Getting Clear On Constipation By Getting To The Root Of The Problem

What is your definition of constipation?

Having to strain? Passing hard, dry or painful stools? Having less than three bowel movements a week?

Let me set the record straight. If you have ever studied healthy indigenous cultures, you would find that they have a bowel movement within 12 hours of every meal and typically multiple times per day!

These people have pristine digestion (the way we were all meant to be) and are free of degenerative disease. So, if you aren’t passing at least 12 inches of well formed, stool every single day then you ARE constipated!

What Your Ideal Stool Should Look Like?

In 1997 the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology first published the chart suggested by a doctor from the University of Bristol, UK Ken Heaton. It was called Bristol Stool Chart and it classifies stool into seven types based on the familiar shapes like snakes and sausages.

Bristol Stool Chart graphic by Kyle Thompson

Bristol Stool Chart graphic by Kyle Thompson

The chart was designed to help doctors to diagnose digestive problems:

  • Anything between a Bristol 1-3 is considered constipated
  • Type 4 and Type 5 are generally considered ideal forms
  • Type 6 and 7 are considered diarrhea

Evaluation of you stool and transit time can give you a good idea if you are constipated. Remember that

So, even if you are going daily, if your transit time is longer than this, then you are still constipated.

I know what you are thinking… “Constipation is not a big deal. Half the world is constipated.”

Let me explain what constipation is doing to you internally. It is as simple as this. The longer your waste sits inside you, the more of it you reabsorb into your body.

And there is a reason it is suppose to leave your body. It is full of toxins that the bad bugs feed on and your body desperately wants to get rid of it. So if you are constipated then you are also toxic and creating a breeding ground for parasites, harmful bacteria, and yeast/fungi.

There you have some food for thought for the next time you miss a day or strain to go to the bathroom! Let’s explore some of the worst options that many of you are using to try to stay regular. Yes, we are going to talk about laxatives.

Worst Laxatives:

1. Stimulant Laxatives – Ex-Lax, Dulcolax, similar alternatives
2. Stool Softeners – Colace and similar alternatives
3. Osmotic Laxatives – Milk of Magnesia, Epsom Salt, and similar alternatives

Stimulant Laxatives and Stool Softeners contain harsh and toxic chemicals that create inflammation inside the digestive tract. They all create dependence which is why people who use them have to keep using them. Stimulant Laxatives also weaken the bowel and rectal muscles which creates a whole new set of problems!

So What Should You Do?

I attack constipation from all angles. I start with the most common causes and work from there.

The first most common cause of constipation is dehydration. To maintain proper hydration you should drink a minimum of ½ your body weight in ounces of water every day. So if you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water daily. If you are consuming caffeinated beverages then you need to be drinking even more!

The second most common cause is hypothyroidism. Your thyroid regulates your metabolism and when it doesn’t produce an adequate amount of thyroid hormones your digestion slows down. When this happens you become constipated and are most likely to have other digestive issues such as indigestion and acid reflux due to lower production of stomach acid, SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth) due to longer transit time and the list goes on and on.

The third most common cause of constipation is poor dietary choices. Most people eat highly processed foods with very little fiber and nutrients. Not only do these foods feed harmful parasites, bacteria, and yeast/fungi they do not provide enough bulk to produce a well formed stool.

Your diet should be focused on whole foods such as meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and other unprocessed foods. These foods contain essential nutrients and adequate fiber. Processed, packaged, and fast foods should be avoided. Initially, I recommend my constipated clients checking their thyroid and begin with hydration, diet, and the addition of a stool bulking agent.

A stool bulking agent is the gentlest form of laxative that actually has beneficial properties. It does not create any form of dependency nor does it contain any harsh chemicals or toxins. It is an all natural source of fiber that strengthens the bowels by promoting peristalsis. It also has the added benefit of cleaning the intestinal walls of stool debris build-up.

Karen Brimeyer

Karen Brimeyer

Karen Brimeyer is a Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Health Consultant who has helped over a hundred personal clients heal their Leaky Gut and digestive problems, lose weight, and resolve their chronic health conditions.

Learn more about how to heal Leaky Gut and resolve your chronic health symptoms and conditions in her Free Leaky Gut Presentation.

P.S. Do you like what you read and want to get more? This guest article is a part of Free Leaky Gut Series. You can sign up for the series and also get a Free Report: How To Heal Leaky Gut Without Spending A Fortune On Supplements And Being Stuck On A Restrictive Diet Forever written by Karen Brimeyer by clicking HERE