Intolerance Lab

Constipation Symptom

Constipation – Symptom

Welcome to today’s symptom series article. Last week we discussed diarrhoea, and this week we are taking an in-depth look at the opposite end of the spectrum, constipation. This is another common symptom of food intolerances, and we will begin with taking a good look at what constipation actually is and what you can do to combat it at home safely.

Constipation defined:

Like many bodily symptoms, constipation can be defined in a few different and equally valid ways. It can be to do with the frequency of bowel movements, the consistency, or the straining that may be involved and having a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bowels. There are three main categories of constipation, and they are:

1# Slow transit time – this is when bowel motions occur every 2, 3 or more days apart. Because the bowel movement takes a long time to move through the intestines, the water it contains is reabsorbed into the body, leaving a hard, dry poo behind. This can be painful to pass, and can also involve a lot of straining and discomfort.

2# An evacuation disorder – this can be caused by a number of different things. There can be an actual obstruction in the bowel area, such as a prolapse. Or it can be caused by weak pelvic floor or intestinal muscles, or even poor toileting habits as a child that can affect you well into adulthood.

3# IBS that is constipation dominant. There are different types of IBS, and having predominantly constipation as your main symptom is one of them. Seeking treatment for your IBS from a Naturopath is our best recommendation if you fit into this category.

Causes of constipation:

Our bowels are affected by a surprisingly large number of things, and here you’ll find a list of the most common causes of constipation.

Low levels of activity in the gut muscles – this can cause very slow transit time, taking days to move things through your digestive tract.

Mood disorders, stress, anxiety, and depression – this can alter the communication that goes on between your brain and your digestive system, resulting in bowel changes.

Pregnancy – hormonal and physical changes are well known to cause constipation during pregnancy.

Routine changes – If you change your eating or sleeping habits, this can dramatically affect your bowels. Travelling does this too.

Ignoring when you need to go – if you ignore the urge to go when it comes, your body can then reabsorb water from your poo, making it hard and dry when you do relieve yourself.

A lack of dietary fibre – if you don’t eat enough whole grains or fruits and vegetables with the skins on, your bowel motions can lack bulk and therefore can’t move through your digestive tract properly.

Poor toileting habits in childhood – some children can develop poor toileting habits if they feel pressured, if its painful or if they are regularly interrupted. This can lead to issues in adulthood.

Medications and supplements – if you have started a new medication or supplement, it is quite possible that this is affected your bowels and causing constipation.

Food intolerances – if none of the above applies to you, your constipation may be a direct result of food intolerances. The best way to find out if this is the case is to take our bio-resonance hair intolerance test. Any food intolerance will show up immediately in your results. Once you’ve removed the offending foods, your symptoms may also significantly improve. You can find out more HERE.

Food Intolerances and Constipation

It’s not surprising that food intolerances are one of the most common causes of constipation because any type of intolerance or sensitivity to foods causes inflammation in our gut. Having a lack of certain enzymes or bacteria that we need to break down foods can also be a part of the issue, such as in lactose intolerance. In this case, we can’t break the food down efficiently, excessive fermentation occurs, and constipation can result. Lots of bloating, gas and stomach pains can also occur, which is not a fun scenario for anyone.

The most common food intolerances that are known to cause constipation include:

  • FODMAPS
  • Gluten & wheat
  • Dairy
  • Egg

You can try eliminating these foods from your diet, and then slowly reintroduce them one at a time over a number of weeks. In theory, this will give you the answer to your constipation issues. Still, it can take weeks to months, and be missed if you don’t do the elimination and reintroduction of foods properly.

Taking the food intolerance test HERE will give you results immediately, allowing you to skip months of trial and error.

Strategies to combat constipation

Here are some great tips that you can try at home, they may help you safely manage your constipation. If food intolerances are the main issue for you, removing the offending foods from your diet is what will give you the most relief. These strategies may help in the meantime.

Disclaimer – if you have any unintended weight loss, blood in your stools, fever or low iron levels that you are aware of, please visit your GP as the first line of treatment. If you’re not experiencing any of these things, read on for some lifestyle changes you can make to help manage your constipation.

Lifestyle changes

Food – this is the first line of defence for any kind of digestive upset or bowel issue. Where constipation is concerned, it is essential to make sure you are:

  • Drinking 1.5 to 2litres of water daily
  • Consuming fibre daily in the form of whole grains (rolled oats, brown rice etc), fruit and vegetables with their skins on.
  • You can also try a couple of prunes daily OR 1 green kiwi fruit daily. These are both well known to help ease constipation.

Physical Activity

  • Partake in exercise 3 times per week minimum.
  • Dancing, power walking, sports, gym – try whatever form of movement you enjoy.

Toilet habits

  • Place a stool under your feet while on the toilet. Ensuring your knees are slightly higher than your hips, and resting your elbows on your knees, puts your body in the correct position to poo much more easily.
  • Routine can also help. Sit on the toilet at the same time each day, for 5 or 10 minutes. Try your best to relax during this time as much as possible.

In Summary

Constipation is an uncomfortable symptom of digestive upsetand is caused when the stool becomes hard and dry inside the body. We take a look at the different categories and causes of constipation, for which there is a surprising number. Food intolerances rank highly on the list of possible causes, and we cover the top intolerances that may contribute to developing constipation.

The easiest way to diagnose and remove any food intolerance that is causing digestive distress is through the bio-resonance hair intolerance test that we offer HERE. As discussed in the article, taking the test can save you months of trial and error, and give you the answers you seek very quickly.

However, we also offer you some strategies to combat your constipation safely at home, which may be very helpful in cases where food intolerances are not the main issue. Your health and wellness is our top priority, and we hope the information in this article is helpful for you.

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