What is Constipation?
Constipation is medical complaint that can affect as many as 1 in 5 adults over the age of 30 and that this subject is still not open for discussion amongst many dinner tables. Constipation is defined as the inability to pass stools frequently as a result of stool travelling extremely slowly through the digestive tract or not moving for evacuation at all. As a result of the stools are often hard and small which may require a lot of straining to eliminate. For most people, the inability to move stool manifests into bloating of the abdomen, excessive flatulence, abdominal cramping and constant feeling of feeling full.
Although it is hard to define how many evacuations a day is considered to be normal some people experience the inability to pass stool. People experiencing constipation may not evacuate for up to three days or in extreme cases, two weeks. All this being said the strange reality is that lots of people who do experience this think it’s normal. While constipation is extremely common it is still not something openly discussed in social conversation. Under such circumstances a lot of people are not even aware they experience constipation but rather think this is normal or that this was just their luck of the draw in the “pooping game” and therefore believe there is nothing to be done. openly at the dinner table or anywhere else for that matter given the silence around.
Signs & Symptoms
- Passing less than three stools a week
- Having hard and all lumpy stool
- Straining to produce a bowel movement
- Feeling as though there is a blockage in your rectum that prevents bowel movements
- Feeling as though you can’t completely empty
- Needing help to empty rectum such as using your hands to press on your abdomen or using fingers to physically move stool from your
- Overall feeling of dissatisfaction upon evacuating stool
Constipation has the potential to be considered chronic went two or more of these symptoms are experienced over the course of three months or longer.
Long-term effects of constipation can be debilitating in a very real way but unspoken way. On a physical level constipation is certainly going to affect you in terms of bloating, cramping, gas, etc, but constipation can have a drastic effect on your overall emotional and mental wellbeing as well.
Mental Effects of Constipation
- Cause or increased levels of depression and/or anxiety
- Effects on sex life
- Lower quality and quantity of your sleep
- Affect your desire or will to perform physical activities or work out
- Decreased focus, clarity and brain cognition
- Major deplete in energy levels
- Affect confidence in social settings may induce social anxiety
Causes & Risks Associated with Constipation
Constipation is not a disease but rather a symptom. Many factors can attribute to irregular bowel movements.
- A diet high in processed food / carbohydrates / sugars
- A change to your lifestyle including exercise and activities
- A lack of dietary fibre
- Eating foods your digestive system has trouble breaking down (dairy & glucose is a big one for a lot of people)
- Overuse of laxative (creates a lazy bowel by taking away the need for the peristalsis muscles to work themselves)
- Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, performance pressure or any other extreme emotional disruptions
- Pharmaceutical medicines such as antibiotics
- Muscular or nerve problems in the digestive system
Unfortunately, the list goes on…
How to Manage
- Increase fibre in your diet, soluble and insoluble- soluble fibre allows water to remain in stool which makes it softer and thus easier to move through your digestive tract. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to stool which again promotes movement through the digestive tract.
- Exercise daily– the physical movement of your body will increase muscle movements in your bowel
- Stay hydrated, particularly with water- Constipation can be attributed to a dehydrated colon. When your body is hydrated less water will be withdrawn from the colon which will allow stool to soften and pass through with more ease
- Manage stress and anxiety– take some time out for yourself. Balancing your mental and emotional wellbeing with see the restoration of equilibrium within your body
- Colonic Hydrotherapy– this is the most effective tool to combat and treat constipation short term and long term. Colonic hydrotherapy loosens and eliminates waste and build up which in turns allows the bowel to function efficiently and effectively again. Waste build up in the colon will also induce a much slower transit time which leads fermentation and putrefaction within the bowel which promotes the proliferation of unfriendly bacteria while simultaneously creating a toxic load situation in the gut. Colonic hydrotherapy not only works to clean out the bowel from faecal matter, debris and waste it also works to flush out the unfriendly bacteria that disrupt the gut’s natural ability to digest, absorb and eliminate. With a fresh slate and significant reduction in unfriendly bacteria the gut is primed and ready for the introduction of friendly bacteria. This is where probiotics come in.
- Probiotics– constipation may also be a result of said unfriendly bacteria living in a very out of balanced gut microbiome. Probiotics restore the healthy balance of friendly bacteria in your gut promoting a healthy gut flora garden and thus a healthy, happy, functioning digestive system.