Constipation is the difficulty or infrequent passage of stools. It can lasts for days, months and even years. Normal bowel movements are considered any where from 1-3 times per day to 3 times a week. Ideally you want to be moving your bowels every day.
For years I suffered from chronic constipation as a result of stress and anxiety, to the point I wouldn’t have a bowel movement for weeks on end. Not only was it unhealthy, it was extremely uncomfortable to the point I would avoid social situations.
There are several reasons why you may be constipated and knowing the underlying cause or condition is essential for the healing process.
There are several possible contributing factors for constipation, including stress, hypothyroidism, certain medications, pregnancy, inactivity and low fibre diets.
My 6 Top Wellness Tips for Constipation
1. Pre and Probiotics
Prebiotics assist the probiotics in reaching the digestive tract alive, while the probiotics help recolonize good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. I find including both a good quality probiotic daily, as well as incorporating both pre and probiotics food sources into my diet for healthy bowel movements.
Prebiotic rich foods include: kiwi fruit, artichokes, onions, garlic, asparagus, berries and bananas
Probiotic rich foods include: fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, kefir, good quality yoghurt, miso soup and kombucha
Increasing fibre from gluten free sources will help facilitate bowel motions and elimination. Both dietary insoluble and soluble fibre can help with constipation. Soluble fibre prevents constipation by softening the stool and acting as a bulking agent, where as insoluble fibre prevents constipation by accelerating transit time.
Food sources include: fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
3. Filtered Water
Water is essential for elimination. As our body composes of more than 50% of water, it is essential to provide the body with the cleanest water possible for optimum health.
4. Relax, Meditate and Let Go
I find holding on to things mentally and emotionally is a major contributor to my constipation. Focusing on letting go of things that are no longer important to me, help me let go of the rubbish not only in my life but also inside of me, ultimately becoming more regular in my bowel movements. This is a focus point for my meditation.
Find some time during the day that best suits you, this could be first thing in the morning, on your break or before you go to bed. Even if it is just 5 minutes to just sit quietly and breathe deeply, close your eyes if you need to or even download an app to help keep you focused.
Moving your body will also get your bowels moving. This can include both high impact and low impact exercise. I have found bouncing on a trampoline great (I bet you can understand the reasoning of this one– and yes it does help!), walking, jogging, running, swimming and one of my favourites is yoga. Yoga is a great reliever for constipation, as it not only helps to relieve stress, but many of the movements massage your digestive system, which ultimately helps get things moving.
6. Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs placed around the abdomen can help reduce inflammation and resolve constipation. They can also aid detoxification, reduce water retention and decrease period pain. Find out more here and how to make your own.
And avoid all the things that put stress on your digestive system, these include:
- Processed foods