Quit Constipation and normalize daily bowel movements!
But first, bowel education.
There is no “normal” number of bowel movements. Healthy bowel movement frequency can range from three times a day to three times a week.
However, full bowels can place an increased strain on the pelvic floor, cause the need for straining to poop, stretch the colon/rectum and decrease the urge to poop, and slow bowel transit time increases the number of “bad” bacteria in the gut. You can think of the gut like a creek; moving healthy water versus stagnant water that has more time to build up algae and bad bacteria.
For optimal pelvic floor health, we want to have a daily bowel movement that is soft like a ripe banana, without straining to poop.
Changing bowel habits can be a slow process, so don’t be frustrated if your lifestyle changes don’t show immediate improvement.
Here’s some tips how you can help your body accomplish this:
Drink plenty of water
The colon is one of the places in your body where water reabsorption occurs. The longer a poop remains in the colon, the more water is drawn from it back into the body, and the more difficult it becomes to have that bowel movement. Staying hydrated is the best thing you can do for your bowels. Aim to drink about 1 oz of water per pound of your body weight daily. (eg: if you weigh 150 lbs, then you should aim for 75 oz water per day). You may want more water on days you exercise or sweat a lot.
Eat more Fiber
- A fiber rich diet helps to keep your poop the right consistency so it doesn’t get “stuck”.
- Fiber rich diets include plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- There are two types of fibers: soluble and insoluble. Both types can prevent and relieve constipation and diarrhea, although some people find one or the other to be more easily digested. Let’s look at both types of fiber.
- dissolves in water
- binds with fatty acids
- lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) therefore reducing the risk of heart disease regulates blood sugar for people with diabetes
- prolongs stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly
- foods that contain more soluble fiber: Oat/Oat bran, Nuts, Barley, Psyllium husk, chia seeds, flax seeds
- doesn’t dissolve in water
- moves bulk through the intestines
- controls and balances the pH (acidity) in the intestines
- promotes regular bowel movement and prevents constipation
- removes toxic waste through colon in less time
- keeps an optimal pH in intestines to prevent microbes from producing cancer substances, therefore helping to prevent colon cancer –
- foods that contain more insoluble fiber: potatoes with skin, celery, spinach, kale, whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, quinoa, brown rice, the skin of fruits and vegetables
Foods that contain both soluble and insoluble fibers
- vegetables with the skin – fruits with the skin
- green and red cabbage
- potatoes with skin
Most plants contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, but in different amounts. Insoluble fiber is important for softening stool, making it easier to pass.
Regular movement/ exercise
- Regular exercise helps keep your digestive system healthy and moving.
- Movement of your muscles helps stimulate your bowels to move food along. Not convinced? What usually happens when you walk the dog? That’s right- the dog usually poops!
I Love U belly massage
Abdominal massage involves massaging your belly to help stimulate a bowel movement. The colon is an upside down U shape. The ascending colon moves up from your right lower abdomen; the transverse colon moves across your belly near your belly button, and the descending colon moves down and ends at the rectum towards your left lower abdomen
“ILU belly massage”
- “I” massage starting by clearing your descending colon
- “L” massage the transverse and descending colon like an L
- “U” massage along the entire colon, starting at your lower right abdomen, moving up and then along your transverse colon, and then down along your descending colon.
You can do long strokes, or small clockwise circles along the colon to help stimulate it to contract and move the bowel movement along.
Probiotics & a healthy gut
Use this handy resource to select foods and bacterial strains that help with constipation! http://www.usprobioticguide.com/PBCAdultHealth.html?utm_source=adult_ind&utm_medium=civ&utm_campaign=USA_CHART
Hint: These three are great probiotics for constipation!
- B. (animalis) lactis
- L. reuteri
- L. casei
- Magnesium Citrate is a natural stool softener.
- It can be safely taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Note: magnesium citrate can have an interaction with certain antibiotics, decreasing their efficacy. Please consult your pharmacist if you are taking prescription antibiotics.
Create a daily routine
- Your bowels like consistency. Try setting up a daily routine that involves toilet time at approximately the same time each day. You CAN train your bowels to go when and where you choose!
- Your gastrocolic reflex is active about 20-30 minutes after mealtime and is one way you can create a routine to train your body to poop.
Don’t ignore the urge to poop
Unlike urinary urges, urges to poop need to be listened to right away or they may get weaker and weaker. When the urge is ignored, the poop actually retreats backwards into the rectum and compacts. This causes the rectum to stretch and makes it even more difficult to contract and get the poop out in the future.
Relax your pelvic floor while pooping
- Your pelvic floor muscles wrap around the anus to keep it closed at the right times and to allow it to relax and open at the right times. We need the anus to soften and open so that poop can easily exit.
- A stool or “squatty potty” can help move your knees above your hips to help lengthen and relax the pelvic floor for pooping.
- Your posture on the toilet should be relaxed forward, not upright. – Try not to strain in order to poop.
If you need to push to get the poop out:
- Try not to strain in order to poop. However, is it ok to sometimes need to push a little to get the poop out? Absolutely! Our bodies are made to be able to do this when needed to assist in getting the stool out. If you need to do this, it’s important to push properly.
- 1) No breath holding.
- 2) Now, place your hands on your belly and relax your belly forward. Do you feel how relaxing your abdominal wall allows your pelvic floor muscles to also relax? Since the transverse abdominis muscle will pull the belly in (leading to pelvic floor muscle contraction), we want to do the opposite–> keep the belly out.
- 3) Next, with your “belly big,” take a deep slow breath in. Then, as you blow out, think about blowing into your belly, gently tightening the muscles of your abdomen without allowing the belly to draw in. We call this “belly hard.”
- 4) Lastly, as you are doing this breathing, think about relaxing, lengthening and opening your pelvic floor as you gently bear down (“pelvic floor drop”). So, in summary, this is what we are aiming for:
- Belly Big— relax the belly forward and take a breath in.
- Belly Hard— As you exhale, push into the belly, tensing the abdominal muscles, but not shortening them!
- Pelvic Floor Drop— while you are exhaling, gently bear down, allowing your pelvic floor to open and relax.
Whole Fiber Fusion-Vital Nutrients, 261 grams. One TBSP, twice per day- Mix with water. Remember to drink extra water when taking fiber!
Magnesium Citrate- Pure Encapsulations, 90 capsules. 1-4 capsules, twice per day ( with breakfast & lunch )
Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics Once Daily Womens– 30 capsules. 1 Capsule, once per day