Big thanks to Dr. Joe Raphael!
It is said that as you age, the number of bowel movements we experience increase over time. Constipation is when you are unable to pass stool at LEAST 3 times in a week. The ideal movement should be at least once daily and when it begins to reduce, then you are what is known as ‘constipated’. Constipation can make you quite uncomfortable as it can not only cause stomach upsets but can also affect your overall wellbeing. The problem is that not many people are open to talking about constipation, and believe it or not, it has some psychological effects on the body is not corrected.
What causes constipation?
To begin with, if your diet is devoid of vegetables, fiber or water, then you are bound to get constipated. According to Dr. Joe Raphael, a leading Integrative Lifestyle Medicine Specialist, Therapist, Nutritionist, Teacher and Professor, everyone is different and it varies how often each of us has bowel movement, but it is ideal for one to have a movement at least once a day, even 2 or 3 times in a day! Dr. Joe also points out that other factors outside of diet and hydration such as allergies, stress and even side effects of medication can cause you to have constipation.
It is quite interesting how constipation can contribute to some mental conditions such as depression. You see, proper nutrients in our diet keeps us going once absorbed into the body. There are feel-good chemicals such as serotonin that are usually released when the body is well-fed with the right nutrients. When one experiences constipation, the toxins that are meant to be excreted stay in the body and back up into your system, thereby preventing your body from absorbing these all important nutrients, which in turn makes you moody and depressed. Should the constipation persist, it can even cause you to be irritable, suffer from insomnia and even experience panic attacks. There are many of us who have taken a trip to a land with different foods than those we are accustomed and have experienced constipation as a result. During your trip, be sure to hydrate eat fruits and vegetables and keep active by walking around. Another shocking cause of constipation is ‘holding it in’. Resisting the urge to pass stool on a regular basis can cause you to suffer from constipation. Religiously take some time and ‘sit on the porcelain throne’ and encourage some bowel movement. However, there is a condition known as hemorrhoids that can occur for sitting on the toilet for too long. So be sure to move off the seat in intervals, something that can even help along the bowel movement.
What can we do to keep constipation at bay?
First of all, hydrate! Being properly hydrated cleanses your body and this encourages bowel movement. The next step is to look into your diet. Ensure that it has sufficient nutrients such as fiber, lean chicken or beef, fruits and vegetables. This helps you to not only feel great and stay healthy, but also ensure that your bowel movement is frequent.
If your diet needs that extra push, you can take herbal supplements such as Digestic by Mimonis, that are organic, non-GMO and non-habit forming. Digestic cannot only alleviate constipation, but also have a long-term effect on your gut health. It is advisable to steer clear of laxatives not prescribed by a doctor. In extreme cases, a doctor will manually break apart your stool to offer you relief and even enemas that must be done by a licensed professional have been known to help.
According to Dr. Joe, in addition to herbal supplements such as Digestic, there are alternative therapies one can engage in. One of these is known as probiotics, which are natural bacteria, found in your stomach. These are the ones that help to break toxins in the body during digestion, therefore allowing bowel movement to take place. Constipation can occur if you do not have enough probiotics in your system. Another therapy is known as phenolic compounds, which are bacteria that keep your stomach clean, and keeps any bad toxins from gathering. It is a great supplement that cleans out your bowels.
As is the case with all body ailments, avoid self-medication. Taking more fiber or water on their own does not always guarantee that the constipation will clear up. Constipation can be as a result of more serious conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, an infection of the intestinal tract, a possible tumor or even diabetes. Should constipation persist, visit your doctor so they can test you and eliminate the above ailments.
You can prevent constipation by visiting the toilet each morning and take some time to allow for bowel movement. You can also avoid taking things such as tea, coffee or alcohol. While these sometimes give us the impression that they help along bowel movement, they actually suck out the water from your stool and this, in fact, promotes constipation. If you are lactose intolerant, avoid dairy products as this is known to cause constipation. Even those without the condition and take too much dairy, such as cheese, can experience this. All of this will, of course, work best if you are taking a balanced diet and drinking water and natural juices to cleanse your body and keep your bowels happy.
So, let us stay happy and be of good mental health by ensuring that we have good bowel movement and keep those blues away, thus leaving us feeling great from the inside out.