Controlling Constipation

Over the next few weeks I am going to be taking a closer look at bowel health and bowel function. This week constipation.
For us, constipation is the failure to move your bowel effectively EVERY DAY! You eat three times a day (hopefully), therefore you should be eliminating at least once a day. If you are not, then we would regard your colon as sluggish – the less you go, the worse the problem!
The bowel relies on muscular contractions to move the waste around your colon, for elimination. If the waste is moved too slowly though because of a sluggish or lazy bowel, the stool becomes hard, dry and difficult to pass.
What is helpful then in trying to prevent constipation?
Ensure a good bowel contraction – this will speed up the rate at which the waste is moved throughout the colon. We often suggest Magnesium to help with this. Magnesium is vital for proper healthy muscle function, but it is easily depleted from the body by tea, coffee, cola, sugar and salt. Decreasing the intake of tea, coffee and cola whilst supplementing magnesium then, should help to improve bowel contractions.
Get the right type of fibre. This is important – you want to get things moving, not just fill up the colon with swelling fibres or alternately purge it, which would be very uncomfortable. We often suggest FOS for this. FOS is also a great fibre for people suffering with constipation because it increases the amount of water being carried to the colon, but does not swell too much, softening the stool, making it easier to pass. FOS also works by improving the strength and tone of the bowel, helping those who suffer with a stretched or lazy bowel, achieve a more normal bowel function.
Improve water intake – if the stools are hard and dry, it may be that you are not drinking enough plain water – try and get at least 2 pints of plain water into you a day.
Finally boost your beneficial bacteria – good bacteria are vital to the proper functioning of the colon, so taking a good probiotic once you have got things moving can be really supportive in maintaining the health of your bowel. Personally, for those who have struggled with constipation, my favourite pro biotic is Higher natures Pro Bio Daily as the bacteria it provides have been found to be particularly useful in dealing with a sluggish bowel.

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