Constipation Causes & Relief

What Causes Constipation, Really? The 5 most common triggers are:

1. Water/fluid loss/dehydration - this can be a major obstacle. This prevents the colon from having adequate water to use with fiber from the diet to help move them through the bowel.

2. Lack of Digestive Enzymes. Are you getting enough fresh or raw food in your diet for optimal gastrointestinal health? If not, this could be a major factor in causing constipation.

3. Probiotic bacterial imbalance - probiotics can definitely help prevent what causes constipation. Just don't believe all the commercials about gastrointestinal health and yogurt; it usually takes something stronger than that!

4. Lack of fiber  - this can be an issue if the diet is highly refined (white flour and sugars) and low on fruits and vegetables. Your intestinesneed these foods to prevent constipation! When high water content fiber (fruits and vegetables) is not present in the diet, it becomes difficult for the colon to move foods through. This is sort of like what happens to mud when it dries, it clings to whatever it dried on - in this case, the wall of the colon. Refined foods and certain oils make this much more difficult on the colon.

5. Foods that cause constipation:

Refined flours and sugars: And any other type of refined food product that is high in sugar and low in fiber. In example, fast foods, white bread, white rice, etc. These are the most offensive, extremely low water content foods. This is the whole reason behind the fiber supplement industry and the need/use of fiber supplements. Any grains that are highly processed, by definition have much of the fiber removed - this is how they become white. The fibers removed contain much of the nutrition and that is why they hold most of the color. Ever notice that bran products are such a dark color? When you buy oat bran and other fiber products, the manufacturer is selling you the leftovers from the refining process as a fiber/nutritional supplement. Wouldn't it be better to just eat the whole thing in its natural state instead of multiple products from the same food source? I think so! and it certainly makes more sense.

Highly processed oils: Anything hydrogenated, margarine and highly concentrated animal fats, these act as a sticky, nasty mess in the colon. Combined with highly processed vegetable or animal oils/fats and lack of water creates the 'perfect storm' environment for these foods that cause constipation. This mess ends up trapping larger undigested food particles, such as corn kernels, bread, and other poorly chewed foods.

Many caffeinated drinks during the day: These act as a diuretics causing you to lose water, one very important possible cause of constipation.

High fructose corn syrup: This is another form of sugar most everyone has heard of that can act as a binder in the intestines by way of "stickiness" that sugars can have. This is aside from the fact of the know issues with concentrated sugars derived from corn.


Consider the First Three the Most Important!

1. Digestive Enzymes:I believe these are a must-have for relieving constipation and other digestive problems. I personally feel that they have saved my life!  Because DigestEasy™ is the full-spectrum digestive enzymes supplement which contains 15 concentrated enzymes! Working together, these enzymes help to break down all of the food groups you ingest, along with their fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber! These enzymes also help your body to better assimilate vitamins and minerals, which removes a tremendous amount of physical stress from your gastrointestinal tract. When the body is able to assimilate the nutrients in food, irritation to the intestinal lining (which is one of the causes of indigestion) is also prevented, thereby preventing additional intestinal stress symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation, acid reflux, heartburn, and IBS. DigestEasy™ is also 100% hypoallergenic and vegetarian (including the capsule)! Revive our colon with quality enzymes and restore your digestive health! 

2. Probiotics- beneficial bowel bacteria: Much of the beneficial bacteria in the average person’s gut has been removed by antibiotics and poor diet OR have never received beneficial bacteria and colostrum from mother’s milk. You are hearing a lot about this these days, including the yogurt companies bragging that they are putting the probiotics in for your benefit. What they don't tell you is that they took the probiotics out in the first place by pasteurization. Pasteurization not only kills the bacteria but also causes the removal/destruction of numerous other nutrients and beneficial qualities that the company did not 'replace' along with the probiotics. This doesn’t aid well in the quest for optimal gastrointestinal health. There are many probiotic formulas out there and some are formulated to bring relief for constipation. Generally speaking, these are not strong enough to make a significant difference in relieving constipation. What you want in a  probiotic supplement is a multi-strain probiotic product that has active counts of  10 billion or more microorganisms.This will be in a capsule, powder or liquid form. Our adult probiotic formula is one of the strongest you can find in the market - it has 25 billion microorganisms. We did this on purpose - so that you only have to take one small capsule once a day, and not 2-3 as most of the companies will ask you to do. This is the formula I use in my clinic and it has proven to have amazing results! Find out which probiotic bacteria are proven to show relief for constipation here Probiotics for Constipation. 

3. Water and High Water Content Fruits and Vegetables:Simple but true! Relieving constipation is sometimes this easy! Western culture has gotten far away from the biological needs of the body. High water content fruits and vegetables, really should be a much higher percentage of our diet.  Water must be sipped throughout the day, as this is the best way to keep yourself from dehydrating. Attempting to make up a day without adequate fluids by guzzling several glasses of water late in the day does not end in re-hydrating the body — only several trips to the bathroom.  Rehydrating the body can take days, or some believe weeks if the dehydration is severe. This is why when a hospital gets a severe dehydration case, they use intravenous rehydration, as it's faster. 

4. Magnesium Supplements:Many people use magnesium for constipation. Ideally, it would be better to use high water content fruits and vegetables to accomplish optimal magnesium levels. Please read more about magnesium and constipation here: Magnesium and Constipation  

5. Abdominal Massage Therapy: Constipation relief by massage therapy works by manually massaging the abdomen in the motion of normal flow of the colon. This type of massage can 'jump start' the peristalsis to move things along but it must be done by a knowledgeable practitioner.  It can be somewhat uncomfortable if you don't know what to expect. If done rightly, the session will end with the client needing to go to the bathroom immediately to have a bowel movement. Remember though, that it will only be a temporary relief for constipation. If other means we have talked about here are not used to maintain bowel health, constipation will return. Check out the video tutorial I have posted on this here:Relief for Constipation With Abdominal Massage

6. Nauli-yoga (stomach churning). Originally, Nauli yoga was considered one of the top Hatha yoga techniques but somehow got lost when yoga transitioned outside of India.  People inside the United States are just now beginning to hear about this. It is a yoga technique that takes a little effort to learn but pays back many times in its effectiveness.  Nauli is a very powerful technique for optimal gastrointestinal health that should be utilized by anyone who is searching for constipation relief. This exercise strengthens and tightens the abdominal muscles and provides a self-induced massage for internal organs and the intestines.  The Nauli technique is very effective at stimulating bowel movements. The technique is also a great natural prevention method that continues constipation relief when done frequently. I guess you could call it one of the natural remedies for constipation. In addition to its benefits in relieving constipation, Nauli exercise also has the added effect of slimming the abdomen. It really does!  The abdominal slimming created by the technique is due to the contraction and rotation of the inner abdominal muscle (the transversus abdominis) which is not targeted by traditional abdominal exercises like crunches.

7. Oils, fibers, enemas, and colon cleanses.

Castor oil:This is not a comfortable solution (creates a sense of urgency) but it does usually work (not highly recommended). Once again though, you’re treating symptoms and not causes.

Prune Juice:One of the easier ways bring temporary relief for constipation but if constipation is severe, it most likely will not work.

Enemas of different types:  Water, etc. (a forced purging of the colon).

Fiber products (i.e. Metamucil):  All of these types of products are meant to add bulking fiber to an inadequate fiber diet (highly processed white sugar, white flours and processed oils).  Not only are these processed foods low in fiber but they have tremendous mucus forming results, contributing to constipation problems. If you adhere to a high fruit, vegetable, and whole grains diet (all high fiber) it would be extremely unlikely you would ever have the need for a fiber supplement product.

Colon cleansing programs:These can be very useful for removing old food materials from the colon and depending on the product, parasites as well. These usually consist of various sequential supplements of fiber, clay, anti-parasitic herbs, probiotics, and teas. These form a system for cleaning the intestines and removing things that shouldn't be there, 'to clean house' so to speak.  Colon cleanses are the rage in alternative intestinal care right now. You can barely go anywhere health-related online without seeing an advertisement. Many times people will get temporary relief from these types of products, and cleaning the colon is a good idea. Keep in mind that to sustain any real long-term results and relief for constipation that dietary/lifestyle habits will need to change, this is most true if constipation has been a long-term or lifelong battle

What are the foods that relieve constipation?

Raw fruits with high water content:Melons - watermelon, muskmelon, honeydew, etc. These are not typically known as foods that relieve constipation, but their high water content will get you going quick. They key to this making sure you don't eat them with other foods, or worse - at the end of a meal as a desert. Read my page on food combining to see why. Other fruits like peaches, apples, oranges, plums, grapes are great. It's all about high water content and fiber.Fruits are a great source of water and quality fiber for your body. Many times the lack of these is what causes constipation in the first place.

Raw Vegetables and quality greens:Again, it is about water and fiber. Why is raw so important? See my page on Digestive enzymes. The fact is that as far as the human diet goes, fruits and vegetables are highest water content foods we consume, and this is what we need to prevent constipation altogether. Everyone talks about fiber these days but what they are missing is the water content and digestive enzymes link. High fiber and very little watercan actually CAUSE constipation. That is why the fiber supplement manufacturers tell you that you have to drink enough water when using their products.

Whole grains:  Barley, oats, millet, rice, whole wheat, etc. are excellent sources of fiber and have numerous other vitamin and mineral benefits. Whole grains and there bulking fiber, are excellent foods that relieve constipation, especially when combined with vegetables and /or salads made of quality greens and a variety of other vegetables.

Prunes and prune juice:The natural remedy for constipation that just about everyone has heard of. Prunes are the food constipation relief King, they are a natural laxative, and yes they really do work, especially the juice. Prune juice constipation relief works most of the time.

Why doesn't prune juice work for everyone?In my experience, the people that prune juice constipation relief doesn't work for are stress cases. These people are psychologically stressed. In other words, their nervous system is causing the problem. Their diet can be fantastic, with all the foods that relieve constipation and yet they have no relief.