7 Natural Ways to Get BMs Smooth and Easy - Constipation 101
October 20, 2015
Tina came to me in a hushed voice and looking a little embarrassed said to me, “So, Janelle, do you work at all with issues like constipation? I’m having such a hard time…well….you know….being regular.”
As Tina and I talked more, I came to find out that not only was she having a hard time being regular, she was:
Suffering from stomach cramps
Frequent gas and bloating
When it was time to go she had to bear down so hard that her face felt like it was turning purple
After all this hard work, her only reward was a few pellets coming out.
When she got really desperate, she would resort to Metamucil or even suppositories. Coffee used to help her be regular, but now didn’t seem to make a difference at all.
The same week I talked to Tina, I talked to a mom whose daughter was going poop only every 3-5 days, a friend of mine who shared that she thought it was normal that she was only going 1x a week because she thought her body was absorbing so many nutrients that it didn’t need to expel as much, and a neighbor of mine made a joking comment that he’d been stopped up for all his life and doesn’t even know what a normal BM is like…hah, hah….he says.
As weird as it sounds, I love to think about poop, what the body needs in order to create a great poop, and helping folks have awesome moments of incredible relief on the toilet with a beautiful bowel movement.
If you’ve ever suffered from constipation, you understand how incredible it is to finally have a free flowing, nicely formed poop.
If you or someone in your family suffers from plugged up bowels, then...
Welcome to constipation 101!
Immediate Relief – Anyone with constipation first and foremost wants relief and to get things going. Expulsion needs to happen now…who cares about long term dietary overhauls at this point. The point is to get things a-flowin.
Here are 7 things you can do now to support the natural flow of your poop:
Magnesium…top favorite and most are highly responsive to this. You can start with small amounts of magnesium to help keep the bowels flowing. Many adults and children use and have great results with Natural Calm. Having a warm cup of water mixed with the Natural Calm at night is ideal. This works wonders for adults and kids.
Water and lemon juice – make sure it is warm. The warm water serves to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis—the waves of muscle contractions within the intestinal walls that keep things moving. Lemons are high in minerals and vitamins that help remove toxins in the digestive tract.
Minerals in water. My friend and colleague, Caroline Barringer, speaks beautifully about the importance of the sodium potassium balance for peristalsis. She introduced me to Anderson's Sea M. D. minerals in water (just follow the directions on the bottle and it's available on Amazon) or Drucker Labs "Intra-Min" product. A general guideline for kids is to reduce the dosage by ¼ for young kids (5 and up) or by ½ for kids 10 and up
Chiropractic adjustment. This can help with manipulative correction of anything that might be impairing digestion. A local chiropractor explained to me, “Muscles in the intestine push stool to the anus, where stool leaves the body. Special nerve cells in the intestine, called ganglion cells, make the muscles push. These nerves connect directly to the celiac ganglion, which also innervates the stomach, liver, gallbladder, spleen, kidney, small intestine, and the ascending and transverse colon. The celiac ganglion, in turn connects to the spinal cord (and the brain) through nerve roots that exit the spine in the lower thoracic and upper lumbar region. Pressure on these nerve roots caused by misalignment of the vertebrae in this area may interfere with the normal function of the bowel as well as other organs of the digestive system.”
Get in a parasympathetic state through the use of essential oils. Digestion (which includes elimination) is a parasympathetic process. This means that the parasympathetic part of your nervous system needs to be activated for optimal digestion. Many are in a constant state of stress or feeling on-the-go. Sometimes therapeutic support from essential oils can help switch your body out of the stressed/sympathetic state to a relaxed/parasympathetic state. One of my favorite oils for this and supporting constipation is Vibrant Blue Oils…Parasympathetic Blend. Applying this oil to the vagal nerve is necessary to support peristalsis.
Squatty Potty. This is just what it sounds like…a stool to help you squat while you are on the toilet to support better elimination. The puborectalis muscle creates a natural kink to help maintain continence. The squatty Potty relaxes this muscle for fast, easy elimination. Our typical sitting position only partially opens this muscle which results in waste being blocked. Here is a funny video explaining this in a sort-of crazy way :)
Abdominal massage. Doing this several times a day (in the direction of the natural flow of digestion) is also helpful. Abdominal massages can help stimulate the muscles and organs required to produce a bowel movement. You can also mix a few drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil like almond or coconut oil while doing the massage.
Long term constipation support - Chronic constipation is almost always caused by intestinal dysbiosis...an imbalance of good and bacteria in the gut. And in particular, it’s often caused by a lack of bifidobacteria in the large intestine. There’s a strong association between low levels of bifido and constipation.
The long-term goal, is to rebalance that gut flora, and that will eventually resolve the chronic constipation. Patience is necessary in rebuilding the gut flora because it can takes months to cultivate a balanced inner-ecosystem…especially if you are older and have been living with an unbalanced gut flora (leaky gut, SIBO, etc) for years.
Probiotics. In order to start rebalancing the gut flora (switching from an environment of pathogentic bacterial overgrowth to an environment of at least 80% beneficial bacterial overgrowth to 20% opportunistic bacteria) you can start to incorporate probiotics SLOWLY. Slow is key so the gut has time to balance naturally along with the microbes. Otherwise, if a gut is severely imbalanced and toxic, native microbes will go in and start to colonize and take over with powerful force. They will start to do their job and displace pathogenic bacteria and change the pH of the gut so that it isn't hospitable to them any longer. The dislocation and die-off of these pathogenic microbes can be harsh and overwhelming if done too quickly.
Probiotics through food (sauerkraut, small amounts of tart kombucha, kefir, beet kvass, kimchi).
Food. Food choices are key in helping to establish a balanced gut environment.
Some key foods to include are bone broth and coconut oil as both contain nutrients to support the soothing and healing of the gut lining.
Eliminate dairy….An intolerance to dairy (even a low-grade intolerance) is one of the biggest culprits in constipation. Try removing dairy for 2-3 weeks and see if you notice any changes.
Hydration. Feces is composed of about 75% water and 25% solid. Normally the colon will reabsorb about 90% of this water. However if the body is dehyadrated, the body will reabsorb even more water. The solids temporarily stored in the colon will then lose a great deal of water, and therefore the stools lose a great amount of bulk. This results to slower passage of stools down the colon, and therefore constipation.
Voila…congrats! You made it through constipation 101. How did you do? Ready to get things moving?
I’d love to hear your experiences in dealing with constipation or questions below…
(I do understand you might be shy to say anything here in a public place. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this more or if you are interested in a free health consult to begin supporting your digestion and beautiful bowel movements!)