why can't I poop?, constipation, gas, bloating

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Get your bowels moving!

I’m not kidding. This probably isn’t something you talk about in casual conversation but it’s one of the basic bodily functions that has to be in working order for you to feel good.

I don’t mean just from a comfort stand point. I mean: In order for you to be healthy you need 2 Things, and only 2 Things, really: Nutrients In and Waste Out.

Your body is really good at compensating and adapting to stress.  If you’re not getting waste out, your body is designed to manage it another way – by reabsorbing whatever toxins it can and sending them back to your liver for processing. Yuck!

That will certainly drain your energy, and your health, and make you cranky. Constipation can affect your appetite, your ability to sleep and even your hormone balance.

Causes of Constipation

Many medications can cause your bowels to slow down – pain medication, antidepressants and birth control pills are some of the most common. 

You may have an imbalance of bacteria and yeast in your gut, you could have a neurotransmitter dysfunction or you may be missing some specific nutrients as a result of diet or previous medications.

If you have ever had

  • an abdominal surgery
  • or been pregnant
  • or had a low back or hip injury

the you may have an imbalance of the muscles in your pelvic floor.

In the early part of your Restore Health Program, you may not have your test results back yet. But even if we don’t know your specific underlying causes we still want to help your body eliminate waste.

Short-Term Solutions to Get Your Bowels Moving

I have had patients tell me they move their bowels regularly – once a week.

While that may be common, it is not normal or healthy. From a basic anatomy/ physiology stand point, we are mammals and like other mammals, humans should absorb nutrient and eliminate waste for each meal they eat.

If you have had chronic constipation, (moving your bowels less than 1x/ day) you may need to have some lab tests done to get to the root of the problem.

Here are some home remedies that will address the symptom, even if they don’t solve the underlying imbalance.

#1 Prunes

An intestinal tract that is sluggish doesn’t do well with dehydrated fruit, so it’s best not to eat prunes right out of the bag. Once cooked, they can be stored in the fridge, added to cereal or eaten by themselves.

Here’s a simple recipe for cooking them that includes cinnamon, which has been shown to help manage blood sugar issues.(1)

Simple Recipe

12 dried prunes
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick

Put all them in a small pan on medium heat. Once the water boils, turn to low heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Refrigerate and use as needed.

Tzimmes (serves 6-8)

9 medium carrots, (about 1 pound), peeled
4 sweet potatoes, (about 2 pounds)
1 cup bite-size pitted prunes
1 cup dried apricots, (about 5 oz)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 ½  tsp orange zest, (from one orange)
¼  tsp salt

STEP 1

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut carrots into 2-inch pieces. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, and lower heat to medium; add sweet potatoes in their skins, and cook for 20 minutes, adding the carrots after 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, and set aside until cool enough to handle.

STEP 2

Peel sweet potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large bowl along with carrots and remaining ingredients. Mix well, and transfer to a 2-quart baking dish.

STEP 3

Cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes, basting with pan juices after 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and serve immediately.

#2 Magnesium Powder

Magnesium is important for 300 different enzyme systems in the body that effect everything from your muscles to your mood. It is also important for Vit D status.(2) 

Several studies have shown that most Americans don’t consume the recommended amount of magnesium.[3] Magnesium is essential for normal relaxation of smooth muscle, which is part of normal gut function.

If you have EVER taken a proton-pump inhibitor (acid blocker) then your magnesium levels have been severely depleted and cannot be returned to normal without supplementation.

Here’s what I recommend: Magnesium Citrate in a powder form. Added to hot water, it will bubble and fizz and makes a tasty drink.

#3 Laxative Tea

An easy one to find in most drug stores or health food stores is the brand Traditional Medicinals. Look for “Smooth Move Tea”.

Long-term Picture

While each of these remedies can be helpful, if you find you need to use one of them every day then something is out of balance. See your Functional Medicine practitioner to help you address the underlying imbalance. You may benefit from a stool test that checks digestive function as well as looks for parasites, dysbiosis, yeast overgrowth or pathogenic bacteria.

Have you tried these remedies? How have they worked for you? Tell us in the comment section below.

References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Davis+Yokoyama+Cinnamon
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23981518
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

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