Constipation isn’t a pretty sight

Poop isn’t a popular topic with less than 10% of Australians discussing bowel problems with their health care practitioner however constipation affects 1 in 5 people. Statistics have shown 20% of men and 12% of women suffer from bowel problems which then can affect bladder incontinence.   This may be an embarrassing subject to bring up but it vitally important to your health.


Why is pooping so important? 

  • Bowel evacuation is the body’s natural way to remove toxins, waste and excess hormones.
  • When the motion is kept within the intestinal-colon tract for an extended period the body absorbs water leaving a rock hard mass. The colon can become distended and over periods of constipation can become weakened and lazy.
  • Fermentation occurs with every passing hour the motion sits in the intestinal-colon tract, excess gas builds up resulting in foul smelling wind plus bad bacteria multiplies which then results in other associated health problems.
  • Associated health problems include: leaky gut, diverticulitis, poor energy, disturbed sleep and/or urinary incontinence.

Constipation has been defined as

  • Passing motions less than three times a week
  • Passing dry hard pebbles
  • Straining to pass motions
  • Incomplete emptying of the bowels
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Excessive wind

Reasons for constipation

  • Reduced water intake
  • Low daily fibre in the diet
  • High levels of stress – IBS-C
  • Low iron
  • Pregnancy
  • Disorders of the nervous system
  • Medications
  • Aging and reduced mobility

10 Tips to relieve constipation

1.Stay hydrated. Our bodies need at least 2 litres of water daily and in warmer weather up to 4 litres. Electrolytes are also important, not only to assist muscle spams to push waste through but to keep our energy levels high.

2.Fibre is a usual advice giver though choosing the right source is critical. Sometimes it isn’t the fibre content the body is needed but rather an increase in water. To help decipher fibre, here are the basics.  Fibre falls into two categories:

o   Insoluble fibre – adds bulk and assists to firm up loose motions. Food sources are: wheat bran, vegetables and wholegrains.

o   Soluble fibre – adds water to soften up motions. Food sources are: oatbran, barley, nuts, beans, lentils, peas and some fruit and vegetables.

o   CAUTION – at times either insoluble and soluble fibre may not assist in relieving constipation. Please speak to your health care practitioner.

3.Exercise may reduce symptoms of constipation in some people.

4.Add spices to your meals to warm up the body and stimulate evacuation. Cayenne, chilli, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, ginger, turmeric, black pepper.

5.Healthy fats can help lubricate the rectal lining. Coconut/Olive oils, oily fish, avocado and butter.

6.Are you lacking magnesium? Magnesium bisglycinate is a nervous system relaxant and will assist motions to move quickly. Caution: Excess magnesium will result in diarrhoea.

7.De-stress with breathing exercises, journaling, walking in a park, finding a hobby, prayer.

8.Prunes are a natural laxative. 7 prunes or 50g twice daily will get your bowels moving.

9.Are you dairy or lactose intolerant?

10.When you need to go…go. Don’t ignore the urge to pass a motion.


Constipation can be a medical emergency!

Seek medical attention if constipation prolongs.

Learn more from Bowel Cancer Australia

Janelle Tanzer. 

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