Digestive Health, Part 5: Constipation

Digestive Health, Part 5: Constipation

Written by Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND Constipation

For further questions or concerns email me at carcidiacono@invitehealth.com†

Every week I get calls asking about how to deal with constipation. Clinically speaking, constipation refers to less than 3 bowel movements a week. From a more holistic viewpoint, an optimum digestive tract will lead to a daily bowel movement. There is a common misconception going around that it is necessary to have a bowel movement after every meal. This is not true and is actually a symptom of rapid transit time!†

Symptoms of Constipation

The symptoms include having a few bowel movements a week. Having a bowel movement every other day is considered mild constipation. Whereas, straining to have a bowel movement is constipation. Even if you do have a bowel movement every day, if the stool is hard/small or you feel as though there is stool left behind, you’re experiencing constipation. It can cause gas, bloating, anal itching, hemorrhoids, bloody stool, stomach pain as well as nausea or even vomiting.†

When it comes to working with this, it’s important to understand what is causing it. Oftentimes, it’s a symptom of different underlying systemic conditions. For example, thyroid disorders and pregnancy can affect bowel movements. Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis can have it as a symptom. Medications often cause constipation as a side effect. For example, overusing laxatives, even herbal laxatives such as Senna. On a very serious note, it can be a sign of colon cancer. Just like many different medical concerns, constipation can be caused by or exacerbated by stress. Before addressing the symptoms, it is important to address these underling concerns. In addition to underlying medical concerns, dietary concerns such as lack of water, fiber and even too much dairy can be a cause. A lack of movement is also a common issue. In children resisting the urge to have a bowel movement can also lead to constipation.† (1)

An overgrowth of pathogens such as Candida Albicans can also be a cause; as pathogens can cause diarrhea and constipation. (2) Disorders of the GI tract such as IBS, Diverticular Disease and Lazy Bowel Syndrome or structural defects such as fistulas, Intussusception, malforatation, colonic rotation and outlet dysfunction can also have it as a symptom. (4) While there can also be other causes of constipation, these are the most common.†

How to Handle Constipation

When addressing constipation it is very important to rule out any systemic concerns such as hypothyroidism. Underlying medical concerns need to be addressed first. Clearing up the underlying issue will often resolve the constipation. Follow up or schedule a visit to a Gastroenterologist. A stool analysis will be performed. It’s a great way to determine the presence of any pathogens.†

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The following suggestions are things that have been found to be helpful in combating constipation. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have information on hand when you call regarding constipation. Recent lab work, and a diet diary are important resources to have on hand when you call InViteⓇ Health. This way a protocol can be personalized.†

Address any underlying medical concerns and eliminate any food sensitivities or allergies. Increase water to half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 200 pounds you need to be drinking 100 ounces (12.5 cups) of water. Every 8 ounces of water is 1 cup.†

Add fiber to your diet! Fiber is naturally found in fruits and vegetables. These are a great jump start for your digestive tract. Maltodextrin has been found to help combat constipation (4) Psyllium seed husk has also been found to help constipation. (5) For relief of temporary constipation, InViteⓇ Health Colon HxⓇ and soluble fiber can help. A great every day fiber is InViteⓇ Health’s Organic Flaxseed Powder. It’s better to use the powder rather than the seeds since the powder is broken down. That way, the fiber is more easily used by the body.† (6)

Supplements That Can Help

Caprylic acid has been found in studies to help eliminate H. Pylori, Candida and other types of pathogens.† (7) InViteⓇ Health’s Nutristatin 144 is a great item.†

Garlic has been found in studies to help eliminate bacteria and fungus such as Candida. (8) See InviteⓇ Health’s Aged Garlic.

Olive Leaf Extract has been found to help eliminate microbes such as yeast in the body. (9) See InViteⓇ Health’s Olive Leaf Extract and our Renalaid formula.†

Probiotics help to kill bad bacteria and help colonize new healthy bacteria.† (10)

Herbs have been found to help eliminate constipation. Now it is important to stay away from herbs considered laxatives. While these can be a temporary relief, long term they can cause damage to the digestive tract. Triphala fruit complex has been found to help promote bowel movements. (11) See InViteⓇ Health’s Colon HxⓇ, Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm have also been found to help when taken in tea. (12) InViteⓇ Health’s GI Maintain has both of these and can easily be mixed into a warm cup of chamomile tea.†

THE POWER OF ADAPTOGENIC HERBS – INVITE HEALTH PODCAST, EPISODE 447 >> Listen Now!

Magnesium Citrate is one of the best supplements to help. It is a natural, non-habit forming stool softener. (13) See InViteⓇ Health’s Magnesium Citrate, Bioavail Magnesium Complex and Bone Powder. Castor oil packs are incredibly powerful tools in helping with concerns. (14) Omega 3s such as Fish Oil and Krill Oil have also been found to help lubricate the stool. (15) See InViteⓇ Health’s Fish Oil and Krill Oil Advanced.

Next week we’ll cover the topic of Diarrhea.†

Sources

  1. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-constipation
  2. https://www.humnutrition.com/blog/candida-overgrowth/
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4059-constipation
  4. https://greatist.com/health/maltodextrin-dangers#:~:text=It%20improves%20digestion,fiber%20supplements%20Metamucil%20and%20Citrucel.
  5. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/psyllium#:~:text=Many%20well%2Ddesigned%20studies%20have,%2C%20Europe%2C%20and%20North%20America.
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/flaxseed-for-constipation
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21830350/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458355/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5490280/#:~:text=The%20present%20study%20focused%20on,infections%20such%20as%20oral%20thrush.
  10. https://www.omnibioticlife.com/candida-and-probiotics/#:~:text=Certain%20probiotic%20strains%2C%20such%20as,good%20bacteria%20in%20your%20intestine.
  11. https://www.ndtv.com/food/triphala-for-constipation-how-to-use-this-ayurveda-wonder-to-manage-digestive-issues-1912465
  12. https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/herbal-remedies-for-constipation
  13. https://www.wellandgood.com/natural-remedies-for-constipation/
  14. https://www.healthline.com/health/castor-oil-pack#uses
  15. https://omega3innovations.com/blog/fish-oil-and-fiber-how-to-be-number-one-at-number-two/

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