I’ve noticed that a large majority of my patients suffer from it, either chronic or acute constipation. Sometimes the constipation is just part of the PMS package, so once the bleeding begins, the constipation is resolved. Other times, the constipation is more chronic, especially for my older patients.
All too often, patients resort to laxatives and suppositories, which can be both harmful and habit forming. A gastroenterologist can actually see damage to the colon from excess laxative use during a colonoscopy. (If you need a visual, click here)
In Chinese medicine we say that constipation occurs because the colon is blocked because it is “cold” or “dry” or because of blood loss- say after a woman has a baby.
If you imagine the body as a finely interconnected machine, constipation is just a clue that the body is out of balance. The solution is to restore harmony systemically. Here are 7 steps to relieve constipation naturally, without medicines and on your own terms.
Step 1: Get Hydrated
Drink ten ounces of warm water with honey and fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning. (The combination of the warm water, lemon and honey can help get things going.) If you want to learn more about the benefits of drinking water, read the “Hydration Guide”
Step 2: Move Your Body
Get exercise. Ideally twenty minutes per day. It is a great stress reliever and the movement will help bowel motility.
Step 3: Eat Some Fiber
Add fiber to your diet. (two containers of blueberries may just do the trick.)
Step 4: Lubricate Your Insides
Add oil. Lubrication can help too. Extra virgin olive oil is ideal. Cooking spinach **think fiber** with olive oil and lemon juice may help stimulate bowel movements.
Step 5: Include Probiotics
Take a probiotic. Honestly I am a big fan of a company called New Chapter. I think it’s cheapest on Vitacost.com.
Step 6: Add Some Bulk
Add a bulk former. If all else fails, consider add psyllium husk to your routine. When combined with water, it swells and produces more bulk, which stimulates the intestines to contract and helps speed the passage of stool through the digestive tract. (It also can reduce cholesterol levels.)Two things to remember with the psyllium husk. First, drink a lot of water after you take it. Also, start slowly to avoid being too gassy. For example, begin with one tablespoon per day. After a few days move to two tablespoons. The max dosage is three tablespoons per day.
Step 7: Massage Your Belly
Belly Massage- If you look down at your navel, massage your low belly in a clockwise fashion. Down the left side of your low abdomen, across at the pubic bone and up the right hand side. This is the path of your large intestine. Massaging in this way for five minutes a day may help too.
I’d love to hear about your personal experiences. What works best for you? You can comment below or send me an email. But please remember, if constipation persists, contact your primary care physician.
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