Today’s topic is not comfortable for a lot of people. When talking about stool, poop, excrement or evacuation people want to hide. I want to change the equation. I actually am abnormal; I love talking about stool.
Ask my patients, they will tell you we talk about their stool, its consistency, color and frequency a lot. Why, because it tells me a lot about you and your current state of health. So I am going to encourage you to get over the saying, “How gross.”
Your poop consists of the toxins your body needs to dump . That is not a pun on words but the truth. If you do not rid your body of its toxins you will re-absorb them back into your circulation or blood stream.
Many individuals do not have regular stool evacuation daily. Some individuals believe having a bowel movement three times a week is adequate. No way, it must be daily and 12- 18 inches I tell the patients I serve.
However, the number and frequency of bowels a week is a negotiated detail in medicine. A majority of doctors think three times a week is a charm. You need to have a bowel movement daily on average.
Having less frequent stools than is normal for you or is noticeably different than your typical pattern is a sign you may be constipated. Your bowels should move at minimum once a day, preferably in the morning 30-60 minutes after arising.
Constipation can develop suddenly and last briefly or it can be a lifetime reality for some. Constipation is a condition of infrequent bowel evacuation or uncomfortable bowel movements. Constipation is further described as straining with bowel movements; passage of small, hard stools; or a sense that one has not emptied their rectum completely.
A majority of individuals would state they feel better after eliminating their excrement. It is not just the concern of our elders but one at every age at different points in time. So what causes constipation?
Some individuals report constipation when traveling, others with a change in food and others after strenuous activity and not drinking enough water. You see our solid waste contains toxins which come from our air, food, water and the chemicals we are exposed too. Constipation occurs when the waste (stool) from the food that is digested moves too slowly (slow transit) as it passes through the digestive tract.
There a number of reasons why constipation occurs. Dehydration, changes in diet and activity, and certain medications can make transit time slowed. When stool moves slowly, too much water is absorbed back into the colon making the stool hard and dry. Gradual enlargement of the rectum and impaired coordination of the pelvic and anal muscles can then cause constipation.
A rare cause for constipation is a bowel obstruction which is serious but uncommon. A contributing factor here could be prior abdominal surgery with the development of adhesions (bands of fiberous tissue) forming gradually after surgery that can constrict stool passage.
A more common reason for constipation is the drugs we are taking which include iron, opioids; some high blood pressure medications such as Calcium Channel Blockers, drugs with drying effects (anticholinergic like antihistamines, sedatives and antidepressants); antacids that contain calcium or aluminum hydroxide; and some drugs used to stop nausea (serotonin antagonists).
Another reason for constipation is your thyroid gland may not be functioning properly. Get a blood test to rule that out. Other disorders that can contribute to developing constipation are diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, high blood calcium and nerve or spinal cord injury.
Lastly a diet low in fiber and the consumption of highly processed foods can stop up your digestive system making stool evacuation difficult and slow. Processed foods are low in fiber. High fiber foods hold water in the stool and increase its bulk and ease its passage.
Stool that contains less water will move more slowly through the digestive tract. So fruits and vegetables are critical and processed foods are not your friend. The causes of constipation presented here are not exhaustive. Your pooper shooter needs to work otherwise the toxins that re-circulate can cause headaches, fatigue, weight gain, irritability and depression,
You are in control of your health and how your digestive system works. Start now to make the necessary changes to make your bowels function properly. Drink half of your body weight in water a day, stay clear of processed foods, add more fruits and vegetables to your meals daily and start moving even if it is dancing in place.
I am going to add to this discussion with audio tapes from two colon therapists so you can hear from the experts. They are passionate about digestive health, gut transit time, stool consistency and color and daily evacuation.
Awareness is the first key to digestive wellness. Start paying attention to how your digestive system is working or not working. Prevention is the key to constipation.
To your health,
Remnant Health Center