Feeling Stuck? 7 Amazing Tips for Constipation

This week we’re talk about constipation and sharing some tips to help counter it. After the holidays, different schedules, foods, and travel plans can alter our digestion and may lead to constipation.

What is Constipation:

Several factors are taken into consideration when doctors diagnose a person with constipation. Frequency of bowel movements, stool consistency, difficulty of passing stool, feeling of blockage, etc. are all taken into consideration. If you are interested how your symptoms line up with the criteria, see the link here.

Constipation can be caused from different sources including, but not limited to, lack of exercise, poor diet, tightness in certain muscles, certain medications, pregnancy, and certain GI or neurological diseases.

What can you do to help get your bowels moving better:

  • Eat right and stay hydrated. Eating high fiber foods and staying hydrated is key! Eat 27-40 grams of fiber daily (mostly soluble fiber) and drink 8-12 cups of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids daily. The fiber and water combined allow for stool to pass through the body efficiently.
  • Exercise. Getting your muscles moving can help your gut get moving!
  • Sit on the toilet with good position and take deep breaths. Sit on a toilet with your feet on a stool (so that your knees are higher than your hips) or lean forward if you do not have a stool available. Sitting in this position helps to relax the muscles of the pelvic floor to make it easier to pass stool. While on the toilet, practice diaphragmatic breathing. Focusing on deep inhales allows your belly to expand and encourages the pelvic floor muscles to relax. Avoid straining on the toilet as this will tense the pelvic floor muscles and make it harder to pass stool.
  • Massage your belly. Colon massage can help if the colon is moving slowly. Gentle strokes or small circles in the direction of your bowel can help to move along the process. There are several ways to perform this massage. Sometimes it can be known as the “I Love You” Massage. See the image below for more details.La constipation : ennemi des fuites urinaires! | Physio périnéale
  • Go to pelvic floor physical therapy. Specialized pelvic floor muscle training can help with coordination of muscles to ease the passing of bowels. A physical therapist can use exercises, stretches and manual techniques to improve a person’s ability to use the right muscles at the right time to have a bowel movement.
  • Try a supplement or stool softener. Speak with your physician before taking any of these medications to ensure they are safe for you. Supplements like magnesium citrate or psyillium husk can assist when you are constipated. Avoid laxatives as they can confuse the bowel/brain communication. Consulting with a knowledgeable provider can help guide you in the direction of the proper supplements to take, specifically a Functional Medicine Doctor.
  • Go! When you feel the urge to go, don’t ignore it. This may interrupt the bowel/brain communication.
  • Give Yourself Time. Set aside time after breakfast or dinner for undisturbed visits to the toilet, even if you don’t feel you have to go. Bring a book to distract yourself if needed.

If you struggle with constipation, please contact us to set up a session so we can help you get things moving better.

Written by Andrea Barberio, PT, DPT

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