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.


Natural Treatments for Irritable Bowel

Natural Remedies for Irritable Bowel

Whether you have a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or if you are suffering from similar symptoms, there are various ways that you can help yourself. Diet, lifestyle and natural remedies can all have a huge role in alleviating the discomfort of diahrroea, constipation and the associated wind and bloating that come with the two. This month we are opening a free Bowel Health Clinic, offering advice to all those who suffer with what seems to be a widespread problem across the Western world. Below are some of the most common problems we see on a daily basis and the ways in which we treat them.

Irritable Bowel with Diarrhoea

– For the most part, loose stool are caused by either a tummy bug or bacteria that your body is purging itself of; or inflammation along the mucosa of the gut and/or bowel walls. If your problem persists for longer than a few days or if the problem is recurrent, it is more likely to be caused by inflammation than a tummy bug and there are many things you can do to help reduce this.

Eat a diet that is low in sugar, including natural sugars such as fruit and fruit juices as well as lagers, beers and wines. Sugar is pro-inflammatory and can aggravate any inflammatory condition. Instead fill your diet with plenty of spongy fibres that will absorb water, helping to slow transit. Spongy fibres include root vegetables, porridge oats, beans and pulses and ground seeds like flaxseed. Fibres like bran are generally quite scouring and can irritate the gut mucosa, quickening transit of stools. Choose foods that are easy to digest, like soups and casseroles and avoid raw foods that are more difficult to digest.

If you would like to try a natural remedy alongside adjusting your diet, we generally recommend the herb tormentil to our clients, alongside a probiotic to replace gut flora and improve the general health of the bowel. For a limited time we have put together a Healthy Bowel Package – for Loose Stools and Fast Track Bowels, a 4 week plan containing both these products as well as a digestive formula to ease flatulence and dispel wind. Dietary guidelines are included, advising on how best to eat during these 4 weeks for optimum health of your bowel.

Irritable Bowel with Constipation

– Improved greatly by addition of water and the right kinds of fibre if added to your diet regularly. Choose spongy fibres again, root veg, beans and porridge; while ensuring that you are getting 3 pints of water into your system each day. Fibre needs water to soften your stools and without it, you may still find them hard and difficult to pass.

Constipation is not always caused by a dehydrated bowel or lack of fibre. It could be caused by weakened peristalsis. Cola drinks, tea, coffee and a diet high in salt may deplete your levels of magnesium which helps to keep the muscles of the bowel wall working smoothly, ensuring they are strong enough to keep things moving. It is best to move your bowel every day, so if you are getting the urge less frequently than this, strengthening your peristalsis might help to relieve you of any bloated feelings around the belly and even help you drop a few pounds as the excess waste is eliminated.

Our Healthy Bowel Package – for Constipation, contains a 4 week diet plan, that involves consuming just the right type of fibres, regularly and throughout the day. In addition it contains a 4 week supply of magnesium citrate to strengthen your bowel muscles and improve regularity and a fibre formulation by Pukka to provide additional fibres to move things along, softening any stubborn stools and easing pain.

Irritable Bowel with Alternating Constipation and Diarrhoea

When the bowel is put under pressure from continuous blockages, the mucous membranes along the walls of the bowel can become inflamed. This inflammation as discussed earlier can cause diarrhoea, therefore if you find that you often switch between the two, treat it as you would constipation.

It is important to remember that persistent diarrhoea can have many causes and it is always best to check with your GP that there are no underlying problem that needs medical treatment. Similarly, any sudden change in your bowel habits should always be checked out by a qualified medical practitioner.

If you want to keep up to date with our Bowel Health Month, keep an eye out for our next blog post on our Beat Bloating Package and Wind and Indigestion Package. If you would like any specific advice on your digestion or bowel habits, please check out our Free Bowel Health Clinic, in which we are always available for advice.