Did you know…The average bowel transit time (for food to travel down the 9 meters of digestive track) is approx. less than 24 hours? Which should get you thinking how often do I make the trip down that road?
Constipation is commonly experienced amongst men, women, children and animals alike! Constipation can be defined as a decreased frequency of stool evacuation, slow bowel movements, straining to defecate and commonly accompanies pain and discomfort. It is important to understand that all the symptoms of constipation can be altered for a better health outcome.
So how often should the train leave the station?
There is no ‘normal’ figure on the amount that people should head to the loo for number two so long as there is the feeling of pain-free satisfaction. The general guidelines are for women to move their bowels daily and men can have 1 – 2 daily movements.
If you are feeling that you may be experiencing constipation here are a few signs and symptoms to look out for:
Sneak a peek…
An important observatory tool is to look at your stool! There are several indicators within the appearance: the skinny snake, small rabbit pellets, colour, texture, odor along with the size and amount of stool all provide your practitioner with the clues needed to understand and prevent constipation.
Prevention of the situation…
As there are many factors that may contribute to constipation and the discomfort associated with the conditioning treatment may be a simple or a multistep process – but one thing is for sure! Constipation can lead to a buildup of toxins and waste within the body which isn’t healthy for anyone!
Simple steps to try yourself…
- FIBER: Fiber is an essential part of the poo puzzle! The benefit of soluble and insoluble fiber for the human body is endless! Fiber allows the body to bulk waste and removes it from the body whilst removing cholesterol and toxins from your body! The easiest way to gain the most benefit from your fiber is variety! Avoid those processed grains like white bread, pa, ta and rice and choose the brown options. Flax seeds/ linseeds act as a scrubbing brush for your intestines (soak them for 15 mins before eating to receive the maximum benefit), chia seeds (also soak), LSA, seeds, whole grains, psyllium husks (water consumption is a must with these guys otherwise may increase constipation) along with the all-important fruit and vegetables (prunes, dates, pear, all veggies)!
Low Dietary fiber can be seen in the cases of small rabbit stools, infrequent movements
(tip: try soaking your grains, nuts and seeds overnight – this starts the digestion process outside the body, making it easier for the body to breakdown!)
- WATER: dehydration is not good for you or your stool. Once you feel thirsty it is already too late! Water helps to lubricate your movement and keep things flowing. Aim for at least 2L each day!
- ESSENTIAL FATS: essential fats such as high strength fish oil, coconut oil, olive oil, flax seed oil, Udos oil all assist with this lubrication of the stool.
- STRESS and MUSCLE TENSION: everyone experiences stress and reactions belong to the individual. Magnesium (most beneficial as a powder) provides stress and muscular release. This is often common in pregnant women and hormonally around the time of menstruation. Muscle tightness can be seen as tight skinny movements, small in size and infrequent, pain and discomfort. This is common for children – stress around toilet training and pain experienced from previous motions place a cork in the works. The emotional side behind the constipation needs to be addressed in order to make an improvement.
- BITTERS: bitter foods and herbs such as rocket, gentian, lemons, Swedish bitters and coffee all assist with the digestion of food and therefore the removal of waste.
- TIMING IS EVERYHING: Take the time each day to sit on the loo and wait. This trains the body and will allow for a smoother movement. Another great tip is to sit for 5 minutes longer once you have done your evacuation – there is no hurry! You will be pleasantly surprised with your results.
- EXERCISE: abdominal movement will assist with your natural transit path! Yoga, Pilates, walking are all fantastic options! Gentile massage of the stomach in clockwise direction (counter-clock wise if assisting a friend)
- GUT HEALTH: a gastrointestinal system which is under the control of bad bacteria will not function correctly. Supplementation with a high strength probiotic can be extremely beneficial in the treatment of constipation! Even the cleanest of diets can have an unbalanced GUT flora!
It is important to remember that laxatives have their place – but that is not every day! Frequent use of laxatives can result in a dependency within the body which just makes things harder to function smoothly.
Speak to your health care professional or come on in store for some friendly advice and specialised treatment options