Chronic constipation is widespread among Americans, ranging from mildly frustrating to life-threatening. If you aren’t having regular bowel movements, it’s unfortunately only a matter of time before you become sick, which is why it’s important to seek relief as soon as possible.
In our latest free webinar, Becky Barkey, nurse practitioner, discusses how constipation can negatively affect your health and what its common causes are, as well as offers some natural resources for alleviating symptoms:
Why do so many people struggle with constipation?
While it’d be easy to blame chronic constipation on just one thing, it typically stems from multiple causes, including poor nutrition, a toxic environment, unprecedented levels of stress and lack of sleep. Even if your constipation feels like just an uncomfortable nuisance, it may lead to disease down the road, which is why finding relief is so vital.
What is a healthy bowel movement?
The ideal bowel movement we all should strive for is one to three easily passed stools per day. Bowel movements should also have little sustained aroma, be medium brown in color and be long, log-like piece(s). One key aspect of an ideal BM is that there is no discomfort, straining or delay. Healthy BMs should easily pass without any strenuous effort on your part.
How can constipation impact health?
Stool is the primary exit pathway for waste in your body. So, when you’re not having daily bowel movements, it’s like not taking out the trash from your kitchen when the can is full. Things spill over and get messy, and as stool ferments in your body, harmful bacteria can flourish. And when toxins build up in your gut, your body must reabsorb the “trash,” making your liver work harder to process it. Constipation can also be a symptom of much bigger problems with your neurotransmitters and immune system. Around two-thirds of your immune system lives in your gut where it houses your nervous system and generates most of your neurotransmitters. Because of this, constipation can lead to problems such as insufficient serotonin production.
Top reasons people suffer from constipation.
As we mentioned before, there’s no one reason so many people experience constipation. The most common causes include:
- Low magnesium intake
- Insufficient fiber
- Insufficient stomach acid
- Imbalance of gut microbes
- Suboptimal thyroid function
- Hormone imbalance
- Decreased tone in autonomic nervous system
Lifestyle interventions to alleviate constipation.
How do we conquer constipation? While medicine may be helpful in the short term, natural resources may be a more long-lasting solution. One lifestyle intervention would be making changes to your diet. Magnesium supplements, probiotics, fiber, healthy fats and plants all help move things along when the gut gets sluggish with inflammation. And when you’re eating, try not to graze. Instead, allow time between meals so your body can rest and digest properly. We see a lot of constipation stem from dehydration as well, so any easy way to find relief is to drink plenty of water every day. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in water, and to drink a glass or two right when you wake up, when your body is most dehydrated. Exercise, such as a short walk after a meal, is another great way to increase blood flow to the gut and get your system going. Finally, make sure to check your labs to see if there are any imbalances contributing to your constipation and to help your provider give recommendations.
If constipation is an ongoing issue for you, don’t ignore it. It may become life-threatening if you’re not taking the right steps to help alleviate it. Finding relief from constipation will not only make you healthier but may even prevent disease in the years ahead.
At BESANA Health & Wellness, we’re here to help you on your path toward optimal health and vitality with a range of wellness services. Watch the full webinar today and reach out to our team by calling (303) 872-6406 or requesting a consultation online.