This has come up twice in the past month, so I took it as a sign to write about it. Coincidentally, it is also something I have struggled with for decades, so I have a fair bit of knowledge about fighting chronic constipation. Here are the stories that prompted me to write this post.
A woman I know took her adult daughter to the hospital in the middle of the night because she had severe abdominal pain. Diagnosis: constipation. She had not been pooping enough and was so backed up she was in severe pain.
The father of a friend was feeling very bloated. He had constant discomfort for long enough that he went to see his doctor about it. A CT scan showed he was all backed up. He didn’t believe his doctor because he was pooping every day. He left the doctor’s office still wondering what was wrong with him and went home. A few days later he went to the emergency room with the same complaint. After an MRI, he received the same diagnosis, he was backed up with poop.
Apparently, chronic constipation is a common problem. I knew I had a problem pooping — I usually only went every three or four days. And when I did go, it was very hard and painful to poop, and I often blocked up toilets. Sadly, it was a family joke. Happily, I have figured out what I need to do to have a good poop every day – no more blocked up toilets or feeling bloated.
Constipation & Regular Bowel Movements
For a long time, I didn’t realize pooping only a few times a week was a problem. I was pooping regularly, and didn’t want to consider there was a problem. Who wants to talk about pooping habits? It makes us uncomfortable and embarrassed. Then I fell into selling healthy supplements. I learned that I needed to have a good bowel movement at least once a day to help my body detox, relieve the bloated feeling and have less pain before and during the act.
Why are daily bowel movements crucial to helping our bodies detox?
Let’s start with a quick recap of our digestive system. Food starts in our mouth where saliva starts the breakdown process, then quickly enters our stomach. In the stomach, gastric acid breaks down, or digests, the food. Virtually no nutrients get absorbed in the stomach, that mostly happens in the intestines, specifically the small intestines, which is where the food goes from the stomach. In the small intestines, it is further digested and nutrients are absorbed. When our bodies are working properly, food should pass through the small intestines into the large intestines within roughly 6.5 to 8 hours. When food enters the large intestines, there are hardly any nutrients left. The large intestines job is to transfer water from the waste back to our bodies as well as absorb any remaining nutrients. This process can take anywhere from 30 to 40 hours in an individual with healthy digestion. The waste that remains contains toxins we ingest. These toxins come from chemicals in processed foods as well as pesticides. When waste remains in our intestines too long, the toxins can get absorbed into the body, wreaking havoc in our bodies and causing other organs to work hard to remove them from our body.
What can we do about chronic constipation?
First – A Good Colon Cleanse
Oxy Powder is an all natural colon cleanse that will get you pooping. The colon cleanse entails taking Oxy Powder every night for a week. You take as much as you need to have two or three bowel movements a day. This protocol helps to eliminate the deep-seated toxic build up lining the intestinal walls. I try to do this a couple times a year to help my body get rid of any toxins lingering in my digestive tract. Please keep in mind this is a colon cleanse and you may experience fleeting abdominal discomfort and very soft stool. I know I always do. I’ve never been in constant pain or anything, but I have experienced cramping before a bowel movement while taking this. I have to be near a toilet the next morning or there could be problems. Also, while doing the cleanse, you should avoid eating toxins as much as possible and drink lots and lots of water.
Natural Supplements to Keep You Pooping Daily
After you do the cleanse you have to find the right combination of nutrients to make sure you keep pooping well and continue to get it all out daily. For me this is a combination of a really good probiotic, magnesium and drinking close to a gallon of water every day.
According to research, human’s gut biomes are as different from person to person as our finger prints. Actually they are so varied and specific to each individual that we could be identified by our poop and the organisms present. Obviously, fingerprints are more pleasant to study, but you get the idea. Why do I mention this? Because the probiotic that works best for me may not do the same for you. That being said, my favorite probiotic is Prescript Assist. Whenever I change to try a different one, I get backed up again within a week or so. It takes me another week or so back on Prescript Assist to get back to “normal”. It took three weeks on Prescript Assist before I started having daily movements regularly. And, I was taking two capsules in the morning and two at night. Now, I just take two in the morning unless I don’t go one day for some reason. Three other people I know well also have better bowel movements when they take Prescript Assist. My mother swears by Just Thrive Probiotic for the same reason. Check out this post to help you figure out which probiotic is the best for you.
That was great for me for a long time. Then, last fall, I began following a keto diet. To many people this would have been a big diet change, but I was already eating a mostly Paleo diet – I had already cut out all the grain carbs, and processed sugars. I didn’t have as many carbs to cut as most. I had to cut out the natural sugars, like my honey. I used to drink tablespoons daily in my teas. Magnesium is a mineral found in honey and I think cutting it out upset that balance. I started taking one tablespoon of Natural Calm daily and things have never been better. Experts say almost 70% of the population is deficient in magnesium and many people notice better bowel movements when taking Natural Calm daily.
What Else Can Help You Poop Better?
Another thing I started doing is being conscious of how much water I’m drinking daily. This includes herbal teas, as well as unsweetened fruit water and juices. I try to drink over 1/2 gallon of water every day. I often drink more. Yes, I do pee more, but not as much as when I first stated. The body adjusts, and it is so worth it for all the benefits I notice from drinking adequate water daily. According to the European Hydration Institute, more than 50% of Americans don’t drink adequate amounts of water daily. This is roughly 8.5 eight ounce glasses daily, or just over 1/2 gallon. Smaller people need to drink less and larger people should drink more, especially if they want to lose weight.
Getting more good fiber in my diet has also helped. I put two tablespoons of chia seeds in my morning and afternoon smoothies. That’s almost 15 grams of good fiber. I use Baobab Powder in my morning smoothie for the fiber and antioxidant benefits. There are six grams of fiber in each serving. Are you getting enough fiber? if not, then try adding chia seeds or Baobab Powder to your daily routine. I actually prefer the Baobab Powder because it is a powder and mixes easily in water or juice. And, with a 16,800 ORAC value, it packs an antioxidant punch that is phenomenal.
Chronic constipation seems to be a problem for many people, but with a little time and attention to what you are eating and what supplements you are taking, you can overcome it and have a healthy digestive system.