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Home > Research Department  > Health Concerns Articles > Constipation
    Health Concerns Articles  
CONSTIPATION
Articles by a Naturopathic Doctor ( N.D.)
Last Updated:

BLOCKED

For some people, a simple daily routine like using the toilet can be painful. Toxins must be eliminated effectively, so if you experience frequent constipation, it's important to do something about it.
Frustrating and often overlooked as a serious medical condition, constipation can cause problems if left unrelieved.  While many factors contribute to constipation, many of these are within our control...
Constipation is not a disease in itself but it is a symptom of another problem.  It is defined as difficulty in passing stool or the infrequent passage of stool.  The resulting stool may cause pain and bleeding as it passes, because it is so hard and dry.  Constipation is very unhealthy because it impedes the ability of your body to release toxins.  Most cases of constipation can be improved with lifestyle and diet changes.  If those changes do not seem to help then a further investigation should be performed to rule out more serious pathology.

Natural and conventional treatment of constipation involves the use of laxatives.  Just because a laxative is natural does not mean that you cannot become dependant on it.

Bulk forming agents increase the bulk and water content of stool.  They are the only laxatives that are safe to use every day.  Psyllium, bran, flaxseeds, apple pectin and chicory root are examples of natural bulk formers.

Stool softeners soften fecal matter so that it passes more easily.  Pharmaceutical stool softeners, like mineral oil and docusate sodium, should not be taken daily because they can decrease vitamin absorption, alter drug concentrations and cause liver damage.  Natural stool softeners are cold pressed oils.  They also provide essential fatty acids for the health of the intestinal cells.

What you can do to relieve constipation:

- TAKE A FIBER SUPPLEMENT.
- EAT MORE VEGGIES.
- USE ACIDOPHILUS.
- ELIMINATE ALLERGENIC FOODS.
- CONTROL STRESS WITH THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS AND EXERCISE LIKE TAI CHI OR YOGA.
- DRINK 8 GLASSES OF WATER DAILY
- AVOID REFINED WHITE FLOUR PRODUCTS
- EAT PRUNES

DID YOU KNOW?
(CONSTIPATION FACTS)

- Long term use of laxatives can cause further constipation.
- Undiagnosed food allergies may play a role in constipation.
- Constipation causes you to absorb toxins through the intestinal wall that would normally be excreted.

Osmotic agents pull more water into the intestine to stimulate bowel movements.  They can cause dependency with repeated use.  Examples are magnesium, milk of magnesia, Epsom salts and sorbitol. Stimulant laxatives irritate the intestine to cause a bowel movement.  They can cause damage and dependency with repeated usage.  Natural and pharmaceutical examples are bisacodyl, senna, cascara sagrada and castor oil.

Lifestyle changes to help with constipation include regular exercise and stress reduction.  Never suppress the urge to defecate.  Do not strain to pass stool because it can contribute to hemorrhoid formation.

Minimize straining by ensuring that your thighs are parallel to the floor when sitting on the toilet.  Use a footstool if necessary.

Tackling the emotional aspects of constipation should also be undertaken.  It can sometimes reflect the inability to “let go” of certain things that have happened in a person’s life.  Sometimes this emotional connection can even go back to trauma in childhood.  Abdominal massage and hydrotherapy can be helpful to regulate bowel movements.

Some ways you can ease the symptoms of and prevent and treat constipation are: take a close look at your diet and try to identify irritating substances, drink 8-10 8oz glasses of water per day, try a cleanse specifically made for the colon which can clean the colon of any build-up and improve its functioning, get enough fibre by eating a high-fibre and low-fat diet, stimulate the digestive tract in the morning with a glass of warm water and lemon and be sure to consume vegetables, figs, prunes, whole grains and fresh fruits with skins. Some foods to avoid include, spicy food, salt, coffee, processed food, dairy, fats and alcohol. 

The following list of supplements can be used for preventing and treating constipation.  Adult doses are given.   (CLICK SUPPLEMENT NAME FOR PRODUCTS).

SUPPLEMENT DOSAGE THERAPEUTIC EFFECT
Fiber (Psyllium) As directed on labelling.  Powder is better than caps. A bulking agent.  Helps to scrub intestinal wall clean.  Use apple, rice, or another fiber if sensitive to psyllium.
Bioxy CLEANSE As directed on labeling.  Powder is better than caps. Helps break up encrusted waste matter. Relaxes the intestinal wall.
Digestive enzymes With meals.  As directed on labeling Helps to ensure proper digestion of food.
Probiotics / Acidophilus As directed on labelling Helps to properly digest foods.  Limits harmful bacteria in the gut.  Enhances the immune system.
Vitamin B complex 100mg daily Essential for digestion and nervous system regulation.  Use a hypoallergenic formula.
Essential Fatty acids As directed on labelling A natural stool softener.  Anti-inflammatory.
Calcium and magnesium Calcium 1500 mg daily, magnesium 750 mg daily Needed for muscle tone and muscle contraction. 
Chlorophyll 1tbsp daily in a glass of water Helps eliminate toxins.  A natural deodorizer.
Aloe vera juice ½ a cup morning and night Heals the colon, lubricates the intestinal lining and decreases pain.
Also beneficial for CONSTIPATION: Multivitamins, multi-enzymes, vitamin C, vitamin A, Vitamin E, vitamin D, medicinal clay, aerobic oxygen, garlic, L-glutamine, ginger, milk thistle, triphala.
For informational purposes only.  Please consult your health care practitioner before taking natural health care products. Click here for full disclaimer.


All articles copyright National Nutrition 2001 - 2015.  For educational purposes only.  Please note that while National Nutrition supports your right to use natural health care products for any therapeutic purpose that you see fit, that the information on this website should not be considered as a claim or as a substitute for medical advice.

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