Constipation is something we have probably all dealt with at some point in our lives. The first time I really felt constipated, that I can remember, was on my first international trip. It is common to get constipated with traveling due to eating a different diet, not sleeping as well and maybe not drinking as much water or liquids.
It was 4 days into our trip in Italy when my friends started talking about how they hadn't pooped at all since we arrived. I hadn't paid attention up until that point, but then I realized I hadn't pooped yet either. It took me another day before I finally pooped and realized how much better I felt.
Ideally our poop should look like, number 3 or 4 on this Bristol Stool Scale. If you are 1 or 2 you are on the constipated side. If you are type 5, 6 or 7 you may have some gut health issues and should check with your healthcare provider. Read below for tips to help manage that constipation.
Here are some tips to help you manage your constipation:
1. Make sure you are hydrated. It is recommended that most people drink eight 8 oz glasses of water each day. If you are not drinking anywhere near that amount try to gradually increase your water intake.
2. Make sure you are eating enough fiber. Most of us don't eat the recommended amount of fiber each day which is 25-30 g of fiber. Fruits, veggies and whole grains are the best way to get the necessary fiber in your diet. Some other options are to add chia seeds or ground flax to your smoothies. There are also many supplements you can drink now that will add fiber to your diet.
3. Relax and breathe on the toilet. Slow down. In our busy lives some of us that may have more difficulty pooping might actually need to just slow down for a minute and sit on the toilet in order to let the magic happen. Rushing around or being stressed out actually sends the blood away from our gut and makes digestion more difficult and therefore bowel movements may not come as easily.
4. Use a stool under your feet. It doesn't have to be squatty potty, but any sort of stool to prop your feet up on so your knees are higher than your hips will help open your pelvic floor and relax the muscles in order to let the poop pass easier.
5. Colon massage can help increase the speed of your digestion if you are having difficulties. Watch this video for a short demo. Always go in the direction of your digestion which is starting at the right hip, gently massaging up toward your ribs, go along just below the ribs and massage gently down to the left hip. It should be very light pressure and no discomfort.
6. If you still need help contact me for a pelvic floor consult or reach out to a registered dietitian who works with gut issues who can help with your diet to get things moving along.
If your poop comes easily that is great. You can pass this article along to your friend, family or colleague who have difficulty pooping.
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