Constipation is considered a functional gastrointestinal disorder. However, when it comes to chronic and acute cases of constipation, there is a difference.
Also known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Constipation (IBS-C), chronic constipation can be life-changing for individuals by reducing quality of life, energy and health.
There are a number of causes for IBS-C and these include
- stress, anxiety and mood disorders
- altered gut flora and underlying pathogens, including candida
- poor food and beverage choices (highly processed and ‘fast-food’)
- underlying diseases and disorders
- high caffeine intake
- nervous system dysfunction
- nutrient deficiencies
- OTC laxative abuse
- sedentary lifestyle
- food intolerance/allergy
- reduced gastrointestinal motility (movement)
- nutrient deficiencies
There are a number of signs and symptoms of constipation such as bloating, pain and cramping, reflux, dry/hard/lumpy stools, incomplete evacuation, bad breath (halitosis), fatigue, reduced appetite, flatulence, acne/poor skin, and reduced frequency of bowel motions.
Constipation may also increase the risk of developing other health conditions like anal fissures, hemorrhoids, prolapsed rectum, stool impaction, and colon cancer. While these illnesses may result from constipation, they may also add to the causes.
When it comes to holistic approaches for the treatment and relief of constipation, several factors need to be addressed in order to find the cause. The first thing to consider is dietary changes.
The inclusion of fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, grains, seeds, bone broths, water, dried fruit and fresh herb and spices can help. These foods also help to reduce inflammation, which often occurs with constipation.
Below you will find a list of foods to aid in improving bowel habits and restore function and health of the bowel. Not all of these foods are suitable for everyone, and a consultation with your nutritionist will help to determine the best foods, supplements and lifestyle techniques for your unique needs.
Nutritional supplementation can help restore and balance neurotransmitter function within the bowel, thus improving bowel habits and overall health and well-being.
Lifestyle techniques such as meditation, yoga, and exercise can help improve bowel function and reduce pain, stress and anxiety often associated with constipation.
Foods to improve bowel function
|Oats||Oat bran||Flax seeds||Chia seeds||Oranges|
|Broccoli||Cauliflower||Navy beans||Lima beans||Chick peas|
|Psyllium and Chia||Onions||Pineapple||Kiwi fruit||Turmeric|
|Spelt||Wheat grass||Barley grass||All sprouts||Almonds|
|Pumpkin seeds||Sunflower seeds||Sesame seeds||Prunes, dates, sultanas||Fresh/dried figs|
If you still experience constipation after making dietary and lifestyle changes, it is important you speak with your health care practitioner for further investigation. Nutritional supplementation is a gentle way to restore balance to the gut and aid in the healing process of any underlying conditions that may be contributing to constipation.
The Bristol Stool Chart is a good reference to assess the type of bowel movements you have.