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When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going!

July 20, 2018
There are many aspects of health that the Western Society feels comfortable talking about and addressing when issues arise. There are also many things that have a negative stigma that people are uncomfortable even talking to their doctor about! Gut health and specifically constipation fall into that second category.

Constipation is generally described as having fewer than one bowel movement per day. Other symptoms of constipation include hard/lumpy stool, pain associated with passing stool, and abdominal pain. Despite the lack of discussion of constipation and other digestive issues, they remain very common. Nearly everyone has experienced constipation at least once in their lives, and millions deal with chronic constipation.

As a colon hydrotherapist, I see constipated clients on a near daily basis. These people are often trying to address their symptoms with medications or even herbal supplements that can further damage the colon. I would like to share a few important tools that I have learned can prevent and treat constipation!

Let’s talk prevention! Preventing constipation is not a difficult thing to do. It requires many of the same healthy habits that help you in other areas of life. This is not a comprehensive list, and if you have questions about your personal health needs please speak to your medical practitioner.

The first step to prevention is drinking enough water! In the process of digestion our colon absorbs most of the water that we eat or drink. If waste remains in the colon too long, more water is absorbed making it difficult to pass. So, stay hydrated! The recommendation is eight cups a day or half your body weight in ounces. Increase water intake even more if you drink caffeinated beverages or alcohol.

Increasing your fiber helps your digestive system work the way it should. There are two types of fiber, and both are necessary! This video helps explain the difference in type of fiber: see video here. Fiber allows water to remain in your stool making it easier to pass and adds bulk to your stool allowing it to move through your system faster. The longer waste remains in your colon the more water is absorbed and the more difficult it will be to pass. Fiber is found naturally in fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains and can also be added into your diet through supplements.

Stay active! Exercising regularly helps your colon to stay regular as well. Even just thirty minutes of activity can help food move more efficiently through the colon.

Just as there are things to eat and drink to prevent constipation, there are also things to avoid! Caffeinated beverages, especially when paired with dehydration, can make constipation symptoms worse. If you have a sensitivity to gluten, it can cause constipation symptoms. Red meat is high in fat and iron which slows digestion and is a culprit for constipation. The wrong kinds of grains, particularly those that are highly processed such as white rice and white bread, are heavy on starch and light on fiber which can cause you to become backed up. Alcohol is another beverage that can irritate your colon and disrupt digestion. It is dehydrating and irritates the bowels which adds to constipation symptoms.

Constipation can also be caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Probiotics help add good bacteria into your colon that increases colon health and improves the function of the colon. Probiotics can be found in many foods including kombucha or can be taken as a supplement.

Colon Hydrotherapy is a way to stimulate and heal the colon. Poor diet and lifestyle choices can damage the colon in a way that causes digestive issues that range from acne to bloating and foul gas. For more information visit this page.

Treating constipation…

There are many methods to treat constipation, but unfortunately many of them aim to temporarily relieve symptoms without addressing the causes. There are several do’s and don’ts here. The best treatment for constipation is a healthy lifestyle and adopting many of the habits listed above! Drink plenty of water, eat some fiber, and exercise and your case of normal constipation can easily be taken care of.

Don’t overdo it on laxatives. Laxatives work by irritating the colon to cause movement. Although this can temporarily relive painful constipation, your colon then goes into healing mode and becomes less effective to repair the damage done by laxatives. This causes constipation to return, often worse than before. With this cycle of damage and repair, many people find themselves unable to function without laxatives and fall into laxative abuse. In the end it is very damaging to your colon and can cause gut health issues for the rest of your life.

Don’t overdo it on natural laxatives. Just because something is natural does not mean that you should consume it on a regular basis. Many natural laxatives function in the same way that prescription laxatives to creating the cycle of colon irritation and healing. Examples of these that should be limited in treating constipation or eliminated altogether are Magnesium and Sienna!

Constipation is both caused and best treated by lifestyle. Painful bowel movements and abdominal discomfort does not have to be a way of life for you!
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