Constipation is the difficulty or inability to have a bowel movement (BM) and/or the passing of dry or hard stool or waste. Stool (waste) usually is undigested food, toxins and harmful bacteria that has not yet been eliminated through a bowel movement. If the stool sits too long in the colon before it is evacuated, several things can happen: the stool becomes hard and dry, the bacteria ferments and the stool starts to rot thereby creating toxic materials which can be re-absorbed back into the bloodstream causing autointoxication which is a form of self-poisoning. Those toxins can travel back into the organs, tissues and joints to create any number of illnesses, disorders and conditions. Some of them are headaches, foggy thinking, bad breath (halitosis), bloating, gas, flatulence, indigestion, vericose veins, body odor, overweight, arthritis or achy joints, feeling sluggish, depression, heightened PMS and menopause symptoms and more.
The causes of constipation vary with each person; however, the primary cause is poor dietary habits, such as fast foods, junk foods, sugar and foods that lack fiber. Some of the other causes of constipation are:
1) Medications – for pain, some iron and/or calcium supplements, some cough syrups, antidepressants, heart, antihistamines and blood pressure medications, antacids and antibiotics (read the side effects on all medications).
2) Lack of exercise – which can stimulate the colons muscular contractions
3) Dehydration – which stems from not drinking enough water and caffeinated drinks like coffee and pops which tend to promote dehydration.
4) Holding – not having a (BM) when you feel the urge eventually leads to a sluggish bowel
5) Age, surgeries, structural bowel abnormalities, muscle disorders and bowel diseases are also factors in constipation.
6) Improper mastication – swallowing half eaten or chewed food and not chewing each mouthful of food sufficiently to a semi-liquefied state can cause blockages in the colon
Also, you should have a (BM) after each meal anywhere from 15 mins. to 1 hour after eating, just like babies and animals do. If you eat three meals a day and only have one (BM), that indicates constipation. The body extracts and assimilates the nutrients out of the food, it does not use the bulk, if it did there would be no need to have a bowel movement.
To promote healthy bowel function and to assist in eliminating constipation, some suggestions are:
1) Eat high fiber foods – raw fresh fruits and vegetables (including the skins), brown rice, bran, whole grains, oatmeal, prunes, figs, seeds, barley, dried beans, grapes etc. (soluble fiber absorbs water and toxins, and insoluble fiber adds roughage and bulk to scrape and sweep away impacted waste stuck on the colon walls)
2) Drink plenty of water (drink half of your body weight in ounces – 185 pounds = 1 1/2 gallons daily)
3) Take digestive enzymes, which breaks the food down into a softer state to allow it to pass through the colon easier
4) Incorporate oils (flax, fish oils, and borage) into your diet daily to provide lubrication of the colon and promote regular bowel movements
5) Exercise regularly
6) Position your legs correctly while having a bowel movement. The natural and correct position is to squat, however, toilets are not designed to simulate a natural position so the next best position is to bend forward until your chin or cheek is near or touching your knees. Or, place your feet on top of a small stool or several phone books so that your knees are higher than your hips.
7) Periodically give yourself an enema to reduce the chances of waste impacting on the sides of the colon. Also, a thorough cleanse at least four times a year (when the seasons change) by taking a colon cleanser or getting several colonics
If you are experiencing constipation, especially on a regular basis, you must factor in the short-term and long-term effects. Short-term, your organs are being overtaxed by trying to rid themselves of the toxins and waste built up. And long-term, a dirty colon is the foundation and breading ground for parasites, worms and an endless list of illnesses, disorders and diseases. Avoiding constipation will require a change in your dietary habits as well as your overall lifestyle. It may require totally changing the foods that you are eating, eating home cooked meals instead of eating out and creating an exercise regiment.
You only get one body so take care of it, so it can take care of you!