What exactly is constipation?
Constipation is thought to affect a quarter of the population at some time.
Constipation is not necessarily irregularity. It has to do with the hardness of the stool (bowel motion) rather than how often one is passed. In a healthy individual one or more motions per day is desirable. The quicker toxins are eliminated from our body the less time they have to either ferment or cause other problems.
Mostly constipation is due to poor dietary habits, or by not going to the toilet when nature calls! This results in the bowel reabsorbing water and therefore making the stool hard. Stop that car, leave that meeting, if “yer gotta go, yer gotta go”! We should all try to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day.
Individuals suffering from constipation need to look at their daily intake of fiber, vegetables and fruit. There is really no excuse for not taking in fiber. There are many delicious choices for fiber rich foods. “The Liver Cleansing Diet book“ has brilliant advice and ideas in this area.
Some drugs including analgesics that contain codeine and some anti-depressants can cause constipation. The same may be true of other medications. If you suspect your medication, then check with your doctor.
Many of our older readers would have heard of Cascara, senna or psyllium husks. These remedies have been around for a very long time. Or perhaps the perennial glass of warm water with lemon juice upon rising each day. The very best way to set things right is to improve your diet. It is not good practice to rely on laxatives and they can cause dependence very quickly. Just to add a little “metaphysical” side to this question. In her book “You Can Heal Your Life” Louise Hay says constipation sufferers are “Refusing to release old ideas, or are stuck in the past”. Definitely worth a thought!
Eating large amounts of cooked and processed foods can contribute to sluggish bowels. Over a period of time, a layer of toxic waste products may build up on the lining of the sluggish bowel. This build-up can cause inflammation in the bowel, and the toxins are absorbed from the bowel and travel back to the liver via the portal vein. The liver has to work much harder to break down these internally produced toxins and symptoms of liver dysfunction may result. Thus constipation can lead to headaches, abdominal bloating, fatigue, allergies and skin problems.
Regular daily well-formed bowel movements without straining should be normal. This reduces the risk of conditions such as appendicitis, hiatus hernia, abdominal hernias, hemorrhoids and colon cancer. If the bowel moves as often as food is eaten, say 2 to 3 times a day, this can help reduce a build-up of toxic waste products in the bowel.
Common causes of constipation are –
- A diet deficient in fiber and/or raw fruits and vegetables.
- Food intolerance; most commonly to gluten and/or dairy products
- Lack of exercise
- Dehydration with inadequate intake of water.
- Abuse of laxatives or drug side effects.
- Under activity of the thyroid gland.
- Nervous tension
- A structural abnormality of the bowel.
“The normal frequency of bowel actions varies greatly between people. You should have from one to four bowel actions a day. They should be a brownish colour, be soft and grainy and passed without undue straining. Many of my patients have told me that their stools have changed significantly after commencing the Liver Cleansing Diet. In particular they find that they are softer, easier to pass and much longer. They may contain obvious pieces of undigested vegetables such as sweet corn skins, small parts of plant skins and small parts of leaves. This is a good sign because this increased fibre acts like a broom to cleanse the bowel walls. Signs to worry about are red blood or a black colour in the stools, or an obvious change in bowel habits from your normal pattern. It is good to look at each bowel action after you pass it to check for general appearance and blood or blackness.”
This condition can be improved with good effort on your part, by the use of diet, supplements, colonic irrigation therapy, walking and swimming exercises daily.
Follow the principles of eating in “The Healthy Liver and Bowel Book” found on page 126 onwards and follow recipes in this book, including juice recipes daily.
Drink up to one liter of juice daily e.g. carrot juice freshly squeezed. Consult a very experienced colonic irrigation therapist.
Treatment and general recommendations
- Follow the principles of eating outlined in “The Healthy Liver and Bowel Book“ Good liver function is vitally important as bile is the body’s own laxative. This way of eating must be followed for life. It is not hard. You can use the recipes in the back as a guide and make your own recipes/meals up as long as they stick to those basic principles.
- Include often – a good variety of high fiber foods such as raw vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- It’s also vital to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.
- Linseeds (or Flaxseeds) are excellent to assist with constipation as these have the action of lubricating the bowel. A good way to take linseed is in a mix called LSA – this is Linseed, Sunflower and Almond meal – this can be purchased or you can make your own with a coffee grinder – the recipe is in “The Healthy Liver and Bowel Book”
- Avoid ALL margarines and similar type spreads.
- Avoid deep fried foods.
- Avoid sugary processed foods and drinks
- Avoid gluten (found in wheat, rye, oats and barley) and all foods containing these. Gluten is a digestive irritant.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners; see www.dorway.com
Other recommended books
- “The Ultimate Detox Book“
- “Raw Juices Can Save Your Life“
- “MAGNESIUM The Miracle Mineral You won’t believe the DIFFERENCE it makes to your HEALTH!
- “The Liver Cleansing Diet“
An appropriate juicing recipe is the “Constipation’ juice on page 73 found in the “Raw Juices Can Save Your Life” book.
A blend of apple and pear juice is a great regulator or try juicing a combination of parsley, carrots, garlic and celery for a wonderful spring clean. Avoid excessive tea drinking, too many dairy products and refined processed foods.
Tests For Bowel and Digestive Function
Barium Enema X ray
To help improve bowel movements and symptoms, supplements can assist, but check with your doctor that there has not been a blockage or twist in the colon before starting.
- Take 1 teaspoon twice daily or 2 capsules with meals. A good formula will include a combination of herbs, taurine and vegetables which are very high in fibre, thus also useful for sluggish digestive function such as constipation.
- Take one tablespoon daily with breakfast – A gluten free fiber powder containing soy bran, rice bran and pectin will help to cleanse the toxins from the bowel – fiber formulas are suitable for all types of constipation, as they act like an “intestinal broom,” sweeping the walls of the colon clean, and so removing layers of encrusted and dried faecal matter. These are safe to use in the long term and for general health benefits.
- Take 2 tablets twice daily or 1 teaspoon daily in water or raw juice – A formula containing different forms of magnesium is effective for aiding bowel muscle tone.
- Take 1 -3 capsules three times daily before meals to aid in enhancing sluggish digestion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
- Take 1/2 teaspoon twice daily in a little water or raw juice – MSM is an organic sulphur and is very beneficial for the liver as it assists detoxification pathways. It has also been shown to be of benefit in assisting those with constipation.