Constipated? 10 tips to improve your bowel movement and feel great!

Constipated? In this post I’ll be talking about possible causes of constipation and how to improve your bowel movement with diet and lifestyle changes. But first, what is constipation?

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Most books and articles will say that constipation is when your bowel movements are difficult or happen less than 3 times a week for 2 weeks, which affects 1-7 adults and 1-3 children. But as a Naturopathic Nutritionist I would classify as constipation if you have a bowel movement less than once a day.

The amount of bowel movements vary from person to person. Some people will have once or twice a week, others once a day, and the lucky ones will have 3 times a day or after every meal.

Being regular is fundamental as our colon is considered to be a holding tank of waste matter. The longer you don’t have a bowel movement, the bigger will be the chances of your body starting to reabsorb toxins back into your system produced most of the time by the bacteria in our gut. Because our gut is connected our whole body, it can be linked to many different ailments like skin problems (such as eczema), indigestion, malabsorption syndrome, allergies, bad breath, body odour, coated tongue, depression, appendicitis, diverticulitis, fatigue, gas, headache, hemorrhoid, hernia, insomnia, obesity, varicose veins and even bowel cancer. Also, your stool will become more painful and harder to pass.

shutterstock_400048042.jpgConstipation symptoms:

  • Bowel movement less than once a day
  • hard or small stools
  • a sense that everything didn’t come out
  • swollen or painful abdomen (bloating)
  • vomiting

 

*Important! Get in touch with your doctor if: there is blood in your stool, you have severe pain with bowel movement, if you are constipated for more than 2 weeks, you have pencil thin stools, or you have sudden constipation with severe abdominal pain or cramping.

Possible causes of Constipation:

  • Diet high in dairy
  • Diet low in fiber
  • Low water intake
  • Changes in your diet
  • Changes in your environment or routine
  • Colon cancer
  • Eating disorders
  • IBS-C (Irritable Bowel Syndrome-constipation)
  • Neurological conditions (such as Parkinson’s disease and Multiple sclerosis)
  • Lack of exercise
  • Overuse of laxatives
  • Pregnancy
  • Problems with muscles and nerves in the digestive system
  • Resisting or ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Being underweight or overweight
  • Diabetes
  • Medications – antiacids (containing calcium or aluminium), strong pain killers (such as cadeine and morphine), narcotics, antidepressants, iron pills, antipsychotics, antiepileptics and diuretics.

 

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Now you may be asking yourself, how can I improve my bowel movements? Below you can find 10 diet & lifestyle tips that will help you to improve your bowel movement and feel great.

Diet and Lifestyle:

 

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1. Drink 1.5-2L water daily – it softens and eases the stool to pass
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2. Avoid caffeine – caffeine can initially loose the stools but as it has dehydrating properties, in the end of the day it will make symptoms worse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3. Increase the amount fiber in your diet: wholegrain, linseed/flaxseed, beans, apricots, berries, broccoli, plums, pears, kiwi, sweet potato, artichoke, raw green leafy vegetables, brown rice, asparagus, raisins, papaya etc. – Fibre adds bulk, then helping to increase the frequency of the bowel movement
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4. Olive oil, Avocado, Nuts, Fish (mackerel, salmon, halibut, sardines and herring), Coconut Oil, Sesame seeds – They are high in essential fatty acids which help to lubricate the colon and ease constipation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5. Avoid dairy and gluten (if you have food sensitivity to those)
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6. Avoid: fast food, processed food, soft drinks, white flour, alcohol and sugar

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7. Go to the toilet whenever you feel the urge. Do not hold it as it can make things worse
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8. Exercise regularly (brisk walks for at least 15 minutes on a daily basis can make a massive impact, especially if you don’t exercise at all)

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9. Meditation, yoga, relaxation techniques, acupressure and massage – are very helpful if stress, anxiety or depression are the triggers of the problem
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10. Toilet habits: go to the toilet everyday at the same time even if you don’t feel the urge to go and just relax

 

 

To be continued…

Part 2 – Constipated? 10 Natural Remedies to improve your bowel movement and feel great!

Part 3 – Constipation X Pregnant Women & Kids – 10 Tips to improve bowel movement suitable for them

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and it was useful. For more information or to book a consultation send me an email to info@marlicinutrition.com

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