What’s the one thing everyone does, is critical to your health and well-being, but NO ONE wants to talk about?
Bowel movements. I am going to cover and uncomfortable, but necessary component of digestive health.
Your stool delivers important information about your health and digestion. The color, shape, smell and consistency is important information about how food is being processed by your body, and the health of your intestines. (In a previous blog entry I talked about the importance of digestive health, or more specifically – why you need the perfect poop. Read it here if you need a refresher. ) Many people suffer from digestive discomforts such as constipation, diarrhea, loose stools or cramping, which all indicate that your digestive system is not functioning correctly or is irritated by something. Failure to pay attention can lead to be more serious issues like IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and more. Additionally, when your digestive system is not right, the rest of your body is out of sync as well. Your immune system becomes compromised, making you more susceptible to germs, illness and bacterial overgrowth, which is not a place you want to be. Additionally, your central nervous system is affected, possibly leading to sensitivities, anxiety and depression.
I have dealt with my fair share of digestive issues, having suffered from parasites and an overgrowth of bad intestinal bacteria, which contributed to bloating, constipation, and irregularity, eventually leading to autoimmune issues and anxiety. Thus, I know first-hand how uncomfortable these issues can be, and how much energy they suck from your life. The first step in reclaiming your energy is to make sure that what you put in…comes out right.
Your stool should be well formed, firm, not offensively smelly, and come out easily. If you do not experience a regular bowel movement, or if you commonly experience loose or hardened stools, you are likely suffering from some digestive issue. Without a consistent elimination pattern, you will likely feel fatigue, tired, unmotivated and uncomfortable.
Sometimes it’s as easy as correcting your diet, because food sensitivities or intolerances can interfere with proper digestion. You can investigate this on your own with a food diary to track any irregular responses. For instance, dairy causes digestive upset in many people, and gluten can create an inflamed bowel. If you cannot pinpoint a certain food, then you might want to dig further with the help of your doctor and test for bacteria, parasites or other pathogens that might be blocking your pipes.
However, for acute constipation issues there are a few home remedies you can try to get relief.
- Make sure you are drinking enough water. Dehydration can prevent food from smoothly moving through the intestinal track. Adding fresh lemon juice to your water can stimulate your digestion as well.
- Eat enough fiber. Fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, are critical for a healthy bowel.
- Ginger or peppermint teas help to calm the stomach and quell inflammation.
Finally, take a look at your emotions and stress levels. Often we can feeling stick in a rut or held back with stress, or we hold on to emotions like anger, resentment or frustration. Given what we know about the mind-body connection, it is quite feasible for the gut to respond to these emotions. Gently and kindly work on releasing your emotions to regain emotional balance and calm the gut. ( Read more about the mind – gut connection here )
Your digestive system is at the root of your well-being. When your gut is off, so are you. So, don’t let another day pass by without working towards relief. Your digestive system is too important to ignore.
Here’s my handy dandy guide to constipation, or more of an ODE to constipation. I hope you find it both helpful and humorous! Feel free to pass it along on facebook or share with your friends. I’d love your comments!