Constipation: I Keep Trying to Fix It, But It’s Not Working!
Written by: Marisol Teijeiro N.D. (inactive).
Medically reviewed by: Victoria Williams R.H.N.
Est. reading time: 16 minutes.
Have you ever wondered WHY your bowel movements aren’t what they should be? Maybe you’re feeling frustrated by persistent constipation? You try eating different foods, taking laxatives, and still you struggle with irregularity. Is this you?
Well, you’re not alone! In this blog, we’ll explore what causes constipation and what you can do about it.
1. Why is constipation called a functional digestive problem?
Constipation has reached epidemic levels, and it affects so many of the world’s population, but the effects of constipation are varied1. But one common component of constipation is that it is functional, meaning you can’t find obvious reasons for it. One example of an obvious cause would be having an intestinal mass that blocks the pathway of elimination. Fortunately, this is not a common cause, but you can see why it’s important to get checked out by your doctor. Usually your doctor will try different treatments or do a colonoscopy to get a better understanding of your intestines, depending on your age. Other times they might recommend lifestyle changes and treatments.
2. What are the symptoms of constipation?
The most common symptoms of constipation include discomfort in your abdomen, bloating, and gas. You may produce dry pebbles, hard stools, or have a bowel movement less than once per day. According to the Mayo Clinic2, constipation is classified as having fewer than 3 bowel movements per week.
3. How does it feel to be constipated?
Constipation has a very distinct feeling. You push and push and may go a little, but you feel like you haven’t voided completely despite the hard work. It also takes you longer than most to go to the bathroom. The official term used is incomplete evacuation and straining.
4. Why am I gassy and bloated when I’m constipated?
Gas and bloating is part of constipation and functional digestive disorders4. Even though gas is uncomfortable, it’s one of the natural ways that the body signals the intestines to move. In fact, hydrogen gas is known to have beneficial effects for the colonic mucosa, including functioning as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant: both of which would help move poo5 out of your body.
And while we might be very familiar with bad gas, there is such a thing as good gas (I know, I know, how can it be good?). Good gas is produced by good bacteria, like probiotics. It stimulates the natural action of the intestines to move stools down through your colon.
If the bacteria in your intestines is unhealthy like the archaea species of bacteria that produce methane, then it can actually slow down bowel transit time. This is linked to constipation6.
5. How often should I have a bowel movement ?
A normal bowel movement should happen every day. Generally speaking, men seem to go more than women. In fact, statistics show that on average, men go every 1.7 days while women have a bowel movement every 2.5 days7. . That’s a long time, agreed?
In my practice, our ideal goal is for all patients to go daily, for this simple fact: You eat daily, so what goes in, should come out… daily. Otherwise you get backup and subsequently, constipation.
If you want more information about what your poo says about you, get your free download here
6. Why do men go to the bathroom more than women?
Men have a higher average for bowel movements because, let’s face it, women are more complicated. Yes, I am admitting that, but science shows this too. But the difference in pooping averages has to do with the fact that women have a broader hormone mix than men. Estrogen can be very problematic for women and can have an adverse affect on your bowel movements.
7. How does my thyroid affect my bowel movements?
If you have an underactive thyroid (A.K.A. hypothyroid) or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, then you’re probably familiar with the common symptom of constipation. Think of an underactive thyroid as contributing to an overall slowing down of your metabolism. If your body is slow, then your bowel movements will be much slower too, leading to constipation.
8. Why do my estrogen levels affect my bowel movements?
If you are carrying extra weight, taking birth control pills or other estrogen-replacement drugs, or are exposed to fake estrogens (A.K.A. xenoestrogens – which every human being on the planet these days is) then you probably have a higher level of estrogen than most.
Progesterone balances estrogen in the female body, and progesterone is necessary for healthy bowel movements. Basically, when your estrogen levels are too high, you lose the proper balance between estrogen and progesterone so your bowel movements reflect this imbalance resulting in constipation.
9. Why can’t I poo?
We’ve talked about a few, but there are so many reasons why you can’t poo8.
It has to do with:
– Your nervous system
– Your hormonal system
– Your immune system
– Your digestive system
– Inflammation that you have in your body
– The amount of weight that you are carrying in your abdomen (central obesity)
– The types of bacteria you have in your gut
– The types of foods you are eating
– The foods you may be eating that you are allergic, sensitive or intolerant to
– How much fluid you are drinking
– How many caffeinated beverages you are consuming daily
– How much sleep you are getting
– How stressed you are
– How depressed you are
– How deficient you are in certain vitamins and minerals that support good bowel movements
– Your genetics
And the list goes on and on.
10. Why is the digestive system called the center of our body universe?
Your gut and digestive tract are the center of the universe when it comes to your body. And if you have good bowel movements, you will have better health. Think of your digestive tract as the sun, and all the planets as your internal systems. In short, everything revolves around your gut.
So, if you’ve had problems figuring out why you can’t go, it’s probably because you haven’t found the exact culprit or you have a combination of different factors working against you, causing you to be constipated. And believe me, I understand how sorting out the root cause is like the most complex puzzle you’ve ever imagined. But bottom line, you want to look at your stools for the clues.
As you can see this is a HUGE topic!
11. How often should I poop?
Again, what goes in, must come out. If you eat every second day, then you should poo every second day. But because you eat daily, you really should be having a bowel movement daily. Otherwise, you are constipated.
Your body is an environment that requires flow. Intake of good stuff, outflow of bad stuff. Think of it like a fish tank. When your fish poops, the tank must be cleaned or the fish begins to swim in his own filth.
The same is basically true for you. Waste that stays clogged in your intestinal tract for extended periods of time creates a toxic environment for your system. You don’t want your internal organs to swim in filth. That’s clearly unhealthy.
12. How come most of my friends don’t poo daily?
The reality is that constipation is reaching epidemic levels. 14% of the world population9, suffers from constipation. That’s approximately 1 billion people. The worst part is that this is a life threatening epidemic, because all natural environments, including your body, need to eliminate waste. If you can’t eliminate waste, then the waste backs up and creates a wide range of additional problems.
13. How much should you poop each day?
Did you know that your lower descending colon is the length of your wrist to your elbow. Well, that is the amount of food, fiber, and fluids that you ate the day before and should be what you eliminate daily. Remember, what goes in, must come out.
Have you ever thought, “Wow, here I am eating all this food and where is it going? If it’s not coming out of me, where is it?” It’s just sitting there causing problems. Let’s figure out what we can do to make it better!
14. What is the first step to have better bowel movements?
To know what to do, it is important to know what the problem is. Peeking after you poo every time you go is key. Start to keep a log about it (pun completely intended!) Our Queendom is loving The Log Book | A 7-Day Logging Exercise. It is not only great for tracking your stools, but also your gratitude practices, your health practices, your food and water intake, your sleep and so much MORE!
15. What is the best supplement-free tool to help with constipation?
If you want to reduce the number of supplements you take, then Castor Oil Packs are one of the best tools to help support proper elimination. And they have a long history. Castor Oil Packs have been a wellness tool since Egyptian times, and they’re used in all forms of medicine including Traditional Chinese Medicine, Indian Ayurveda, Mediterranean, Egyptian, and Caribbean cultures.
Castor Oil Packs may help support:
Castor Oil Packs have been shown in animal studies to support pain and inflammation balance11,12. So, with regular use of Castor Oil Packs, reducing inflammation in your gut may lead to less bloating, less food sensitivities and better digestion.
I can’t tell you how many times I have thrown on a pack when I’ve been bloated or really suffering in my guts whether it be from butterflies rocking my belly, or from serious gas.
If nutrient absorption is an issue, chances are you’re low in some of your vital nutrients. Castor Oil Packs may help support nutrient deficiencies naturally, by helping you better absorb your food. To be able to digest food properly, you need amino acids from protein to produce digestive enzymes. So, if you can’t absorb your food properly, then how can you expect to make digestive enzymes? Improving this one function alone may support your body and allow it to work better.
Not only do Castor Oil Packs help support movement in your digestive tract, but they may also help support the elimination process as well. In one research study, Castor Oil Packs were compared to stimulant laxatives and were shown to produce improved satisfaction and sensation of complete evacuation, reduced straining, and patients had an overall better bowel movement experience13.
On top of that, regular use of Castor Oil Packs may also help support antioxidant levels and other factors that help your body with cleansing, like glutathione14,15.
Queen of the Thrones® Castor Oil Packs make this ancient practice easy and less-mess.
Remember, there are so many possible ROOT CAUSES for your CONSTIPATION that troubleshooting can be very difficult. Beginning a Castor Oil Pack routine is an easy way to set a solid foundation while you remove the most common factors that contribute to constipation.
Then, as you look at and analyze your poo, you can become your own best digestive detective by determining the underlying problem, and then fixing it
Are you a practitioner, health coach or wellness influencer? If you’re interested in recommending our easy-to-use tools and practically applying them in your health and wellness professional practice, in clinic, or online with the people you serve, you can join now!
Click here for references
1 Sharma A1, Rao S2. Constipation: Pathophysiology and Current Therapeutic Approaches. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2017;239:59-74. doi: 10.1007/164_2016_111.
3 Mearin F1, Ciriza C2, Mínguez M3, Rey E4, Mascort JJ5, Peña E6, Cañones P7, Júdez J8; en nombre de la SEPD, la semFYC, la SEMERGEN y la SEMG.[Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and functional constipation in adults: Treatment (Part 2 of 2)]. Aten Primaria. 2017 Mar;49(3):177-194. doi: 10.1016/j.aprim.2017.01.003. Epub 2017 Feb 24.
4 Wilkinson JM1, Cozine EW1, Loftus CG1. Gas, Bloating, and Belching: Approach to Evaluation and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2019 Mar 1;99(5):301-309.
5 Carbonero F1, Benefiel AC, Gaskins HR. Contributions of the microbial hydrogen economy to colonic homeostasis. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Sep;9(9):504-18. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2012.85. Epub 2012 May 15.
6 Sahakian AB1, Jee SR, Pimentel M. Methane and the gastrointestinal tract. Dig Dis Sci. 2010 Aug;55(8):2135-43. doi: 10.1007/s10620-009-1012-0. Epub 2009 Oct 15.
7 Bohlin J1, Dahlin E1, Dreja J2, Roth B1, Ekberg O2, Ohlsson B1. Longer colonic transit time is associated with laxative and drug use, lifestyle factors, and symptoms of constipation. Acta Radiol Open. 2018 Oct 22;7(10):2058460118807232. doi: 10.1177/2058460118807232. eCollection 2018 Sep.
8 Sinagra E1, Morreale GC2, Mohammadian G3, Fusco G4, Guarnotta V5, Tomasello G6, Cappello F6, Rossi F1, Amvrosiadis G2, Raimondo D1. New therapeutic perspectives in irritable bowel syndrome: Targeting low-grade inflammation, immuno-neuroendocrine axis, motility, secretion and beyond. World J Gastroenterol. 2017 Sep 28;23(36):6593-6627. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v23.i36.6593.
9 Larry E Miller,1 Alvin Ibarra,2 and Arthur C Ouwehand2 Normative Values for Colonic Transit Time and Patient Assessment of Constipation in Adults With Functional Constipation: Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis. Clin Med Insights Gastroenterol. 2017; 11: 1179552217729343.Published online 2017 Aug 31. doi: 10.1177/1179552217729343PMCID: PMC5582663PMID: 28894394
10 Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18.
11 Grady H. Immunomodulation through castor oil packs. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine. Volume 7 Jan 1 1998; 7(1): 84-9
12 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8.
13 Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18.
14 Badaró MM1, Salles MM1, Leite VMF1, Arruda CNF1, Oliveira VC1, Nascimento CD1, Souza RF1, Paranhos HFO1, Silva-Lovato CH1. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser. J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun;25(3):324-334. doi: 10.1590/1678-7757-2016-0222.
15 Andrade IM1, Andrade KM2, Pisani MX1, Silva-Lovato CH1, de Souza RF1, Paranhos Hde F1. Trial of an experimental castor oil solution for cleaning dentures. Braz Dent J. 2014 Jan-Feb;25(1):43-7.
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