Overcoming Constipation

Category: Best Ever Must Reads, The Good Living Guide

The Natural, Correct, and Only Way

Overcoming constipation is simple – if you know how. While natural laxatives have their place, the ultimate cure for constipation, or treatment for constipation, must be aimed at removing the cause of constipation. Here is some sound, tried and tested advice on the causes of constipation, bowel management, colon problems, colon cleansing, laxatives for children, how to give an enema, the natural bowel flush etcetera.

Helen suffered from constipation and was dependant on laxatives from the age of six to the age of seventy-two. She then switched to a natural food diet, one that included an abundance of grains and legumes (rich in soluble fiber), she avoided the “white” culprits – white sugar, white bread, white flour, white rice, and hydrogenated fats and margarine (the “white” fats) and she followed a few of the suggestions that are made below, and her constipation problems were permanently solved.

Helen followed the only true and correct way to deal with constipation – that is, she removed the cause of the malady. When we do this, natural bowel function is usually the sure result – and the food we eat will be readily digested, absorbed, metabolized and eliminated – with great, energy-filled, good feelings as a sure reward.

If you are having a problem with constipation, we trust that Helen’s recovery experience will be your experience.

Before we consider a few natural aids to bowel function, we wish to point out that it is highly unlikely that you will ever resolve your constipation problem unless you take the following points into consideration.

1. Drink sufficient water each day:

An adequate intake of water is essential for the promotion of bowel motility. If you are not drinking sufficient water in between meals (never together with meals), your body will be in a state of semi-dehydration and it will not release a sufficient volume of fluids into the intestines to allow the fiber in your diet to swell and to soften and add bulk to your stools – thus aiding elimination.

2. Avoid Food Preservatives:

Food preservatives work by inhibiting bacterial action. The problem being that preservatives also inhibit the action of the all-too-necessary and all-too-important friendly bacteria that thrive in the mouth and in the intestines, and that play such a vital role in the digestion process. Thus, without even considering the many other potential hazards associated with the use of food preservatives, they should be avoided wherever possible.

3. Avoid Refined Foods:

As mentioned above, fiber is the food component that swells, softens, and adds bulk to the intestinal contents and that helps the muscular contractions in the intestines to move food residues through the colon and out of the system. It simply does not make any sense, therefore, to use refined foods – for such foods have typically had the fiber component removed in the refining process. Foods to avoid would include white sugar in all forms, white rice, white bread, white flour and white flour products – including “brown” products produced from white flour that has been “browned” by the addition of molasses etc. Margarine and common cooking oils are hydrogenated products and, as such, they are the most refined and adulterated of all processed foods – avoid them and use natural alternatives instead.

4. Have a  Whole-Grain Breakfast.

Many people avoid breakfast, others only nibble at this time. This is not a wise practice as it forces the body to draw from stored energy supplies rather than from the energy that would otherwise be produced following a healthy, whole-grain breakfast. In this regard, we highly recommend the Nature’s Choice range of whole-grain breakfast foods including Luxury Wholgrain Granola, Wonder Crunch, Gourmet Muesli Crunch, Oat Bran, Barley Bran, Three-Grain Cereal, Seven-Grain Cereal, Miracles, Sorghum, Wholegrain Mealie Meal etc. A generous serving of fruit, a bowl of whole grain cereal, and a thin slice of wholegrain toast, and you are well on the way to an extremely happy, energy-filled day.

5. Consider Physical Obstructions:

If ever you have been extremely constipated in the past, and you were forced to eliminate under great pressure, blood vessels in the anal area may have distended and may have torn surrounding tissue. These blood vessels may be protruding into the anal canal and will thus restrict the passage of stools through the anus – especially when pressure is applied. These are referred to as internal piles and will cause all the symptoms of constipation – even though you may not be constipated as such. Provided the situation is not too serious, it can usually be remedied by following the appropriate recommendations (see below) for at least a month. You will have to at least take psyllium as directed one hour before every meal and you will have to eat liberally of natural, unprocessed, high fiber foods – Nature’s Choice Oat Bran and/or Molasses Bran are highly recommended for breakfast. The idea is to keep the stools very soft so that they can pass through the anus under a minimum of pressure and thus give the damaged tissue opportunity to heal – psyllium usually accomplishes this task most nobly.

6. Remember that meat, cheese, milk and yoghurt are fibreless foods;

and that, as such, the free or over-use of these products will promote constipation. Always use these foods in moderation, therefore, and always take them together with high fiber foods, such as fruit, vegetables or whole grains. (Remember, it is always best not to mix fruit and vegetables at the same meal – especially if you are experiencing digestion problems).

7. Remember that stress can give rise to constipation.

If we cannot remove the stressor, then we will need to take take appropriate steps to keep the bowels moving until such time as our life is less stressful (see below).

8. Constipation can be a side effect of many medicinal drugs – especially antibiotics.

Appropriate steps must be taken, therefore, to counteract the constipating effect of such drugs. If chronic constipation is experienced then speak to your prescribing physician about an alternative treatment or drug.

If you have heeded the advice given above, and you are still having difficulties at stool, then you should consider using whichever of the following products and treatments are most appropriate for your condition and circumstances – please discuss what follows with a suitably qualified health professional. You may use more than one product or treatment at a time, but as a rule you should consider the recommendations made below on an either/or basis – and always work at regulating your diet and lifestyle until such time as intervention is no longer necessary.

Please take note that the first four suggestions listed below will tend to prevent constipation and, until such time as your bowels are functioning naturally without the use of these products, regular use is recommended and safe. The remaining products will serve to flush the bowels and, as such, should only be relied on for temporary relief (that is, when the use of the first four products fails to promote natural bowel function on a day to day basis). Whenever you do use a “flush” always do so for at least 5 days to ensure that you achieve a thorough bowel cleansing.

If you need to study further into the dangers of constipation, and we strongly suggest that you do, please read the excellent article on constipation and its dangers at www.keepwell.co.za/constipation.htm. This article will help you to better appreciate the seriousness of this condition and will enable you to make a more informed choice as to the best treatment in your situation.

For good measure, we once again urge you not to over-use any laxative or any treatment aimed at flushing the bowels. Constant use of such treatments will reduce the levels of friendly intestinal flora in the colon and could lead to dependence and other digestion problems. Always remember Helen’s experience and aim at removing the cause of your constipated condition – which cause usually amounts to little more than a faulty diet and lifestyle, insufficient drinking of water, and insufficient exercise.

A GOOD IDEA: Treatments aimed at cleansing the colon will usually result in the loosening of long- present food remains in the colon and the release of toxins into the system. In order to neutralize these toxins, it is a good idea to take 2-4 teaspoons of Nature’s Choice Detoxinal (activated granulated charcoal) in water following any such treatments. Do bear in mind that charcoal itself has a mildly constipating effect and steps should be taken to counter this effect. If you are on any type of medicinal prescription, do not take charcoal unless advised to do so by your prescribing doctor as charcoal can neutralize the effect of drugs..

If you have not already done so, we once again urge you to consider the article on constipation at www.keepwell.co.za/constipation.htm. This article (as with the other articles at this link) is a must-read – whether you are constipated or not.

See The Self-Administered Enema

Hot Water Before Meals At least 30 minutes before breakfast and lunch, take a hearty drink of hot water (two to four cups – which must be heated in a non-metal container). In some, this practice tends to trigger bowel function soon after eating.
NC Prunes Prunes have a mild laxative effect. Soak 10 prunes in water for one hour (or more), discard the water, and then eat these as the fruit component of your breakfast. This works very well for some people, not so well for others.
NC Digestive Bran or NC Molasses Bran Add a tablespoon or two of either of these products to your cereal or porridge. For some people, this works wonders and this procedure becomes a life-long habit. Either of these two products can be soaked in water overnight and then used as recommended. In their dry state, either product can also be sprinkled over salads or fruit salads, or added to soups or stews.
NC Colon Cleanse (Psyllium Husk Fiber) Psyllium is not a laxative. It simply increases the volume of fiber in the colon – thus aiding detoxification, digestion and elimination. One hour before meals, briskly and quickly stir 2 teaspoons of psyllium (not more) into a large glass of water (at least 500ml) and drink rapidly – see directions on container. This is a marvelous product that is usually highly effective – although for some people it can take two to three days before the effect is noticeable (The effect? Stools as soft and smooth as a jelly baby). At Nature’s Choice we import many tons of this product every year. Psyllium is highly recommended if prunes and/or bran fail to produce satisfactory results.
Fiber, Fiber, and More Fiber Studies have shown that in addition to its role in disease prevention and healthy weight management, fiber supports healthy blood sugar, lower cholesterol, bowel regularity, toxin elimination. Nutritionists recommend eating at least 35 grams of fiber each day for optimum health, including both soluble (water soluble) and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber (found in fruits, beans, oats, legumes and nuts) acts like a kitchen sponge, literally soaking up toxins as it passes through your digestive tract and capturing them in order to prevent their re-absorption into the bloodstream. Insoluble fiber—often referred to as “roughage”— passes through the intestines virtually intact, helping to “sweep” the colon free of debris by removing toxins from the intestinal wall. It also tones the bowel muscles by creating resistance and stimulating peristalsis (the natural muscle contractions that move food through your intestines). Peristalsis is necessary for healthy elimination, and healthy elimination is an important step in ridding toxins from the body. Sources of insoluble fiber include wheat bran, whole grains, and fruit and vegetable skins.
Probiotic Bacteria Probiotic bacteria are the friendly bacteria that inhabit the intestines – otherwise known as intestinal flora. If these bacteria are in short supply in the intestines, permanent relief from constipation is unlikely – regardless of what treatment you follow. Probiotic bacteria are now available in tablet form (up to 2 billion bacteria per tablet), and this treatment is highly recommended – especially if you have recently been on antibiotic treatment (which usually depletes intestinal bacteria). Your local health store owner will give you further advice. When and if you start to feel bloated, and when and if you lose your relish for food, it is time to stop taking probiotic bacteria in this way.
Prune Juice
(A Flush)
Prune juice has a strong laxative effect. Drink 250ml of prune juice first thing in the morning – at least 30 minutes before you take any solid or any other liquid. Your bowels should work well within a couple of hours. If not, you will have to resort to one of the recommendations made below. Your bio-friendly food stockist will be happy to order Prune Juice via Nature’s Choice.
Herbal Laxative
(A Flush)
NC Herbal Laxative Tablets are very effective. Do remember, however, that even the most natural and even the mildest of herbal laxatives work by irritating the bowel lining – which forces the body to draw liquid into the colon in an attempt to flush the irritation from the system. Over-use of such products could lead to other problems and could even lead to dependence on such products. When needed, take four tablets with water before retiring – the bowels should flush before breakfast. If you experience griping then, in future, take Herbal Laxative Tablets together with a tea brewed (for 15 minutes) from a level teaspoon of any aromatic herb such as sage, thyme or sweet basil. Remember, while laxatives are somewhat harsh on the system, there are times when the use of a laxative is far less harmful than non-use of a laxative.
(A Flush)
If the bowels have not worked for some time, an enema might be the treatment of choice – especially if it is suspected that the bowels are compacted. Enema Cans may be purchased (or ordered) from most chemists. Properly used, enemas are a safe, time-tested method of flushing the bowels. We have included detailed instructions for giving an enema.
Sea Water
(A Flush)
This treatment is not recommended unless the sea water was gathered FAR from any city – otherwise it is recommended that it be purified through an ultra-violet filter and/or a charcoal filter. (Surfers and bathers will swallow a cup or two of sea water every session so there is no great danger here). On awaking, while the stomach is empty, and at least one hour before breakfast, drink two average cups of sea water together with four average cups of fresh water (you can mix them together or drink them apart). Take no more than five minutes to drink all six cups. Lemon juice may be added to the sea water to make it a little more palatable. The bowels will usually flush VERY WELL before breakfast. The indigenous people of Africa have used sea water in this manner for centuries. This is by far the most effective bowel flush that we know of.
(A Flush)
A colonic can be described as a prolonged, continuous enema. It is always administered by trained personnel who use special equipment. Colonics are  is usually very effective. In most cases a series of treatments will be recommended. Your nearest health store should be able to refer you to a practitioner in your area.
If you have tried your utmost to promote natural bowel function, and your problem still persists, then you need to consult a Naturopath.
Children should never be given laxatives. Try these safe alternatives instead.
Liquids Children should be trained to drink heartily of water in between meals. This usually does wonders.
Soaked Prunes As described above, these are highly recommended for children
Diluted Prune Juice A dilution of prune juice and water (50/50) usually does the trick.
Mashed Prunes and Apricot In the case of babies who are on solids, mashed prunes and apricots will usually provide excellent results.
Warm compresses Warm to hot compresses (not too hot) applied to the stomach area will bring blood to the area and promote bowel function. In stubborn cases, use in conjunction with any of the above.
Enema Should your child become severely constipated (sometimes parents allow children to eat such a lot of “junk” that the kids become totally clogged), then it is unlikely that anything taken by mouth will clear the condition. In such cases speak to a naturopath or a suitably qualified health professional about using an enema. See Enema Procedure

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    I must say the Psyllium works like a bomb. I never thought I would see what I saw “live”. I am now recommending it to everyone I care about. How about commission hehehe!!!!

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