today’s topic is digestive distress and constipation
Regularly, your bowels should move at least once a day and up to three times per day.
Bowel movements or poops are SUPPOSED to be the diameter of a sausage because that is the size of your intestinal lining. They should be brown (shade is dependent on the colors of the food you are eating) and about 6 to 12 inches in length. If this isn’t happening, that’s a problem and it serves as a red flag that your digestive system could be working better.
Poops carry toxins out of your body. If your system is sluggish and you are not excreting the “bad stuff” out regularly, you run the risk of having toxins recirculate, causing nausea, brain fog, aches and pains, headaches or other flu-like symptoms. Straining to poop is also common and not normal. Hard rocky stool isn’t normal either.
There are a lot of types of digestive distress that lead to constipation. Here are the most common we see:
- food allergies or sensitivities
- lactose intolerance (a problem with eating dairy)
- leaky gut/damaged mucosal lining of the intestines
- impaired breakdown, digestion or absorption of nutrients from your food
- parasites or other outsiders
- prescription drug use (a common side effect of lots of drugs)
- lack of “good” bacteria in the large intestine
- not enough fiber in the diet
- dehydration (super super common)
- not enough exercise or movement in your day
- circadian rhythm out of sync
- lack of sunshine (vitamin D deficient)
- stress or anxiety
- magnesium deficiency
- SIBO or small intestine bacteria overgrowth
- thyroid imbalance
- other hormone imbalance
client success story
We see a lot of digestive discomfort in the form of constipation. I’d like to share an example of how we work with clients to clear up this common complaint.
I spoke with a new client named Kristen (name has been changed for confidentiality) last week for weight loss. As I was going through her history and getting to know her body, it became clear to me that she had struggled with constipation for the last several years and she didn’t even realize it was an issue.
I explained that it was one sign of WHY she couldn’t lose weight, that it’s a symptom of sluggish digestion and that we had to deal with it before we really dug into other factors of weight loss.
Things we tried:
- We added lemon water to hasten metabolism and take care of dehydration
- We added a magnesium product to work as a natural laxative
- We looked at WHAT Kristen was eating daily that might be contributing to constipation and I found that yogurt was a common breakfast for her (possible food sensitivity)
- We added gut repair nutrients
Just eliminating dairy and adding water and magnesium and doing some short-term gut repair was HUGE for Kristen. We got her pooping everyday and started on her weight-loss journey. Big successes for Kristen!
what can you do to help yourself?
- consume more fiber
- add water and herbal tea for better hydration
- avoid processed foods or a lot of sugar
- add probiotic foods (fermented cabbage, kim chi, fermented pickles)
- add a probiotic supplement
- eliminate dairy or gluten
- add ground hemp or chia seeds
- eat more dried apricots or prunes
other lifestyle suggestions
- increase exercise or take a walk
- read the side effects for all medications
- acupuncture helps
- sit on the potty and lift your feet to a short stool OR if possible, put your feet on the potty in a squat-like position
If these work, YAY for you! We are happy you are feeling better.
Is constipation a problem for you? Find out.
If you answer Yes to any of the following, you could optimize your digestion and get rid of your pesky symptoms.
- Are there some days that you do not poop? (Pooping should happen every damn day!)
- Are your poops like rocks (dry, hard small stone-like)?
- Do you rely on laxatives to poop?
- Do you have lower abdominal stomach aches?
- Do you have alternating diarrhea and constipation?
- Have you been on antibiotics?
- Is your diet pretty sugary? Are you eating a bunch of bread and milk products?
- Did you forget to drink water yesterday because you got busy? (Drinking less than 6 glasses of water per day causes constipation.)
- Is your stress pretty high currently or in the recent past?
- Have you been out of the country recently?
- Did you try the keto diet recently?
- Do you have thyroid issues?
- Are you on prescription drugs? Is constipation one of the side effects?
bringing in the big guns
If you need more guidance, Healthy Nest Nutrition has a Digestive Repair Program that we successfully use to reveal what is causing YOUR constipation. It’s our goal to eliminate your constipation issues.
Together, we team up for four one-hour sessions and work efficiently to untangle your digestive issues. We use symptom trackers and questionnaires, challenge you to make very specific lifestyle changes, use scientifically advanced testing (antibody blood testing, nutrient deficiency blood testing, stool testing for microbiome balance and parasites, or breath tests for overgrowth) and targeted nutrient supplementation if needed to finally rid you of your pesky constipation problems.
Let us help you! It’s what we do.