Natural Treatment for Constipation
Constipation is described as infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools. If you do not have a daily bowel movement, you likely suffer from constipation. Constipation is usually caused by the slow movement of material through the large bowel or colon. Constipation is a symptom of something else and by determining the cause, constipation can be treated. Many constipation sufferers prefer to go the natural route when treating their condition which consists of simple diet changes and the introduction of dietary supplements.
Causes of Constipation
Knowing what is causing your constipation is critical to help reduce the risk of further problems. Certain medications are known to cause constipation, particularly narcotic pain medications, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, iron supplements, aluminum- containing antacids, and calcium channel blocking drugs (CCBs). If a medication is believed to be the cause of the constipation, discontinuing the drug is ideal. However, this is not always possible and may not be necessary in all cases. You may be able to substitute the drug for a less constipating option. Some people may also find relief by increasing their dietary fiber
An inadequate diet can also result in constipation problems. Dietary fiber is essential in maintaining soft, bulky stool. When you constantly consume foods that lack dietary fiber you may find that you experience constipation more regularly. The best sources of dietary fiber include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. In addition to diet, your own habits may also be to blame for your constipation issues. Bowel movements generally occur under voluntary control. This means that if you choose, a bowel movement can be suppressed. Suppressing the need to defecate too frequently can diminish your ability to feel the urge to go which can lead to constipation.
Another common cause of constipation is the overuse of stimulant laxatives. Castor oil, senna, and various herbs used in laxatives can be beneficial in certain situations but should not be used on a regular basis to induce a bowel movement. Stimulant laxatives have been found to damage the muscles and nerves in the colon which can cause long- term constipation issues. In some instances, constipation develops by causes not under your control. Certain hormonal disorders can affect bowel movements, such as high levels of estrogen and progesterone during a woman’s menstrual cycle or pregnancy.
Constipation is often a result of imbalances in the microflora (bacteria and yeast) in the digestive tract. SIBO, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, and candida or yeast overgrowth are two of the main causes. Both can be tested for and treated using principles of Naturopathic medicine. In other cases, food sensitivities can slow down the motility of the gut and lead to constipation thus determining your triggers is important.
Treatment for Constipation
Constipation is one of the most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Other symptoms include abdominal pain, infrequent stools, straining, and bloating. While some people with IBS only suffer from constipation, others experience just diarrhea or flare-ups of both. Speaking with your Naturopathic physician will lead to uncovering the root cause of your constipation and the appropriate treatment protocols will be determined. It is believed that between 70-90% of all IBS cases are influenced by SIBO. Specialized testing will help determine the nature of your digestive symptoms and lead to resolution.
Nutrition and dietary counselling can also be very useful for people suffering from constipation. Getting enough dietary fiber in your diet is vital to keep your body running properly. Most Adults should aim for 25 to 31 grams of dietary fiber a day in the form of legumes, nuts, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. However sometimes these foods can cause a flare-up of symptoms, so it best to speak with your Naturopathic physician for customized advice. If you’re not drinking enough water, increasing increase your intake to make your stools softer and easier to pass. Avoid foods that have little to no dietary fiber, such as fast food, chips, and processed foods. For more information about natural treatment for constipation, contact Vitalia Healthcare Naturopath in Vancouver, BC today.