The digestive tract holds over 80% of our overall immune health. What a huge revelation, isn’t it? Whatever it takes, we should always keep our digestive and gut health optimized! The food we eat becomes useless if our body turns its back on it, right? So, let’s talk about one of the most common digestive problems of all time — constipation. What makes it so drawn to menopausal women? In this article, you will learn about constipation symptoms and triggering factors to avoid! We will also highlight some proven constipation remedies and advanced treatments. Let’s get started! ?
Most Common Symptoms of Constipation
Constipation is a condition leading to infrequent bowel movements. If someone suffers from constipation, it becomes more difficult to pass stool, no matter how much the person wants to “release”!
Did you know that a person can be constipated and not even know it? There are reports that some people have been suffering from constipation symptoms but thought of it like a part of life. Well, that’s sad! Everyone deserves to feel “weightless” after stepping out of the toilet!
Here are the most common constipation symptoms to watch out for:
- Less than three bowel movements per week
- Dry, hard or lumpy stool
- Difficulty or pain when passing stool
- Experiencing stomachache or abdominal cramps
- Feeling nauseous and bloated
- Feeling like you haven’t completely finished after a bowel movement
When is constipation considered “chronic”?
Constipation becomes “chronic” if a person frequently experiences two or more of these symptoms for the last three months. Typically, “occasional constipation” is very common, but “chronic constipation” is a serious health problem, especially for midlife women.
Want to know the connection between constipation and estrogen metabolism?
Well, hormonal balance is one of the most underemphasized benefits of a healthy bowel movement.
Let me give you a picture:
Our liver is known to be our body’s “internal filter”, but little did we know that it also plays a vital role in metabolizing estrogen. The liver converts estrogen into “methylated” (inactive) form, so estrogen can hitch a ride into the toilet! But, when excretion is delayed due to constipation, it is not only the toxins and bad bacteria we are “keeping” in our system. The “inactive estrogen” we’re supposed to excrete also sticks around longer than it should! Estrogen gets “reactivated”, then circulates back into our system. Yup, “we need to poop estrogen” to ensure a good flow in all our body systems and optimize our hormonal balance!
Now, it’s about time to widen our understanding of the factors that can trigger constipation. Having the proper knowledge about the causes of constipation is the best way to prevent it! ?
What Triggers Constipation?
Our colon (large intestine) is responsible for absorbing water while forming stool (waste products from food). When the muscle contractions of the colon are too slow, which typically happens in constipation, the stool’s movement also becomes sluggish. As a result, the colon tends to absorb too much water from the stool and it causes our stool to be hard and dry.
In the case of menopausal women, the most influential factor for constipation is hormonal fluctuations. According to Dr. Bindiya Gandhi, a believer in Functional Medicine, estrogen is one of the main culprits behind constipation. Dr. Gandhi said:
“It was previously thought that progesterone was the culprit in constipation during pregnancy, but new research is showing that it probably has more to do with estrogen. Studies have shown that estrogen actually delays gastric emptying and prolongs transit timing and eventually causes constipation. Estrogen also weakens the pelvic floor, making it harder to have a bowel movement, especially when it comes to the decline in estrogen levels during menopause.”
- Other than hormonal imbalance, here are the different factors that can trigger constipation:
- Dairy, gluten and low-fiber foods
- Insufficient water intake
- Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise
- Resisting or delaying the urge to have a bowel movement
- Sudden diet changes (like going low-carb with reduced fiber intake and altered sodium balance)
- Sudden changes in regular routine (such as traveling or going to bed at different times)
- Chronic stress
- Too many toxins in the body
- Taking antidepressants and other medications
- Underlying medical conditions
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Thyroid Problems and other health conditions that upset hormonal balance
- Rectal Issues (conditions relating to the rectum)
- Autonomic Neuropathy
Hey, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed despite the triggers we’ve mentioned! As promised, we will discuss constipation remedies, so you’ll know how to manage when the train doesn’t want to go out of the tunnel! ?
8 Quick Constipation Remedies
Constipation remedies include natural laxatives, herbal laxatives, supplements, vitamins, minerals, healthy oils, simple diet changes, exercise and a whole lot more! Constipation is just one thing to slay… Here, we got a wide array of remedies to beat it!
1. Natural Laxatives
Drinking warm water with ginger every day will also help you “get things moving” naturally. Ginger is known to soothe and relax the intestinal tract, regulating bowel movements. It also warms up the body and speeds up the digestion process!
Another terrific combo for a quick constipation remedy is by using prunes and castor oil!
Watch this video from “Mind, Body, Soul”! ?
How To Get Rid Of Constipation Immediately | Constipation Home Remedies | Home Remedies With Upasana – YouTube
2. Vitamins and Minerals
Here are some of the vitamins and minerals proven to boost the overall health of our digestive system! Make sure to get enough amounts of these nutrients every day:
- Vitamin C (to increase the frequency of bowel movement)
- Vitamin B1 and B12 (to optimize muscle tissues in the lining of the digestive tract)
- Magnesium (to improve stool consistency and transit timing)
- Potassium (to enforce peristalsis)
3. Herbal Laxatives
- Senna: This herbal laxative comes as a tablet or syrup made from the leaves and fruit of senna plant. Senna takes about 8 hours to work, so it is best taken at bedtime for it to work overnight and treat constipation.
- Cascara Sagrada: This herbal remedy is taken as a dietary supplement. For laxative purposes, cascara sagrada is commonly recommended to be taken for no longer than one week.
- Black Psyllium: It is a plant-based laxative used as short-term, over-the-counter prevention for constipation. Note that black psyllium is different from blond psyllium, which is prescribed to people with more severe cases such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures and anal surgery.
- Triphala: Triphala is used to alleviate gas and promote digestion. It is available in different forms such as powder, tincture, extract, juice, tablet or capsule. Nowadays, triphala is widely available in many health stores.
- Sukumara Ghrita: It is made from medicated ghee, which is believed to relieve constipation and other conditions (like gynecological problems, menstrual problems and infertility).
- Dashamula: This herb is a classical formulation made from the roots of ten ayurvedic herbs. Among its top benefits are better digestion and easy elimination of stools.
- Abhayarishta: It is made from dry grapes and more than a dozen ingredients from the fruits, roots or leaves of various Ayurvedic herbs. Abhayarishta is known to promote better digestion and ensure smooth, regular bowel movements.
Check out this informative video from Dr. Eric Berg (one of the top Keto advocates worldwide) and understand more about herbal laxatives! ?
4. Healthy Oils
MCT oils like coconut oil are rich sources of healthy fats! These fats are fantastic in preventing constipation because they are more easily digested than other types of oils. MCT oils also positively affect our body’s metabolic processes — making these oil popular for weight management!
Another healthy choice is ghee. It works wonders on the stomach, improves bowel movement and eliminates symptoms associated with constipation. Check out this “Morning Broth with Ghee, Lime, Salt and Spices” — an Ayurvedic recipe from “Joyful Belly”! ?
5. Better Way of Eating
Sometimes, there’s no problem with the food we eat. It’s with HOW we eat that leads to constipation!
So, avoid eating too quickly or moving too much while eating. Always chew your food thoroughly to get the saliva going. As much as possible, wait for a few minutes after you’re done eating before you drink.
Speaking of hydration, drinking demands more attention when you experience constipation. Therefore, you must be more intentional about getting hydrated! In some cases, water cannot fully hydrate and replenish fluids in your body when you’re dehydrated. This is where electrolytes come in! Electrolytes are substances in our body that conduct electricity when mixed with water. They help regulate the composition and secretion of our bodily fluids! ?
Mark Sisson, an Ancestral Health advocate, points out that:
“For maximal water absorption, the body requires sodium and glucose or sucrose to facilitate the transport of water through channels in the small intestine.”
Furthermore, there are many highly recommended nutrients you can add to your daily diet to promote better digestion and prevent constipation:
- Probiotics (for a healthy balance of gut bacteria)
- Bile Salts (for colon lubrication)
- Digestive Enzymes (for better digestion of fiber, protein and fats)
Here’s another video from Dr. Berg about the close connection between constipation and our eating habits. Dr. Berg also discusses some practical ways and adjustments you can make to correct constipation! ?
6. Keep Hormones Balanced
More women suffer from constipation than men. (Sorry for the sad opening line!) As mentioned above, the reason behind this is hormonal imbalance. Luckily, there are natural ways to keep our hormones balanced!
- Healthy eating
- Regular exercise
- Avoiding stress
- Getting enough sleep
- Taking natural supplements
Visit my article and start embracing healthy habits to promote hormonal balance naturally (and prevent constipation)! ?
7. Do Pelvic Exercises
Optimizing your pelvic floor’s muscle strength is essential for both bowel and bladder control. According to clinicians from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, constipation can lead to the following:
- Weakening of the pelvic floor muscles
- Excessive stress on pelvic organs and nerves
- Bladder dysfunction and recurring accidental bowel leakage.
Fortunately, you can prevent the discomforts that go hand in hand with constipation by doing pelvic exercises! For a better demonstration, here’s an awesome video from Michelle Kenway — a Pelvic Floor Physiologist! ?
8. Maintain Proper Posture
Poor posture can cause constipation, besides its effects on physical appearance. Luckily, there’s a proper poopsition… I mean, “position” to make you feel more like a seated queen! ?
Squatting, raising your legs or leaning your back while pooping is fantastic, I tell you! For an added comfort, I personally use a “Squatty Potty”! It is a doctor-recommended toilet stool that has helped me achieve a quick and healthy way of eliminating!
Advanced Treatments for Constipation
As mentioned earlier, occasional constipation is typically manageable through quick constipation remedies! Sadly, chronic constipation needs to be addressed by keenly assessing one’s diet and lifestyle or identifying a more serious cause.
Functional medicine intervention usually detects gut infections, intestinal permeability and a lack of beneficial bacteria in the gut flora.
In cases like this, a comprehensive stool testing is recommended along with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial growth) breath testing to uncover the possible causes of constipation.
There you have it! Now, you have a better understanding of constipation and why it happens. Always be mindful of WHAT and HOW you eat, as well as the daily habits you do! Everything inside our body is a miraculous network of complex processes. It is our only vessel and it always deserves a good time inside and outside the toilet! ?
We would love to hear your thoughts so feel free to add your comments below
Let´s support each other. Use the share buttons in this article, so more women can get help and feel great!