Hello my friend, Today I want to talk about your poop! I know, not the most glorious of subject matters and actually quite an uncomfortable topic for some. But we ALL do it! (or should for optimal health) It is a must for our body to eliminate the waste products in our bodies. Ideally, you should be going #2 once to thrice per DAY! And it should be a fully formed, moist log-like substance with no straining. Not rock hard pellets and not liquid. But what happens if you can't? What happens in the body when you have constipation? Common conditions from experiencing constipation:
Bloating, distension, flatulence
Chronic inflammatory diseases
Let's discuss digestion on a surface level. We eat > our bodies break down the food > nutrients are absorbed in the small intestines and colon > and whoop there it is. Our bodies rid ourselves of the leftover waste products of the food, toxins that come into our bodies, excess estrogen, cholesterol, mucus, mercury, bacteria, etc. It's quite an amazing process that our bodies do on their own without being told what to do! But when we are constipated, the waste, toxins, estrogen, etc are absorbed back into the body AGAIN to be processed through the liver. Oy vey... poor liver! The liver is already trying to move onto the next thing but now it has to detox the same stuff again?? Can anyone say toxin build-up in the body? This lack of motility in the colon can also create disease in the colon and other parts of the body... Eeeek! When we look at the digestion of the intestines, poop is made in the colon. So, when we talk about constipation (or even diarrhea) the main area of the body to focus on is in the colon. There is a balancing act to be performed that is done in the colon to maximize water & nutrient absorption while minimizing toxin exposure to the lining of the colon. The most common reasons for constipation are as follows:
Low electrolytes (e.g. low potassium, low magnesium, high calcium)
Hydration & fiber intake
Digestive secretions (e.g. low stomach acid, low pancreatic enzymes as seen in Type 2 Diabetes, low bile, etc.)
Microbial population and diversity (e.g. the bacteria that live in the colon and metabolize the foods we eat) - FYI these guys RUN THE HEALTH SHOW, BABY!
Hormones, and not just our sex hormones
Neurotransmitters (e.g. low serotonin = constipation)
Certain medications and prescription drugs
Autonomic nervous system function (e.g. sympathetic "fight or flight" or parasympathetic "rest and digest")
Grazing eating throughout the day (which can also lead to SIBO)
If you are one who occasionally goes on detoxes to try to solve the problem, please refrain from doing so when you are constipated. As mentioned above, toxins will spend more time in your colon and then absorb back into the body. If you are ever going to force a body detox, it needs to be when you are having healthy, regular bowel movements.
Okay, okay, okay. So, we talked about the crappy part about constipation and some of the most common reasons why it happens but let's now discuss THE ROOT CAUSES. Every disease is symptomatic so the list above are symptoms of underlying ROOT causes.
Here are the TOP root causes that can cause constipation:
Excessive Vitamin D
Insulin resistance and Hyperglycemia > type 2 diabetes
Food sensitivity (especially dairy)
Sympathetic dominance - excess stress
Insufficient water or fiber
Insufficient healthy dietary fats
Now that I have covered all this important information, your main question is probably "Well, HOW do I balance the motility of the stool for optimal elimination and health?"
Conventional medicine uses a lot of drugs in order to move things along without addressing the root causes. These drugs have side effects and are not meant to be used for long-term use. Once you get off the drugs, if the root cause isn't corrected, the problem will come back.
However, I am not against using conventional medicine for immediate action short term use while working on the root cause simultaneously.
Here is a list of immediate action items you can use: (note that the FDA only recommends these for short term use ONLY and should not be used as the FIRST line of treatment)
oral stool softeners
fiber supplements (be wary of the synthetic and artificial ingredients - READ THE LABEL)
For more natural immediate action remedies, you can try the following: (again, these are not meant to be permanent solutions to constipation. The best thing to do is to find the root cause)
Eating figs (not dried)
Xylitol chewing gum
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Herbal supplements that stimulate bowel movements
Coffee or tea
*Some of the above information is cited from the School of Applied Functional Medicine where I am attending school. For more information, check out their website @ www.schoolafm.com
If you would like to get help on putting the puzzle pieces together and addressing the root cause of your health issues, I would be honored to work with you so you can find relief and healing in your body.
Just visit my website to contact me and set up a Discovery Call!
Look forward to hearing from you!
May you live your life with purpose, passion, and joy!
Have Courage, my Friends!
In Health & Wellness,