Nearly everything that you go to a conventional doctor for, you can treat naturally with a Naturopath. There’s always room for integration of natural medicine with conventional medicine but we must learn to treat the person instead of the disease. Treating the whole person instead of just the physical complaint is called holistic healthcare.
What is Constipation?
Constipation is difficulty passing a stool. Almost everyone experiences constipation at some time of their life. Constipation is anything from having a poo once a week to once a day depending on your bowel transit time. Going to the toilet once a day is the norm but to traditional naturopaths this leaves us with a nation of people full of $h!*.
Naturopaths believe we need to pass a bowel movement for every meal eaten. This removes toxins as quickly as they build up. Everybody has a different bowel transit time. When constipated, stool remain too long in the colon. This allows toxins that should have been eliminated in the stool to be reabsorbed back into the blood. The opposite (a too quick transit time) is harmful to health too because nutrients don’t have time to be absorbed.
Short term effects of constipation are:
- foggy head, unable to think straight
- bright red blood in stool
- anal fissures
- stomach pain
- moodiness and frustration
- stomach cramps
In clinical naturopathic practice long term effects seen from chronic constipation are conditions such as:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- cirrhosis of the liver
Naturopaths want you to be able to take responsibility for your health and happiness. In order to do this you need to understand the root cause of your health complaint. We are complex beings and so there is rarely just one cause. A Naturo healthcare practitioner is trained to critically identify the root cause of ill health. See more about our Naturopaths here
Physical causes: Dietary factors such as low fibre and low water- based plant foods) are the biggest culprit for constipation. Also eating a diet high in processed foods and dehydration from not drinking enough water.
Lifestyle factors are lack of movement and a sedentary lifestyle. Or too much movement, traveling lots without giving self time to go to the toilet, ignoring the urge to defecate. Intake of drugs like the pain killer codeine or recreational drugs cocaine can also impact bowel movements. Trauma to the area and other digestive conditions like diverticulitis cause constipation also.
Emotional causes: holding on to something, resistance to letting go of a relationship, a belief or an idea can cause constipation. Also it may not be your baggage.. Parents consciously and unconsciously pass down their emotional baggage to their children. Holding onto ‘baggage’ from your parents can cause emotional turmoil. If this is not resolved or addressed it presents as a physical symptom. Where you are quite literally ‘holding onto other people’s shit’.
Meta-physical causes: Negative emotions such as fear, denial, regret, hate, guilt and shame disturb your eight energy bodies and may prevent you from letting go physically. This is especially the case if you have done all of the right things with diet and exercise yet there is no emotional resistance. Try seeing a naturo-therapist online or a local holistic health practitioner from our directory if this is the case. Ask yourself what do I need to let go of?
- Follow the real naturo naturopathic diet. Eat 3 solid meals a day and don’t snack! This regulates the biocircadian rhythm and thus the bodies natural hormones which calms the enteric nervous system (the part of the gut linked to the nervous system).
- Include insoluble fibre: 2-3 tablespoons of LSA at breakfast. Linseed, sunflower, and almonds crushed together. OR for extra soluble fibre you may want to add psyllium husk to your diet. Make sure you follow the husk with one full glass of water otherwise you will constipate yourself further.
- Increase soluble fibre through including fruit in the diet. Eat before or at least away from other foods to prevent bloating from fermentation.
- Drink more water. If water does not quench your thirst, meaning that you are always thirsty, then add a teaspoon of himalayan salt to a glass of water each day. This will help water to pass through the cell membranes to be absorbed on a cellular level and your thirst will be quenched. A good way to know if you absorbing enough water is by analysing your urine. Healthy pee is cloudy. Clear pee indicates malfiltration. Check out more info on the truth about salt here
- Eat bitter foods to stimulate bile; rocket, endives, chicory, artichokes.
Try bitters herbs before you go to laxatives. Laxatives like senna and cascara stimulate peristalsis which is great short term, especially if it’s been a long time since you made a bowel movement. But long term this prevents the body from doing what it naturally knows what to do when given the right environment. “Bitters” stimulate the gall bladder to release bile and stimulate the colon to release into the bowel. It gets things moving for good.
Cynara (globe artichoke) is great for the bowel. I mix this with calming herbs like melissa, chamomile and liquorice if there is a large emotional component to not letting go. After all the enteric nervous system links the autonomic nervous system to the gut via the vagus nerve. This is why sometimes when nervous you need to go to the toilet straight away. Vagus nerve stimulation is also responsible for urgent bowel movements after consuming drugs, sugar and alcohol..
Flower essences work on the emotional body to help let go of stuck emotions. Bach flowers, NZ millennium flowers, Ibiza Freedom essences or Australian bush flower essences are added to all Naturo herbal formula extracts for this effect.
Get out of the mental body and address the emotional body with presence practices like yoga and mediation. This helps you to get back in touch with what your body needs. This requires a state of embodiment where you can ask your body NOT THE MIND questions like “how do I feel?” and what do I need? Naturo therapists help you to address the emotional body directly. Mixed with naturo medicine this has great results.
MOVE! Get winding n’ grinding; the more you move your hips and stomach region the more blood circulation and movement in the digestive tract. Endorphins produced during exercise also play a role in a healthy digestion as happy hormones allow your enteric nervous system to LET that shit GO!!!
Still confused or need more help understanding how to fix constipation? Get an online appointment or find your local qualified holistic naturopath here.
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