy, fiber may actually worsen your constipation. Fiber is a non-specific growth factor, meaning it cannot distinguish between pathogenic (bad) and beneficial bacteria. This means that if your gut contains pathogenic bacteria, yeast, or fungi, you’ll need to increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut before you can increase your fiber intake and fix your constipation. A healthy gut requires adequate fruits and vegetables as well as a healthy amount of naturally fermented vegetables (source). You can also take an all-natural/organic probiotic to help improve your gut health.
can also help cure and prevent constipation. Have you ever noticed that you have the urge to use the washroom more frequently when running? That’s because physical movement increases the motility of your digestive tract and can provoke bowel movements. Remember, if you feel the sudden urge to use the washroom, don’t wait. The longer you wait, the longer it remains in your colon and the more difficult and/or painful it will become to pass (source).
Another wonderful way to cure and prevent constipation is squatting. Not only will this improve your strength, but it’s incredible for your bowel system as well! Many people around the world squat while using the washroom, which may be why North Americans suffer from constipation more than other cultures (of course, diets play a role in this too). If you’re uncomfortable with squatting over your toilet, you can even use a stool. Simply place your stool in front of your toilet, bend your knees, and rest your feet on top of it. This will help stool move out of your colon and decrease your risk of hemorrhoids as well.
Natural Herbs And Stool Softeners
There are a number of all-natural stool softeners that can help constipation, too. I personally use fennel essential oil, as this can aid digestion and the pain associated with indigestion and constipation. Fennel tea and any organic “smooth moves” or laxative-type teas are excellent cures for constipation as well.
There are also many natural herb aids that can help you regulate your bowel movements, including Wholey Shit, an all-natural, wild crafter, vegan stool softening aid. It contains very few ingredients and works effectively to get your stools moving. You can actually get a free sample of Wholey Shit here!
If you do suffer from constipation, try these natural alternatives to conventional laxatives. The aforementioned cures and preventative measures have worked for me in the past, so I’d highly recommend giving them a shot!
Even if you don’t get constipated, it’s crucial to have a healthy gut and digestive system. Many of these remedies can not only cure constipation, but help prevent it and improve your overall health as well!
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