If you’re struggling with constipation, here’s 10 natural ways to find some relief.
Constipation is NO fun.
Not having regular bowel movements (meaning you poop a solid 1-3 times per day with ease) can leave you feeling sluggish, congested, + bloated. And this can eventually lead to health issues in the rest of the body.
What is constipation?
Constipation is defined as an acute or chronic condition in which bowel movements occur less often than usual or consist of hard, dry stools that are painful or difficult to pass. According to many medical doctors, you are considered constipated if you have less than three bowel movements per week.
But I’m here to tell you that pooping just three times per week is NOT normal. It may be common, but it is not NORMAL. In order to be eliminating properly, we should aim for 1-3 bowel movements per day. Transit time from eating to evacuation should be less than 24 hours.
why is it important to poop?
Optimal wellness depends on your body’s ability to effectively process food and to eliminate bodily waste. The five drainage pathways in the body are the colon, kidneys, skin, lungs, and uterus.
The colon is at the bottom of the drainage pathway of the body, meaning that if the bowels are not flowing and evacuating, everything else upstream gets backed up. The rest of the body’s natural elimination pathways are not able to flow and eliminate.
Stagnation breeds disease. Our planet has never been so polluted. We are exposed to more toxins than ever before. It’s in our food, water, air, personal care products, furniture, etc. Everything we eat, drink, breathe, and put on our bodies ends up in our colon. If we are not having regular bowel movements, waste builds up in the body and we do not eliminate these toxic chemicals. This leads to disease in the rest of the body.
Causes of constipation
reasons for constipation can include:
• lack of movement
• too little fiber in diet
• poor food choices
• parasites + other infections
5 symptoms of constipation
Wondering if you’re constipated? The first thing to consider is your frequency of bowel movements and how you are feeling in general with your digestive tract. Here are 5 symptoms to look for:
- bloating and/or gas
- fewer than one bowel movement per day
- hard lumpy stools (see Bristol Stool Chart #1 and #2)
- straining to have bowel movements
- sense of needing to go but unable to
If this is you, I highly recommend finding some ways to get your bowels moving in a better way. Built up waste and toxins in the bowels can lead to so many health issues down the road.
10 Natural Ways to Relieve Constipation
a hydrated colon is a happy colon. Drinking enough water is crucial to having good bowel movements. A good rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces (if you weigh 140 pounds = 70 ounces) per day.
Keeping the body moving can stimulate bowel movements (and relieve gas/bloating). Think regular exercise like walking, yoga, biking, etc.
A healthy diet rich in plant foods can help keep the bowels moving. The right kind of fiber bulks up the stool + makes it softer (easier to pass). Unfortunately, if you are extremely constipated, more fiber may make you feel worse. You may need to eat more of a liquid diet (juices, smoothies, pureed soups) until you can start having more regular bowel movements. Then transition tot a healthy diet full of plant foods.
Stress makes constipation worse. Chronic stress aggravated and disrupts the digestive system. It is impossible to be in rest and digest AND fight of flight at the same time. If we are in constant motion and never slowing down, we cannot properly digest our food. Calming the mind can calm the digestive tract.
5. Ginger Tea
Ginger is a prokinetic, meaning it promotes movement in the bowels, helping our food move through in a better way. It is calming, soothing, and stimulating – all at the same time. Ginger also helps expel built up gas in the bowels, I prefer fresh, raw ginger tea. Simply steep grated fresh ginger in hot water for 10 minutes + strain.
Magnesium is another prokinetic to help move food through the digestive tract. It can be super helpful with constipation. There are several different kinds of magnesium (including mag citrate, mag glycinate, and mag oxide.) Every person is different so each type will work differently. For daily magnesium, I use either glycinate or citrate. For occasional use, I use Oxy-Powder from Global Healing. It is very powerful and will seriously get things moving but is not meant for daily use.
7. Water Enemas
Simple water enemas can be really helpful for constipation. Water enemas clear out the lower part of the colon, called the descending colon. This can help relieve bloating and feelings of fullness. They also creates space in the colon for more waste to pass through. Learn more about enemas HERE.
Colonics do 3 things: hydrate, evacuate, and stimulate. All of this is amazing for relieving constipation. A hydrated colon simply works better. Removing built up waste from the colon helps you feel better. And stimulating the colon strengthens the muscles of the colon, improving the natural function of your digestive system.
9. Smooth Move Tea
While I do not recommend using laxative herbs like Senna longterm (because they can affect the nerves of the colon and your bowels can become dependent on them), occasional use of Smooth Move Tea can be helpful when you just NEED to get things going.
10. Salt Water Flush
A salt water flush is designed to help you cleanse your colon and digestive system by bringing on a forced bowel movement. It involves drinking a mixture of salt and water to bring on a bowel movement. It is most effective if you perform it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.