Many people skip a day of having a bowel movement and if this happens occasionally (less than a few times in a year) then probably nothing to worry about. However, if you are regularly skipping “number two” then it might be time to take a deeper look into what is going on.
Regular, healthy, efficient bowel movements are foundational to our overall health. You should be going at least 1 time a day (and upto 3 if everything is optimal) If we are not going, then waste is getting backed up in our system. That waste releases toxins back into the body and can cause stress, inflammation and other health issues.
We need our digestive system to work from top to bottom. What goes in – must come out – regularly.
If we find ourselves chronically constipated, we need to discover what the root cause is and work to support our bodies natural function.
So, what are the main reasons people get back up? Let’s explore!
Problem #1: Dehydration
Too many people are not getting enough fluids, and this causes our stools to become hard, making them difficult to pass. Our digestive system is dependent on our hydration.
Solution: Drink up – WATER
Drink ½ our body weight in ounces to support your hydration. Drinks like caffeinated beverages, juices and soda increase dehydration. Avoid these beverages while working on your constipation.
Problem #2: LOW fiber
With all the different dietary protocols out there, we lose sight of how much fiber we are consuming. Gluten free, Keto, Paleo – if we are not careful, we drop our overall fiber number and then we are in trouble.
Solution: Track (and increase) Fiber
Fiber isn’t digested by the body – it acts as a bulking agent. It travels through the digestive system absorbing and binding the waste together to help the body form stool. Fiber also is a source of food for our beneficial bacteria. Track your fiber for a few days. Women shoot for 25g of fiber a day and men 30g of fiber a day.
Problem #3: Low functioning Thyroid
The thyroid is responsible for many different functions in the body including digestive functions. If your colon is “slow” it might be because your thyroid has slowed down. Probably half the clients I work with have undiagnosed low functioning thyroid or it has been mismanaged.
Solution: Get tested
If you’ve been working on improving constipation and you’re not seeing results. It might be time to get your thyroid tested. BUT don’t settle for just your TSH number. You need to see how the whole thyroid is doing. Request: TSH AND T4, FreeT4, FreeT3, Reverse T3 and T3 Uptake. If you know you have a slow thyroid and are on support but not seeing results – ask to have the thyroid antibodies checked.
Problem #4 You’ve developed food sensitivities.
Ugh. I hate to say it but some of us are walking around sensitive to foods we love and consume on a regular basis. Gluten containing grains, corn, eggs, soy and dairy are the top 5 food sensitivities. These foods can cause inflammation in some individuals and as a result slow the bowel down – especially dairy.
Solution: Remove the top 5 common and/or get tested
Avoid the top 5 but getting food sensitivity testing is a shorter route to exactly what your body is voting no on. Elimination diets work if money is tight but my preference is test don’t guess as we get right to the bottom of the problem.
Problems #5 You’re hosting unfriendly bacteria
Your gut microbiome is a garden of bacteria and we want the population to be mostly beneficial. The good bacteria help us breakdown our waste, absorb our food and keep our immune system healthy. BUT on occasion our bacterial garden can take a hit and leave room for unfriendly bacteria to overpopulate. This can happen from stress, antibiotics, or other inflammation. If your garden is unbalanced for too long you might find yourself with Candida (yeast overgrowth) or SIBO.
Solution: Add in probiotics and perhaps get tested
If your digestive health is newly compromised, then adding in a professional probiotic can help support the rebalancing of your gut health. You’ll want one that has bifidobacteria and lactobacillus strains. More is NOT always better. If you are new to probiotics start with about 10billion CFU’s.
If you have been dealing with this for a long time, I suggest getting a stool test. I run the GI MAP. This allows me to see your healthy, opportunistic, and pathogenic bacteria. We also get to understand if your digestive system is working well and digesting the foods you are consuming. With this information we can work to rebalance your digestive health and get it running as it should.
I know it is frustrating to not have efficient bowel health. I help people just like you restore balance to their digestive health. If you are feeling stuck, you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out as I would love to help you.
OR start with my online Healthy Gut program – 6 weeks to reset your digestive health. A great way to kickstart your digestive health.