What is Constipation
We all know the awful feeling of constipation.
Constipation is a digestive problem and occurs when your bowel movements are infrequent or hard to pass.
Usually this will be less than three times per week, and while it is a common illness among people of all ages, some people can suffer from chronic constipation where there is inability to pass for weeks.
This can also cause other potential health issues, as your poop is a breeding ground for bacteria and illnesses. That’s just on top of the stress it causes you day to day.
Symptoms of Constipation
Constipation can be identified with the following symptoms:
- Fewer bowel movements (usually 3 times or less per week)
- Straining to have bowel movement (putting too much pressure)
- Hard stools
- Bloating belly
What causes constipation
There are a variety of factors that contribute toward constipation.
It can be caused by the foods you eat or avoid. Medications, lifestyle and other sometimes unknown things.
The typical causes of constipation include:
- Not eating enough fibre in your diet
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not moving around enough, and being less active overall
- Changing your daily routine
- Resisting the urge to go toilet (creating a build up)
- Stress or anxiety
Potential Issues of Constipation
Most would agree there is no real impact to health brought about by constipation if it is only short.
Chronic, long term constipation can cause issues such as faecal impaction – where poop gets stuck and build up to your intestines, rectal prolapse and/or torn rectum.
Not to mention, the feeling of constipation often affects moods, creates additional stress and results in poorer quality of life.
Relieving Constipation Naturally
Drink more water
Dehydration can make you constipated and contributes to the hardening of the stool. Drinking water can help prevent this.
You may even find adding sparkling carbonated water to be more effective at helping you rehydrate and helping relieve constipation.
Consume more fibre
Increasing fibre intake helps contribute to providing more bulk and making it easier to push through your system.
But not all fibres are equal, and the type of fibre you consume will work in different ways:
Soluble fibres – often found in oats, nuts, beans and lentils. These can help soften your stool and help things pass easier. They absorb water and form a gel-like paste which softens your stool. If you can’t eat many foods with insoluble fibre, supplementing with Glucomannan is an alternative.
Insoluble fibres – often found in vegetables and whole grain – add bulk to your stool and are not as easily digestible as soluble fibres. These add bulk and pass more easily through your system.
Studies have found soluble fibres to be better at helping relieve constipation and found mixed messages with control groups taking insoluble fibres.
This is likely due to insoluble fibres adding more physical bulk and worsening the pain associated with constipation.
You should aim to consume a mix of fibres, as both soluble and insoluble fibres have pros and cons. Insoluble fibres may make the issue worse for those with chronic constipation.
Getting active can help stimulate muscle contractions to help keep things moving internally, which ultimately leads to helping things pass easier.
Light brisk walking, or core workouts can help assist and can be done easily from your own home.
Consume caffeine for constipation relief
Skip the decaf and go straight to the full caffeine coffee or tea for relief against constipation.
Caffeine can stimulate the muscles in your digestive system, more than water and decaf drinks – creating a push which leads to relief of constipation.
Your gut needs the good-bacteria to help fight of digestive illnesses such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), inflammatory bowel disease and diarrhea.
Probiotics can help by replacing the good bacteria that gets lost, which may help breakdown certain foods that maybe causing the constipation.
Indeed, probiotics were found to improve “gut transit time” and stool frequency.
You can try to get your probiotic intake from either supplements, or foods such as yogurts and kimchi.
Pressure Points for Relief against Constipation
Natural relief can also be brought along with traditional pressure point massages, which help relax your nervous system and provide a healthier internal structure to keep your movement flowing.
These are few of the pressure points, which can help in relieving the pain.
LI 4 (Joining the Valley – Hoku point)
Located in the Web between the thumb and Index finger, on the back of the hand. Using the thumb and index finger of the other hand, apply a pinching pressure until the point is felt, and hold it for approximately two minutes.
Located at first finger next to the thumb at the edge of the finger nail. This is the starting point for the small intestine meridian channel.
SP 6 (Three Yin Crossing)
Located above the inner ankle on the edge of tibia (The large Bone). This point may be especially tender because it is the only point in the entire body where three energy channels converge – The Spleen, The Kidney and The Liver channels. The health of the muscle is dependent on the Spleen qi, Tendons are dependent upon the Liver qi and the bones are dependent on the Kidney qi.
ST 36 (Three Mile Point)
This point is 4 inches below the knee along the outside edge of the Tibia (the large bone). To locate St 36 place the ball of your hand on the knee cap and stretch your fingers without moving the hand. Let your middle finger touch the outside of the edge of the tibia bone. This is the ST 36 point. Very important point as it is regarded that the general problem of blocked qi from chest downwards down to the toes can be helped with pressing this point.
Constipation is painful and can cause other illnesses as an undesirable consequence of the internal block.
However, this is often brought along for reasons we control.
Looking into your diet is the first stage of conquering constipation, by keeping your body hydrated, your gut primed with good, friendly bacteria to help absorb the nutrients, and keeping a balanced diet which provides bulk into your system.
Pressure point therapy may help provide the relaxation from the stress brought along with constant or frequent constipation.