I remember my mom could never understand WHY she was always constipated. No matter what she did, she still had problems. Unfortunately, I followed in her footsteps. I dealt with being unable to let go and have a great bowel movement for the greater part of my life.
If you’ve been there too, then you’re no stranger to sitting pretty on the toilet. Well, if you’re anything like me, it’s NOT very pretty… You might even be sitting on your throne right now, as you read this. Gotcha!
Do you know WHY your bowel movements aren’t what they should be? Let’s find out and see what we can do to fix them.
Why I Am a Poo Expert
I went to school to become a Naturopathic Doctor so that I could fix myself and all my toilet troubles. It became my mission to help people. Firstly because I needed to have good bowel movements myself, but more importantly, because I didn’t like seeing my mom suffering, and as a doctor, my patients. Constipation is an epidemic and it affects so many of the world population. It’s time we take a stand and do something about it.
Why Is Constipation Called a Functional Digestive Problem?
The symptoms of constipation are varied1. A key component of it is functional, meaning you can’t find reasons for it. For instance it could be a mass that is blocking elimination. This is why it’s important to get checked out by your doctor. Usually your doctor will try different treatments or do a colonoscopy to visualize the intestines, dependent on your age. Other times they may try lifestyle changes and treatments first.
The Symptoms of Being Unable to Have a Good Bowel Movement
The most common symptoms are that you are uncomfortable in your abdomen or belly, you feel bloated, you may have gas and you may feel pain as well. You may produce dry pebbles or hard stools. Often you go less than 1 time per day. According to the Mayo Clinic2, constipation is classified as less than 3 bowel movements per week.
In my naturopathic practice, where living your best life is key, I have noted that my healthy, optimized patients all go daily.
How Does it Feel to be Constipated?
There is a very distinct feeling of constipation. I recall my mother always being uncomfortable, unable to go and she would constantly complain to me and my sister, my dad and all her friends about it.
She always seemed to leave the bathroom unsatisfied and this is a key aspect of constipation along with straining3.
I’m sure you’ve had both. You push and push and may go a little but you feel like not everything came out and it was a lot of hard work. It also takes you longer than most to go to the bathroom. The term used is incomplete evacuation and straining. I describe it as there is still stuff left up there no matter how hard you try to get it out.
Why am I Gassy and Bloated When I’m Constipated?
Gas and bloating is part of constipation and functional digestive disorders4. Even though gas is uncomfortable, it’s one of the natural ways that the body signals the intestines to move. Hydrogen gas, in fact, is known to have beneficial effects for the colonic mucosa, including functioning as an anti-inflammtory and antioxidant. This, in effect, would help it to move out your poo5.
Good gas (I know, I know, how can it be good?) is produced by good bacteria, like probiotics. It stimulates the natural action of the intestines to move stools downward. If the bacteria in your intestines are unhealthy (conbiotics™ as I call them) such as the archaea species of bacteria that produce methane, then it can actually slow down bowel transit time. This is linked to constipation6.
The scent of methane is like the smell that you get from passing by a farmer’s field after they’ve laid down manure. Can’t stand this smell in the bathroom? Check out Eau de Throne, our After you Poo Parfum™. All will delight in the royal scent that fills the room! Click here.
How Often Should I Have a Bowel Movement ?
A normal bowel movement should happen every day. Men seem to go more than women. The statistics show that on average, men go every 1.7 days and women every 2.5 days7. Ideally in my practice our goal is for all patients to go daily, for this simple fact. You eat daily, so what goes in, should come out. Otherwise there is backup.
If you want to get more in detail about what your poo says about you, download my infographic, the 50 Shades of Poo. Click here.
Why Do Men Go to the Bathroom More than Women?
Men have a higher average of bowel movements because let’s face it, women are more complicated. Yes I am admitting that. But science shows this too. It has to do with the fact that we have a broader hormone mix than men. Estrogen can be very problematic to women and have an affect on your bowel movements.
How Does my Thyroid Affect my Bowel Movements?
When you have an underactive thyroid (A.K.A. hypothyroid) or a condition known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, a common symptom is constipation. Think of a thyroid condition as an overall slowing down of your metabolism. If your body is slow, then your bowel movements will be much slower too, leading to constipation.
Why Do my Estrogen Levels Affect My Bowel Movements?
If you are carrying extra weight, taking the birth control pill or other estrogen-replacing drugs or are exposed to fake estrogens (A.K.A. xenoestrogens – which every human being on the planet these days is) you have a higher level of estrogen than most.
Progesterone balances estrogen in the female body. Progesterone is necessary to have healthy bowel movements. When your levels of estrogen are too high, you lose the proper balance between estrogen and progesterone to have those healthy bowel movements.
Why Can’t I Poo?
We’ve talked about a few, but there are so many reasons why you can’t poo8.
It has to do with:
- Your nervous system
- Your hormonal system
- Your immune system
- Your digestive system
- Inflammation that you have in your body
- The amount of weight that you are carrying in your abdomen (central obesity)
- The types of bacteria you have in your gut
- The types of foods you are eating
- The Foods you may be eating that you are allergic, sensitive or intolerant to
- How much fluid you are drinking
- How many caffeinated beverages you are having daily
- How much sleep you are getting
- How stressed you are
- How depressed you are
- How deficient you are in certain vitamins and minerals that support good bowel movements
- Your genetics
And the list goes on and on. You can imagine the workup I do with my patients to help them learn the reason why they have issues pooping.
The Digestive System/The Gut is the Center of Our Body Universe
The gut and digestive spot is the center of the universe when it comes to your body. You have health if you have good bowel movements. That’s why I always ask about my patients stools, to determine the state of their health.
So if you’ve had problems figuring out why you can’t go, it’s because you haven’t hit the nail on the head yet or you have a combination of different factors working against you, causing you to be constipated. You want to be looking at your stools for the clues.
As you can see it is a HUGE topic! This is why I had to become an expert on poop, because there is so much to know.
Download my infographic the 50 Shades of Poo to get you started on analyzing your stools! Click here.
How Often Should I Poop?
What goes in, must come out. If you ate every second day, then you should poo every second day. But because you eat daily, you really should be having a bowel movement daily. Otherwise, you are constipated.
Your body is an environment that requires flow. Intake of good stuff, outpour of bad stuff. Think of it like a fish tank. When your fish poops, the tank must clean the water out from time to time or the fish begins to swim in his own filth. You don’t want the cells inside your body to begin to swim in its own filth. This is clearly not healthy.
How Come Most of my Friends Don’t Poo Daily?
The reality is that constipation is reaching epidemic levels. 14% of the world population9, which equals approximately 1 billion people, are constipated. The worst part is that it is a life threatening epidemic, because if you think about it, all natural environments, including your body, need to eliminate waste. If you can’t eliminate waste, the waste back ups and that is bad.
Why Do You Feel So Bad When You Can’t Poo Daily?
The best way to describe how you feel is like crap. Literally. It makes you feel really off because you aren’t eliminating the wastes that your body has created. Wastes are toxins, bacteria and things that the body needs to get rid of. When our stools sit in our body they are a source of toxic exposure and stress, which make you feel uncomfortable. It literally feels like a pain in the butt.
I know this all too well. I suffered from it, my mother suffered from it, and all her friends did too. I remember them always talking about how they couldn’t poo. So let’s get clear on what you can do about it to make things better.
How the Anatomy of the Intestines Tells You How Much You Should be Pooping Each Day
Did you know that your lower descending colon is the length of your wrist to your elbow. This is the amount of food, fiber and fluids that you ate the day before and should be what you eliminate daily. Remember, what goes in, must come out.
I remember thinking when I was younger and really constipated, wow, here I am eating all this food and where is it going? If it’s not coming out of me, where is it? It’s just sitting there causing problems. Let’s figure out what we can do to make it better!
The First Step to Better Bowel Movements
To know what to do, it is important to know what the problem is. Peeking after you poo every time you go is key. Start to keep a log about it (pun completely intended!)
I love to teach patients to look at the colour of their poo at first. It is a quick and easy way to get an idea oh whether your stools are healthy or not. Click here to download the 50 Shades of Poo.
My Favourite Supplement-Free Tool to Help With Constipation
Castor oil packs are legendary, biblical treatment that have been used since the beginning of mankind. They are used in all forms of medicine including the Ancient Chinese, Indian, Mediterranean, Egyptian and Caribbean cultures to help with all things having to do with the gut.
Castor oil packs IMPROVE:
They have shown to reduce pain and inflammation 1112 associated with these processes no matter the cause. So anything that might be irritating your intestine like food sensitivities, allergies or intolerances, it will make it better tolerated so you can digest better.
You will have less pain and bloating because it helps to improve factors in digestion that are making you feel horrible when you eat food. I can’t tell you how many times I have thrown on a pack when i’ve been bloated or really suffering in my guts. Whether it be from butterflies rocking my belly, or from serious gas. The same goes for my patients, it has become their go-to.
If absorption is an issue, chances are you’re low on some of your vital nutrients. Castor oil packs help to replenish those deficiencies naturally, simply by helping you better absorb your food. To be able to digest food, you need amino acids from protein in order to make digestive enzymes. If you don’t absorb your food properly, how can you expect to make digestive enzymes? Improving this function helps your body work better.
Not only do the castor oil packs stimulate the movement of the digestive tract, but they also help to get things out as well. It has been researched in comparison to stimulant laxatives and shown to produce improved satisfaction and sensation of complete evacuation, reduced straining and patients overall had a better bowel movement experience13.
On top of that it also helps to improve the antioxidants and factors in your body that help with cleansing, like glutathione1415.
Get your very own castor oil pack now! Click here.
Every patient in my practice does these packs, because as I mentioned before, gut health and digestion is the center of your body. The centre of your universe and the center and foundation of health.
Remember as well there are so many possible ROOT CAUSES for your CONSTIPATION so trouble shooting can be very difficult. This is an easy way to set the foundation and start off by removing the most common factors. Then as you look and learn from your poo, you can be your own best digestive detective to understanding what might be the underlying problem and then fix it!
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3 Mearin F1, Ciriza C2, Mínguez M3, Rey E4, Mascort JJ5, Peña E6, Cañones P7, Júdez J8; en nombre de la SEPD, la semFYC, la SEMERGEN y la SEMG.[Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and functional constipation in adults: Treatment (Part 2 of 2)]. Aten Primaria. 2017 Mar;49(3):177-194. doi: 10.1016/j.aprim.2017.01.003. Epub 2017 Feb 24.
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