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Constipation Symptom

Is constipation a symptom of food intolerance?

Today we are taking a closer look at constipation, what it is, how it occurs, and how it can be related to food intolerances. Let’s get started with a 101 on constipation itself.

The definition of constipation:

There are a number of ways that constipation can be defined, and they are all valid in their own right. Someone can say they are constipated if they are experiencing a bowel motion every two or more days apart, if the motion is hard and dry, or if there is much straining happening. The three types of constipation that are commonly accepted are:

Time-based constipation – where the transit time of the stool passing through the digestive tract takes 48 hours or even longer. This slow transition through the body allows the water within the bowel motion to reabsorb, causing hard dry stools to occur. Pain and straining are often involved in the passing of this dry stool.

An actual disorder that affects the ability to poop. This can be something like a bowel obstruction or a prolapse, but it can also be caused by weakness in the intestinal muscles and pelvic floor.

IBS – predominantly constipation based IBS can also be the primary cause of constipation for some people. This requires treatment, and the best place for this is to see a Naturopath or other type of holistic health care provider experienced in IBS treatment.

The leading causes of constipation:

There are many things that can affect the digestive tract and bowels, and here are the most common ones:

  • Poor motility – this is when the muscles of the digestive tract function at a low level, so food and eventually stools when they are formed take a very long time to transition along the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Nervous system disorders – specifically anxiety, depression and high levels of stress. Our nervous system is intimately linked to our digestive system, and an imbalance in one can affect the communication and cause a corresponding imbalance in the other.
  • Pregnancy – this is a well-known cause of constipation, which is due to both physical changes that occur and also hormonal changes that affect digestion.
  • Travel and change of routine – we all know someone who can’t poo when they go on holidays, or change their eating habits. These changes can have powerful effects on digestion.
  • Ignoring the urge – when you get the urge to go to the toilet, you need to go. If you don’t, this can cause water to be reabsorbed from your stools, and also confuse your body so it doesn’t listen efficiently to signals.
  • A diet low in fibre – fibre is one of the main things that bulk up stool and allows it to pass through the digestive tract. If your diet is lacking in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, you may find constipation occurs frequently.
  • Childhood toileting habits – some children have great difficulty going to the toilet, and this can continue on into adulthood. It can happen if they feel pain, or if they are being pressured to hurry up or being interrupted all the time when on the toilet.
  • Medicines – any new medicine or nutritional/herbal supplement can affect your bowels, resulting in constipation. Always check with your practitioner if this happens to you.
  • Food intolerances – of course! Lots of inflammation, fermentation and bacterial build-up occurs due to food intolerances, and bowel irregularities are a common symptom. If none of the above causes resonates with you, then food intolerances may be the cause of your constipation. Our bio-resonance hair intolerance test will give you a list of any food intolerances present, which will allow you to remove these foods and heal your symptoms. You can find out more and order your test HERE.

Constipation and the food intolerance link

As we mentioned above, when there are food intolerances present, there is also a lot of inflammation, fermentation and bacterial build-up. This can dramatically affect the transit time of bowel motions, resulting in either constipation or diarrhoea. It can also often come along with the added symptoms of cramping, painful wind and excessive bloating.

These are the food intolerances that will most commonly cause constipation, but keep in mind that ANY food intolerance could be the culprit.

  • High FODMAP foods – you can find out more about this in our article titled ‘Fructose FAQ’.
  • Dairy foods
  • Eggs
  • Wheat and gluten
An elimination diet may be helpful for you. However, it can take months to get the results that your seeking. Our best recommendation is to take the bio-resonance hair intolerance test. Once we have your sample, you usually have your results within 48 hours.

Safe Strategies to heal constipation at home

The following tips can be trialled safely from the comfort of your home. It can take some trial and error to see which ones will work for you, so please don’t lose hope. If your constipation is caused mainly from food intolerances, then your best relief is going to be removing these foods from your diet. Some of the ideas here may help while you wait for your food intolerance test results.

An important note: if there is any blood in your stools, you have experienced any unintended weight loss, or you have low iron levels please visit your doctor to discuss this before trying any of these ideas.

Dietary changes

Increase the fibre in your diet – try eating fruits and vegetables with their skins on, and consuming rolled oats, brown rice or quinoa.

Stay hydrated – make sure you have at least 1.5 litres water daily, and up to 2 litres.

Prunes, kiwi fruits or dried figs are well known to help ease constipation. Try these out, one at a time (on different days), and see what works for you.

Movement

Move your body for 30 minutes, three times per week. You can choose any physical activity that you like, such as walking, swimming, dancing, gym work.

Toilet practices

Believe it or not, the position that you use to sit on the toilet can dramatically help your bowel movements. The ideal position is to sit with your feet lifted, knees slightly higher than hips and elbows on knees. You can achieve this position by using a stool or shoebox under your feet and leaning forwards slightly on the toilet.

Having a routine can also be helpful. Go to the toilet at the same time each day, and sit there for 5 to 1 minutes, even if you don’t have a bowel motion. This can signal to your body that its’ time to go, and over time a new routine can be created.

Summary

In this article, we take a look at constipation, a classic digestive symptom. There are a surprising array of causes, which we go into along with the types of constipation that can occur.

Unsurprisingly, food intolerances can be a major culprit when it comes to constipation. We discuss why this is the case, and have a look at the major food intolerances that can cause this issue. You can trial an elimination diet to find out which foods are giving you grief; however, we recommend our bio-resonance hair intolerance test. This will provide you with immediate results, and save you possibly months of food eliminations and reintroductions. You can find out more HERE.

We’ve also shared with you some excellent strategies that you can use at home, which are very helpful when food intolerances may not be the sole cause of your constipation.

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