How to Get Rid of Constipation Quickly
Many people often don’t pay close attention to their bowl movements, what it looks like or it’s consistency but it can tell you a lot about your current health.
They say our second brain is in our gut and that the bacteria, colour, consistency and frequency of your bowel movements hold the key to a lot of health issues.
So whether you like it or not start paying attention to your poo!
What is constipation ?
Stools that are difficult or hard to pass are an indication of constipation.
I meet people on a regular basis who say things like “my stools have always been hard to pass” Or “sure all of my friends are the same”
Just because everyone else has constipation regularly doesn’t mean its normal!
Most of us will associate constipation with bloating, abdominal pain and no poop essentially but you can still have a bowel movement and be constipated. When a stool is either too hard, too small, too infrequent, difficult to expel or when you have a feeling of incomplete evacuation after the bowl movement is over this could indicate constipation.
Other signs of constipation are fewer than 3-5 stools per week or more than 3 days without a stool. If you have type 1 or 2 on the stool chart above this can be indicative of constipation so yes, you can still have a bowel movement and be constipated.
The most common cause of constipation is lack of dietary fibre and inadequate hydration. Many people do not increase their water intake when increasing fibre which can make constipation much worse and cause stool to be harder and more difficult to pass.
Deficiencies in digestive enzymes, inadequate stomach acid food allergies, frequent medications, low thyroid, pregnancy and/or imbalanced gut bacteria can also contribute to causes of constipation. Over use or dependency of laxatives or coffee can compound the problem and damage the lining of the gut so be careful if you are depending on coffee to get you going!
Frequent constipation can lead to imbalanced gut bacterial and leaky gut syndrome, hemorrhoids, appendicitis, colon cancer and other digestive illnesses so working with your GP or a nutritionist to determine the cause of your symptoms will help determine the best protocol for you.
So, What is a normal bowel movement?
Your stools should nether move too slow or too quickly and you understand why now at this point, I hope.
The best stool should evacuate in one smooth motion and the stool should be sausage like and either be smooth or have slight ridges in it, see type 3 and 4 on the Bristol Stool Chart.
Black stools or blood in your stool should be investigated by your GP immediately as it could indicate bleeding in your upper GI tract or poor absorption of nutrients.
Light clay coloured stools or yellowy stools could indicate poor digestion of fats, gallbladder issues and you may need to have your symptoms assessed and your diet altered to support this.
Below are some of my top tips for getting rid of constipation fast:
Avoid Overeating - Over eating can quite simply “compound” the problem putting pressure on the digestive system and slowing things down. Eat slowly ensuring to chew your food well. Putting your fork down after every mouthful is a good hack for helping you to eat slower and avoid over eating.
Increase fiberous foods slowly - including foods such as whole grains (brown rice) and oats adding flaxseed, hemp or other fibres and increase water intake when doing so
Address any food sensitivities, bacteria overgrowth or leaky gut syndrome - People with chronic constipation who do not respond to diet, fibre and liquids may benefit from diagnostic testing to help identify any bacteria overgrowth, allergies or parasitic infections
Increase laxative foods - Include grapes, cherries, melons, liquorice, spinach and psyllium seeds and laxative foods such as prunes and pectin containing fruits such as apples, figs, pears and banana’s (stewed apples are ideal)
Avoid tea and coffee - caffeine is a laxative and while it may give you momentary relief it is also dehydrating and so may contribute to the problem.
Exercise - is a bowel stimulant and can help relieve constipation
If constipation or diarrhoea lasts more than a few days, is sever and acute, or is associated with a high fever, severe cramping or vomiting it is important to see your GP.
Learn more about how Elysia overcame her own challenges with IBS and food sensitivities in Episode 1 of the Podcast available now
Want to learn more about how to improve your gut health, check out our “Digestive Wellness” course available now for a limited time only.
Elysia Doody is a Functional Nutritionist & Exercise Coach specialising in female health and wellness.
She’s embraced Functional Medicine to address her health concerns, and is now helping as many women as possible in a similar position.
Taking everything she’s learned through education, her own health, and working with clients, she’s keen to share it all through online programmes.