QUICK HEALTH TIPS: Constipation
CONSTIPATION -- IRREGULARITY
Constipation is very common, but fortunately, easily remedied by changing certain habits. Ironically, one of the biggest obstacles is that you may not even realize you ARE constipated!
Conventional medicine defines constipation as having less than two or three bowel movements weekly, when in reality it should be at least one daily, and preferably two or three! If you have less than one daily, you need to correct the problem…and fast!
Regularity is vital for health because without it, toxins accumulate and are recycled in the bloodstream. Constipation can also raise the risk of developing hemorrhoids or fecal impaction in which the solid waste material must be manually removed. Fortunately, constipation is usually temporary and relatively easy to resolve.
What Causes Constipation?
One of the principal causes of constipation is an inadequate diet—one that is based on processed foods and sugars, and which lacks green, leafy vegetables which are a good source of fiber. The roughage helps move the food mass through the intestines and promotes evacuation.
Other Common Causes
Laxative Abuse: If you have taken laxatives for a long period of time, you may become dependent on them, you may need increasingly higher doses, and eventually your intestine may stop working on its own.
Hypothyroidism: A sluggish thyroid gland can also be the cause of irregularity.
Irritable Colon: This condition can cause colon spasms which slow down the movement of the intestine’s contents through the digestive tract.
Ignoring The Need to Go: If you repeatedly put off going when you need to, (for example, you don’t want to use a public bathroom), eventually your body stops sending the signal.
Why Laxatives are NOT a Good Option
Americans spend ¾ of a billion dollars annually on laxatives, according to the American Gastroenterological Association! This is not only an enormous waste of money, but also a potentially hazardous habit.
One of the biggest risks in using laxatives, especially those which contain stimulants, is that the body comes to depend on them for normal function. When you stop using them, it takes a long time for the intestine to function on its own. These laxatives, when used for a period of weeks or months, can reduce the colon’s natural ability to contract, potentially worsening the condition.
In addition, a laxative overdose can damage the nerves, muscles, and tissues of the large intestine. So if you absolutely have to use a laxative, make sure it is only for a very short time. REMEMBER: laxatives do NOTHING to treat the cause of your constipation.
The Importance of Fiber
Bad Cholesterol or LDL: Scientists have found that fiber works in the body to reduce the absorption of LDL cholesterol. The more fiber you consume, the lower your LDL levels become.
A famous doctor has said “Cancer starts in the colon”. Carcinogenic substances hide in fecal material. The further they are from the digestive tract the better! Fiber serves to push the toxins out of the intestine and the carcinogenic material has fewer chances to attack the digestive apparatus. Studies show that if people on a low-fiber diet begin to double their fiber intake, they lower their risk of getting colon cancer by 40%!!
Fiber lowers glucose levels in the blood. It reduces the glucose absorption, preventing the onset of diabetes. A high fiber diet effectively improves glucose control.
If Irregularity Is A Problem, Here Are Some Recommendations:
1) Check for hypothyroidism, especially in women over 40 years of age. Constipation is one of the hidden symptoms of this condition.
2) Try squatting. This is the best position, and the most natural, for expelling feces from the colon and reducing the risk of hemorrhoids, apart from the fact that it is the way millions of people around the world get the job done! At home, you can get many of the same benefits of this position by simply placing a small stool close to the toilet to lift your knees.
3) Eat plenty of fiber! Green vegetables are great sources of fiber, as is flaxseed. A spoonful or two daily in juice or other liquid does wonders.
4) Drink 8 or more glasses of water daily! This is a MUST to get your intestines moving.
One Last Suggestion: Pay attention to the call of nature! The more you put off going, the more water will be absorbed from the fecal material, which will then harden and become more difficult to eliminate.
Take care of yourself!
- Anthony R