Did you know that there is a link between constipation and bowel cancer? If your bowel is not moving it means you do not have enough fibre in your diet. This means you have a high build up of toxins and, after some years of ongoing constipation, the possibility of cancer does exist.
Everyone is different, so there can be no hard and fast rule about how often you should go to the toilet, but bad habits tend to begin when we are young.
Looking at it logically, we eat therefore we should expel waste. Usually a healthy bowel is ready to expel its contents half an hour after a meal. If we don’t eat properly, don’t exercise or don’t drink enough water, our metabolism slows down and we don’t expel waste, hence constipation. As a general rule, diets high in processed foods, low in fruit, vegetables, beans, cereals and fibre cause constipation. We need 20-35 grams of fibre a day. Some people only get as little as 5g.
Often, medications such as antidepressants or prescription drugs are responsible. Or you may have a food allergy. Have you been tested for hypothyroidism or liver dysfunction? Are you stressed, do you worry or do you suffer grief? Do you neglect calls of nature when you are busy? Do you use too many laxatives? Are you female and are hormonal changes or pregnancy causing your constipation? Do you have vitamin or mineral deficiencies, especially vitamin B, inositol and potassium? Do you eat too much animal protein, which putrefies in the intestines? A good natural practitioner would be able to assist you with the answers to all these questions.
Except in rare cases, the last thing to do is to take a chemically based laxative. An excess of laxatives makes your bowel lazy and may make the problem worse or cause a condition where one day you have constipation and the next day diarrhoea. Further to this, microscopic pieces of food leaking into the bloodstream could result in immune diseases, in very extreme cases. To repair this would take some natural supplements like aloe vera gel and L-glutamine, which you could discuss with your natural practitioner.
One way to fight constipation is to drink hot water when you first wake up in the morning, as hot liquids generally increase movement in the bowel. Sprinkling prunes or psyllium husks on your high-fibre cereal or drinking prune juice can also help. A combination of garlic, olive leaf extract and oregano is also useful.
Sit rather than strain on the toilet or you could get haemorrhoids. If you really can’t go, then try again later. When you are actually sitting on the toilet, if you are constipated, try propping your feet up on a stool with your knees bent as this will straighten the angle of your bowel so you go more easily. If you need to do this, I would consult someone as soon as possible to look for ways to improve your constipation.
It is important to not skip meals as dieting decreases bowel movement. Breakfast is important as it is the wake up call to the bowel. Make sure you have three servings of vegetables and two fruits a day with plenty of wholegrain bread. Introduce fibre slowly into the diet, if you are not used to it, as it could cause wind, bloating and diarrhea. To assist digestion, pepsin and gentian root can be used. It would also be good to take Lactobacillus to balance the bacteria present and assist digestion.
It is important to commit to exercise as it stimulates bowel function. Half an hour three times a week (as a minimum) should help and remember to drink a lot of water (6-8 glasses daily), especially after you exercise as it is dehydrating. Persistent constipation may need a bowel cleanse. This involves drinking a mixture of specific seeds and alkaliser and may also help you lose weight. Your natural practitioner will be able to advise you what eating plan is best for you.
If you ever have any of the following symptom, please seek medical attention: Blood in the bowel movement; change of bowel movements, such as worse constipation despite natural remedies; alternating from constipation to diarrhoea; fever; abdominal pain.