Dealing with Chronic Constipation

By on October 15, 2011

By Mindy Kannon –

Constipation is a disorder that inhibits a person from moving their bowels. Not everyone needs to go every day but if you have chronic difficulty, constipation can be uncomfortable and painful. It often produces a bloated feeling because the bowel distends with gas and a large amount of stool. Some people feel fatigued; have aches and mental sluggishness and still others get headaches. This condition can also lead to other issues such as diverticulitis, colon cancer and hemorrhoids.

Constipation affects 4 million Americans on a regular basis each year. Physicians write more than a million prescriptions for constipation annually, and we spend over $700 million a year on laxatives and that is probably a conservative estimate.

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The most common cause of constipation is insufficient fiber in the diet but there are many other contributors to this very frustrating problem. People with IBS sometimes have constipation because their colon may not contract properly. Some medications may also cause constipation: iron supplements, antidepressant medication, painkillers and some hypertension medications. People suffering from low thyroid or an excess of calcium in the blood can suffer too. Other disease can also affect our ability to move our bowels: lupus, strokes, diabetes and kidney disease are just a few. Hormones also play a role in digestive regularity. As women go through the various stages of their menstrual cycles their bowel habits change.

Change of lifestyle habits can have a huge affect on your body’s ability to move waste. Change in eating, sleeping or fluid intake amounts can alter the rhythm of the body. For many the consumption of dairy can cause a bout with constipation. Some people have a lazy bowel where the muscles do not effectively contract; this is sometimes caused by an overuse of laxatives.

Many issues are caused by our ignoring our body’s urge to go to the bathroom. Whether we are shy in a public bathroom or don’t have time – the longer the waste remains in the body the more water that is reabsorbed back into the body making the stool, smaller, harder and more difficult to move. So we need to pay attention to our body, when you have to go, stop what you are doing and go to the bathroom.

Any new onset of constipation over the age of 40 should be evaluated by a physician to rule out serious diseases. Bowel transit time is the new measure of digestive health. Optimal time is 12 to 24 hours. Slow transit time raises the risk of colon cancer and contributes to other health problems as well as raises toxins in the body.

The way to remedy constipation is determined by the cause. If medication is at fault then dosage and drug type can be altered. Addition of water, fiber, vegetables and fruits are an incredibly simple remedy for this chronic condition. Exercise is also a wonderful addition to a healthy diet along with stress reduction and relaxation therapies. It may take time to retrain your bowels, mostly if you have been putting off the urge to go for a long period of time.

The addition of Psyllium fiber is another way to help move things along. Taken in the morning and in the evening with an 8 oz glass of juice and water mixed will surely speed up the process without the urgency and drama that can be caused by some of the harsh teas and laxatives.

Adding probiotics can remedy an imbalance of intestinal flora which also brings relief for constipation or diarrhea. By adding magnesium, we can restore the rhythmic muscle relaxation and contraction. We have a widespread deficiency of magnesium that strongly contributes to the prevalence of constipation.  Address lactose intolerance.  You may have an issue with dairy.  Try to eliminate it from your diet for three weeks and see how you feel. There are many different ways to remedy constipation.

I see many clients that have been suffering from constipation for long periods of time. Most of the time a little food journaling and modifications to lifestyle and diet are all that is needed to create the right balance to help the digestive tract run smoothly.

Mindy is running a 4 step program that will help you to stay slim, healthy and happy through the holidays. To learn more about this small group telecoaching group and to register please go to: Deadline October 31, 2011.

About Mindy Kannon

Mindy Kannon is a Holistic Digestive Health Coach. She is a passionate foodie that previously worked as a natural foods personal chef. She has a BA from Pennsylvania State University in Social and Behavioral Sciences and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Her mission is to help busy women achieve good digestive health, with food they are passionate about and a balanced lifestyle. She coaches individual clients throughout the country and offers small group telecoaching programs and digestive membership clubs that will help you regain your health, energy and zest for life. You deserve to be Healthy! For more information or to join in the delicious fun, go to her website at:


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Dealing with Chronic Constipation