Poop! As basic as it is, it’s one of the most unnerving and uncomfortable topics to discuss in the world especially in public. Even when you’re having a good laugh about childhood memories, it is still embarrassing to mention the fact that some of us pooped on ourselves at some point or another in our lifetime. Well, who can blame them? It is unsightly and usually foul smelling but you know what? Seeing it often is a very good sign of excellent intestinal health. Do you know that you can measure/gauge if your your bowel movement is healthy (or if you are constipated)? This is done my counting the amount of time (hours or days) it takes for the food you eat to digest and the waste product to be passed out, this is called “Transit time”. Constipation is not a disease, it is a symptom (which in lay terms means your body is pointing you to something not going well in your body). Constipation is usually caused by a wide range of issues that include;
- Dehydration and Lack of fibre
- Colon cancer
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Gastrointestinal Disorder
- Lack of exercise
- Overuse of laxatives
- Over-consumption of dairy and dairy products
- Change in diet and environment
- Reaction to medication
- Eating disorders
Whew! The list is long right?
I will be honest and admit that I have for the longest time suffered from chronic constipation. I use the term “chronic constipation” because it was a continuous battle, my case was not one of those that came today and left tomorrow. I would move my bowel today and my next bowel movement may be in the next 5 days or even 7 days, it was not pleasant at all. It brought a lot of discomfort, pain, flatulence, heaviness, bulging stomach and low self esteem. As I grew older, I began to search for relief but I didn’t want instant relief as most medications provide, I wanted long term solution, I wanted to have a healthy and normal bowel movement.
In my search, I discovered that my eating and lifestyle from infancy to adulthood have mostly contributed to the issue becoming chronic. I found out that even the baby formula I was given contributed to my constipation, which I recently confirmed with my niece (parents take note!). I was also in the habit of holding back poop a lot especially when I was in secondary school due to toiletry sanitation issues (boarding house life), and this has contributed to the problem, and a couple of other habits that are usually overlooked.
Before I go into the remedies that have helped me so far, I MUST EMPHASIZE that no matter the remedy you choose to adopt, NEVER become dependent on it. Over-dependency on any medication or remedy takes away or limits the ability of your normal body’s elimination process, which means that without it you will not be able to move your bowels. That being said, here are the 5 major remedies that have improved my bowel movement;
- Water: As simple as this item is, it is the first and most important item you should add to any protocol or remedy you decide to use. Water makes up to 70%-75% of the human body structure, so we need a lot of it. Your daily intake of water is determined by your body weight, you can calculate how much water you need to drink here.
- Citrus Fruits: I have found that citrus fruits like orange, lemon, lime, tangerine and grapefruit have work wonders for me in loosening my bowel. Always keep an eye out for the fruits that are in season and enjoy them while they are available. As indicated earlier, although these fruits have laxative properties it is important that we do not become over-dependent on them as it may become ineffective. You can read about my experience with grapefruit here.
- Probiotics: For most of us “probiotics” is a very unfamiliar term as opposed to antibiotics. Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria and yeast that promote the health of the body especially the digestive system. Most people think of bacteria and microorganisms as organisms that cause disease but our body is full bacteria that are both good and bad. The probiotics are ones that keep the bad bacteria in check to ensure optimum balance in the body. When they in adequate supply, they promote healthy bowel movement but when lacking, it usually leads to constipation. These probiotics are found in supplement form and in some foods like yoghurt, fermented vegetables, raw cheese from goat or sheep milk, apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, just to name a few.
- Mint Leaves: I discovered this one by accident, as I bought them to use in garnishing my food. But after eating that meal, we could just say in modesty that I had a release that day. To use you could either garnish your food or use as part of the vegetables in your dish. You could also infuse your morning drinking water with lemon and mint/cucumber and mint overnight.
- Hibiscus Tea (aka Zobo): Hibiscus tea which is popularly referred to as Zobo in Nigeria is one of the most popular tea being drunk in the country. I had not picked up on it’s laxative properties in my body until about a few years ago. I have tried checking for comments or research that indicates this but I haven’t seen any yet (please add link in the comment section if you find any). I have noticed that anytime I drink this tea when not overloaded with sugar and artificial flavours, it loosens my bowel soon after and I am in the bathroom. Please note that hibiscus tea has a heavy pigmentation and if you drink enough of it, your discharge may be discoloured.
Although I am aware that there are other remedies that relieves constipation, these are the ones I have used myself and have had results with. My aim with my blog is to always give information based my experience or the experience of those I know personally. So guys this where I would have to end it, I would not want this post to be too long. In my next post, I would be talking about another therapy/protocol that has made my relief from constipation more sustainable.
I will be one of the first to admit that I am constantly learning and so I am open to (so are our readers) tips on your personal experience with relieving constipation. Please ensure that your tips are from personal experience or experiences of someone you know personally to avoid misleading people. And to our readers, please note that as each of us have unique fingerprints so do each of us have unique body systems and our systems response different remedies will differ from one person to the next. Keep this in mind so as not to heap undue expectations on ourselves or feel that the information given is fake. With that said, please keep the tips coming and see you in the comment section.