My 3 Top Tips for Relieving Constipation

Constipation is a disease of civilisation, and is linked to the modern diet. Our diets have changed dramatically in the space of a few years, and they are now high in refined carbohydrates and sugar, and lacking in fibre. However, many people are unaware that the most common cause of constipation is dehydration. Simple changes to your diet may help alleviate your constipation.

The modern diet, high in processed foods, is low in fibre and nutrition but often high in sugar. This diet is a recipe for constipation and bowel toxicity. Foods that remain in the bowel may putrify and toxic gases produced by gut bacteria may enter the bloodstream causing low energy and headaches.

My top four tips for relieving constipation are:-

Cut out grains, especially wheat

I wish I had £1 for every patient who has noticed their constipation goes away when they cut out wheat. Wheat is also abrasive to the gut wall and has been likened to eating razorblades. In fact, it can even cause bleeding from the gut wall. Grains contain enzyme inhibitors to protect them from predators, and these do exactly as they say – they prevent digestion, which is why many people experience bloating and distension after eating wheat. Minerals lie along the gut wall waiting to be transported into the body, but grains contain phytic acid which binds them up, and takes them out in the stool, which is why mineral deficiencies are prevalent in grain eating societies. Bran fibre (from wheat) is often recommended as a treatment for constipation, but since it acts as an irritant to the gut, it is thought that it is not so much a treatment, as a reaction by the body trying to get rid of it as soon as possible!

Drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating drinks such as tea, coffee, soft drinks and alcohol

The bowel is responsible for helping to regulate the body’s fluid balance, and if you are not drinking enough, it will absorb water from the stool causing it to become dry and hard and difficult to pass. Warm water is even better for the bowel. Water should ideally be drunk between meals so that it doesn’t dilute digestive juices, although a small amount with meals is good. When first drinking lots of water you may notice that you need to pass urine more often, but this soon passes, as is the result of the increased intake of water flushing out the cells.

Avoid sugar

If your stool is hanging around in your gut for too long the sugars may encourage the growth of unwanted organisms like yeasts, which can cause flatulence, bloating and a host of other problems if they migrate into the body. The presence of yeasts in the bowel can lower energy and place a strain on the liver, which has to work harder at keeping the blood clean if your bowel isn’t doing its job efficiently.

Ensure good levels of beneficial bacteria

You can encourage the growth of the good guys by eating a diet high in fibre. Supplementing with a good probiotic helps boost levels of good bacteria needed for bowel health.