Chronically bunged up?
You're not alone... more people than you might think are going number 2 less than once per day. It's interesting that some people don't realize it's not normal to only “go” every couple of days. When I have my patients record their dietary intake for a week, I also get them to track their bowel movements. Often they're surprised to learn their frequency is not as frequent as they thought! I've seen it half a dozen times or more in the last 2 weeks. Here's the first-line tricks I recommend so that you don't let it build up in there for too long.
One of the primary reasons for mild to moderate constipation is just simple dehydration. If you're feeling backed up, flush it through with 1-2L of water. In fact, you should be aiming to drink 2L of water per day.
Quite literally, your poop won't move if you don't. Regular exercise is not only a stress reducer, if you are backed up the come down effect of having just had some vigorous exercise, is often letting it all go in another way. There's nothing like a good work out to send you running to the bathroom!
If neither of the first two options work, prunes will often do the trick. You can use dried prunes or prune juice. These “functional foods” have 2 kinds of fibre, water, and are high in an constituent called sorbitol... all of which promote movement.
Give yourself lots of time in the bathroom. If you are backed up and straining, putting your feet up on a stool while you're sitting on the toilet can help. By propping your feet and knees up, it puts you into more of “a squatting position”, and aligns the rectum better for an easier movement.
Most of us have known this since the mass marketed TV commercials for a certain cereal. Whether your fibre is coming from a cereal grain, a load of salad, or your fave “keep you regular” drink mix product, be sure to get it in ya! Fibre works like a microscopic broom sweeping out all the yucky corners of your colon. Keep it clean and tidy in there, by adding enough fibre to ensure you are going once per day. Keep in mind, you have to keep yourself well hydrated for this to work best, otherwise... “dry” fiber works more like a beaver dam than a good clean sweep.
Vitamin C is well known for it's immune boosting effects, but many people don't know that a natural “side effect” of taking it in doses between 3000 and 5000 mg can soften stool by pulling water into the colon. This is usually the dose that works for most people, and it's generally quite safe to take in the short term. If you find yourself needing to use this strategy longer than a couple of weeks, see your Naturopathic Doctor. S/He can help you identify the root cause of your constipation and improve your bowel function so you won't need to rely on such measures.
That's it. All my at home, simple and gentle tricks for getting things moving in the right direction. If you have tried all of these things in earnest, and they don't work, please see your Naturopathic Doctor or other healthcare provider for next level strategies.
Did you like this post? Did you not like it? Did it make you feel squirmy because we talked about poop? lol. Let me know!
Also, if you have a personal go-to strategy that doesn't involve an OTC laxative product, but a dietary or lifestyle trick, please share!
As always any thoughts or questions you have for me can be posted in the comments section below. Let's chat!
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