Also known as costiveness, or irregularity, this is a condition of the digestive system in which a person experiences hard feces (faeces) that are difficult to expel. It often occurs as a result of food taking too long to pass through the gastro-intestinal tract because the colon absorbs too much water from the food, making faeces dry and hard.
When experiencing constipation, defecation may be extremely painful and in severe cases (faecal impaction) lead to symptoms of bowel obstruction. The term obstipation is used for severe constipation that prevents passage of both stools and gas.
Psychological factors play a strong part in constipation. Many people experience constipation as a result of unfamiliarity with surroundings, long- or short-term anxiety, grief or similar emotions. Constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome is characterised by a combination of constipation and abdominal discomfort and/or pain. For more information on IBS, please see our separate article.
Constipation can also be caused by dietary factors such as insufficient intake of dietary fiber, dehydration from any cause or inadequate fluid intake, or too much or too little of a particular nutrient. Other causes include hormonal, anatomical, side effects of medications (e.g. some opiates), or an illness or disorder.
Consideration of psychological factors is a key step. Methods of treatment vary greatly, but can include psychotherapy, EFT, meditation or direct steps taken as a result of awareness of the issues.
The first physical intervention is to increase the intake of fluids (preferably water) and dietary fiber. The latter may be achieved by consuming more vegetables and fruit and whole meal bread, and pulses such as beans and chick peas and by adding linseeds to one’s diet. Taking exercise is often found to be useful.
A number of natural herbs and supplements can be used to relieve physical – and in some cases, psychological – factors. We do not recommend the routine use of laxatives, as bowel action can become dependant on them. Enemas can be used to provide a form of mechanical stimulation but do not reach stools in the intestinal tract and are not a long-term solution.
There follows a list of products that clients have reported success against this health challenge with. For personalised advice, please email or call 01730 233 414.
Acidophilus is renowned to be of use for the balance of good and bad bacteria in the bowel. It can be used to return the intestinal flora back to normal, healthy levels (natural flora levels may be affected by fungus or antibiotics). It contains high potency lactobacillus and bifidus, both known to support your body's defenses against intestinal inflammation and diseases. Our formulation contains 8 billion live bacteria per capsule (at time of manufacture),and fructooligosaccharides (fos) for the best assimilation. Fos have been shown to help with improvement of calcium and magnesium absorption, balance gut ph, lipid profiles, strengthening of intestinal barrier and reduction of pathogenic bacteria.
MSM is a naturally occurring, easily absorbed source of dietary sulphur, without the distinctive smell normally associated with sulphur compounds. Sulphur is present in all living organisms. It is quickly destroyed when food is cooked, processed or stored. Sulphur has long been known to help maintain the condition of skin, hair and nails. Sulphur alkalises the body, which helps keep the immune system strong. Joint, cartilage and other connective tissues need sulphur as it is a key component of chondroitin sulfate, which gives cartilage the elastic, sponge-like quality needed to act as shock-absorbers between bones. It is also a precursor to glucosamine, which helps rebuild cartilage and ligament tissue. Sulphur is needed for sulfolipids (fatty molecules) in the brain, liver and kidneys. Sulphur is essential for many metabolic functions, including hormone synthesis and production of enzymes and acetyl CoA. Sulphur has a soothing, healing influence on the mucous membrane that lines the gastro-intestinal tract. IT is also necessary for the maintenance of proper liver function, and helps by latching onto certain heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium, facilitating their removal from the body.
Paragon is a parasite cleansing programme. This is a potent formulation of 10 herbs including black walnut, cloves, thyme, peppermint and wormwood, are considered to support in the elimination of a wide range of parasites. Colloidal Silver has anti-bacterial properties (only "bad" bacteria) and Cramp bark aids in elimination and expulsion of parasites due to its muscle relaxing properties. This potent and unique preparation is essential for anyone who has been on holiday or is suffering symptoms of parasites; or anyone on detox.
Supports liver detoxificationCleansing and toning the lymphatic system