If you suffer from constipation, you realize that you now sit on your brain. Your bowel seems to be doing all the thinking for you. You have feelings of distress that seem to have no end. It’s like you have an anal alien.The word “POOP” has taken on new meaning. To have a bowel movement is like running a marathon and receiving a trophy. Every day.
What has happened to your body?
You used to be able to have a bowel movement at will. It was possible to ignore signals from your body until you reached a place (like home) where you were most comfortable moving your bowels. Sometimes you went hours feeling “the signal” before “allowing” your bowel to move. Now, signals are weak- if you feel them at all. Or you feel the signal, but cannot move stool from the bowel.
Indications of Constipation
- Dry skin/ dry mouth- if you are dry on the outside; you will be dry on the inside.
- Long transit time. Your transit time is the time it takes your food to travel from your mouth to your anus. Normal transit time is 24 – 36 hours. (To check your transit time, eat red beets and watch for them in your stool.)
- Irritable bowel. You have alternate bouts of diarrhea and constipation.
- Your stool is hard and pebbled; or soft and sticky without form.
- You notice that you pass gel-like mucus without stool.
- You strain to pass impending stool that you can feel “right there.”
- You have constant rectal discomfort; including hemorrhoids- signaling venous stagnation.
Causes of Constipation
1. INADEQUATE CONSUMPTION OF WATER!!!!! Everyday your body needs one-half your body weight in ounces of water. a healthy person weighing 160 pounds; needs 80 ounces of water on a normal day. If you are sweating on a hot day or during a work-out, you need to INCREASE that amount. You know, this is not a suggestion… IT IS A MUST!
2. Poor bowel habits over a period of years. As mentioned above, causing your bowel to “wait” until you are ready to empty it.
3. Poor diet- consisting primarily of carbohydrates like bread, cake, rolls, and pasta – without the balance of green roughage like cabbage, broccoli, celery, kale, and dark green lettuce.
4. Food allergies- that interrupt complete assimilation of foods.
5. Inactivity. If you are always sitting on your anus; your rectum relaxes and fills with stool. Activity stimulates the bowel to empty at regular intervals.
1. Water… Water… Water!!! Not coffee; not tea; not soup. WATER. Fresh, clear, non- doctored water. Don’t like water? Don’t drink water? Simple… Learn to like it. Learn to love it. Learn to drink water as soon as you awaken. 16 ounces of warm water first thing in the morning will awaken your bowel and help its movement. Reach for water before you snack. Drink a glass after using the bathroom. Incorporate it into your day. Think you are hungry? Drink water. Drinking water is the single most important thing you can do to rejuvenate your bowel and heal constipation.
2. Fill your diet with vegetables. Strive to eat more vegetables than anything else. Eat at least one salad per day. Make one- meal salads that are the envy of your friends. Use your imagination. Include dark green lettuce, kale, cabbage, carrots, and celery. Add bitter greens like Arugula, Spinach, and Dandelion that signal your liver to release bile. (Bile stimulates peristalsis- the natural movement of the bowel.) Add cheeses, hard boiled eggs, roasted red peppers, chick peas, edamame, and (herb foods like chickweed, dandelion, and lambs quarters). If you sprinkle your salad with (my favorite- Nature’s Seasons) or Mrs. Dash, Adobo, or even Old Bay seasoning; then slop on the olive oil and lemon juice or sweet vinegar- Well… You’re in for it!A delicious, filling, HEALTHY meal!
3. “Stool Stool”- Use a footstool to raise the level of your knees during a bowel movement. This straightens the “s” curve of the sigmoid colon/rectum and provides a smoother transition of stool to the anus.
4. “THREE GRUNT” EXERCISE
You may have to practice these exercises for days or weeks to feel results. Most folks find that with practice, they feel better within days. Once you feel relief- Don’t Stop Exercising! You must practice this for the rest of your life or constipation recurs.
Don’t worry… Like any exercise program, practice helps.
- Bear Down – This is the exercise that most of us use to empty our bowels. It is the “grand push.” We tense our lower abdomen and push from inside. Before we are constipated, our bowel fills; we sit; we push; and our bowel empties. When we are constipated, we can feel that our bowel is full; it just will not evacuate. Pushing this way won’t empty a constipated bowel… prolonged pushing will cause hemorrhoids and discomfort.
- Squeeze and Release- Ever watch a dog defecate? At the end of its bowel movement it will squeeze and release its anus several times. This not only stops the bowel from moving but also stimulates internal glands to produce mucus to coat the rectum and anus–facilitating the next bm. Utilizing Squeeze-and-Release will stimulate mucus production and help you to evacuate your bowel. You need to utilize this exercise for thirty seconds at a time- one squeeze per second. Take several deep breaths before and after each sequence of the exercise. Don’t hold your breath. Repeat three times. You will find that this helps the most if you are well-hydrated.
- Gentle Pelvic Rocking back to front- This helps to move the stool within the bowel curves and brings stool down to be evacuated.
Combining the Three Grunts takes practice.
You will see results if you take the time to do this each time you are called to move your bowels. It is possible to notice that your bowel slowly returns to normal movement within a week. Just attaining a normal bowel movement does not mean that your bowel is now normal. You MUST continue to hydrate your body, exercise, and eat vegetables .
This is what we would call a LIFE CHANGE- changing habits for a better life!
There are HERBS that facilitate gastrointestinal emptying; however the best HERB is WATER.
Many of you have been depending on laxatives or herbs to increase tone in your lower bowel. You may have tried quite a few remedies to alleviate your sluggish bowel. Over time, this results in dependency… a form of habituated constipation. I do not recommend purgatives.
Proper hydration of delicious clear water is the fastest route to carefree elimination. Sure, you may feel the need to empty your bladder more often in the first one or two days. That’s OK! Your kidneys probably need a good flush, as well. In a short time you will find that your stool softens and passes completely- without strain- and that regular bladder pattern has returned.
“If your upper digestion is healthy; your elimination will be healthy.”
There are food HERBS that will help your stomach and small intestine work more efficiently.
Bitters like Dandelion, Artichoke Leaf, Endive, Sorrel; Greens like Mustard, Kale, Turnip, and Collards; Wild greens like Chickweed, Chicory, Dock, Fennel, Grape, Kudzu, Nettles, Plantain, and Violet leaf; Purslane, Watercress and Mallow. All can be incorporated in salads and cooked foods for internal and external nourishment. Place green foods on each meal plate. If your small intestine is hydrated, nourished and healthy; you will have no trouble moving your bowels.
In conclusion, the single most important thing you can do to improve your overall health is to drink water. The second thing you can do is to rearrange your diet so that you are top-heavy with green.