A sluggish digestion is more than just constipation. There is often a feeling of fullness, stomach aches or nausea. Putrefaction in your intestines puts a strain on the whole body and weakens your immune system. Here are some tips on how to get your digestion working again, naturally.
A good digestion is vital if you want to feel this relieved.
Many Canadians are all-too-familiar with occasional constipation. Recent surveys indicate that anywhere from one-quarter to 37% of Canadian adults will report symptoms of constipation in their recent history. But prevalence is much higher in frail elderly persons (up to 45%) and in cancer patients (up to 78%), although here it is mainly due to primary or metastatic bowel tumors.
The magnitude of this misery should not be surprising. Because our modern diet lacks most notably in dietary fibre. If your bowels are not moving when you are “on the john”, then many factors can play a role. In particular, stress should be mentioned. Nervous tension is just as responsible for relaxing the action of your bowels than is insufficient support through physical activity. The result: Stagnation in all respects.
In medical terms, constipation constitutes a condition where any two of the following symptoms are present for a period of twelve weeks or more, continuous or not, over the course of a year.
1. Fewer than three stools per week.
2. Hard and difficult stool.
3. Feeling of incomplete evacuation.
4. Having to strain hard at stool
5. Sensation of blockage or obstruction in the anus or
rectum while passing stool.
If you want to avoid your sluggish digestion from becoming a chronic condition, then taking countermeasures already now would be highly advisable. In most cases, this does not require medical treatment and strong laxatives are not necessary either.
When nothing really is moving, then enemas are helpful. You can get them in the drugstore. Glycerin suppositories are effective too. Ingesting lactulose, a synthetic disaccharide, is relatively harmless. Provided always that these measures are not resorted to habitually to get relief.
But caution is advised, exceptionally, against using herbal laxatives. Senna leaves, buckthorn bark, rhubarb root or castor oil irritate the intestines and are anything but harmless.
Homeopathy for Constipation
Homeopathy often works at a deeper level than nutritional supplements and most herbs because it considers a person’s mind and emotions in addition to their physical body. In this way, homeopathic remedies can help with unlocking the stress and emotions underlying the constipation symptoms, ideally leading to a permanent resolution of the problem.
With this in mind, and since it is often difficult to differentiate one type of constipation from another at the physical level, the focus in a homeopathic constitutional consultation is generally on the mental and emotional symptoms, because how you think and how you feel will ultimately affect you at the physical level.
In looking at the mental/emotional profile of remedies that address chronic constipation, most of them include some type of control issue, that is, often there is an area in the individual’s life which they have a profound fear letting go of. Symptoms like perfectionism, obsessive-compulsiveness, fastidiousness, etc. are quite common in cases of constipation, although the individual himself or herself is generally not aware of them. If you have chronic constipation, a homeopathic constitutional remedy that matches your particular experience will be most beneficial, as it will address the problem at the root, i.e. when does the issue show up, what triggers it and how does it manifest?
Homeopathic constitutional treatment is quite in-depth with an initial appointment lasting 2 – 3 hours. It is well worth your while to undergo this process, because your completely individualized homeopathic constitutional remedy will address not only your constipation, but all other complaints as well. We would be happy to see you at the clinic for a consultation or to discuss your questions and concerns. Please call (519) 603-0505 to book your appointment.
Some great general homeopathic remedies effective in dealing with constipation are listed below. Do keep in mind that there are in fact hundreds of remedies for inactivity of the rectum and the one that matches your particular set of symptoms may not be among them. The more closely a homeopathic remedy matches your individual symptoms, the more effective it will be:
Alumina – helps in cases where straining is a marked symptom and even soft stools require great
straining to be evacuated. Alumina works wonders for the constipation of
infants and kids. Children requiring Alumina strain hard at stool with much crying.
Bryonia – is indicated for constipation characterized by large, dry stools that are hard to
push out, with sticking or tearing pains. The person feels grouchy or out of
sorts, and may be tense from business-related worries.
Calcarea Carbonica – helps people who feel more stable
when constipated, and experience discomfort and fatigue when the bowels have
moved. Large stools are hard at first, then sticky, then liquid. The person may
feel chilly and sluggish, have clammy hands and feet, crave sweets, and feel
weak and anxious when ill or overworked. At the mental level, there is
generally some degree of insecurity about health and finances.
Graphites – is indicated when large stools look like “sheep dung” or little balls stuck
together with mucus. Aching often is felt in the anus after the bowels have
moved. People who need this remedy are slow to become alert in the morning,
usually stout, and have a tendency toward eczema.
Nux Vomica –is very effective in cases of constipation
due to a sedentary lifestyle, eating farinaceous food and or alcohol. There is
a constant feeling of incomplete evacuation of stool and at the mental level we
see a fear of wasting time and money, great irritability and perfectionism at work.
Silicea – works well for persons straining for long periods without success. A “bashful”
stool begins to come out, but eventually retreats. People who need this remedy
are generally chilly, physically frail and easily fatigued. They often fear
making the wrong decision, are fastidious about insignificant details, timid and overwhelmed.
Homeopathic philosophy puts great emphasis on leading an active and healthy lifestyle while dealing with constipation or other any other condition. In many cases, this alone will resolve the problem. And don’t forget: A daily brisk walk, exercise or some Nordic walking may be the surest way to keep your intestines intact. There is a lot that you can do!
Muesli activates the bowels!
Fruit in every form contains plenty of soluble dietary fibre and is ideal for activating the intestines.
Ingredients for this Bircher muesli: Joghurt, lemon, apple, honey and nuts
It is often already enough to regularly eat an “old school” muesli for breakfast. Preferably enriched with some fresh fruit or freshly pressed juices. Health conscious eaters give weight to Bircher muesli or fresh grain cereal. But there are high quality and culinarily very appealing, crunchy ready-to-eat mixtures available too, that not only kids are fond of. Particularly when dried fruits are added to the bowl, preferably mildly laxative kinds like figs or, even more effective, dried prunes. In this way, dietary fibre, both soluble and insoluble, are added. They support the proper motion of the intestines (motility).
One of the best remedies for promoting one’s health and digestion is an additional tbsp. of flax seeds. It is best taken freshly kibbled or crushed in the mortar. This is additionally a way to ensure you are getting the precious omega 3 essential fatty acids contained therein. Products such as oat bran can also be used for muesli. This even has the additional proven benefit of regulating increased blood fat levels, which are well known for increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
How useful are Pre- and Probiotics?
Nutritional medicine sees great potential in these so called functional foods. They can be found more and more often in the supermarket. Specialty products that should be able to help your digestion along. For example probiotics in the form of joghurt containing special bifido bacteria cultures. Research shows that such products can help with slowed down digestion and bring marked improvement within a couple of weeks.
But what are probiotics exactly? They are usually dairy products which are produced using selected strains of bacteria. When ingested regularly, they get into the large intestine in large numbers and positively influence the gut flora there. (Reinforcement of lactic acid synthesis, that is, the “good” bacteria) This can have nearly therapeutic effects, for example in cases where the colonization of the large intestine with protecting microorganisms is disturbed following antibiotic treatment.
Medicine puts high hopes in this treatment: Probiotic foods play an increasingly important role in the therapy and prevention of functional digestive disturbances.
Probiotics should be differentiated from prebiotics. Prebiotics are a very special type of food. While many of the food ingredients we consume are digested immediately, prebiotics are a healthy non-digestible food ingredient. The most common type of prebiotic is from the soluble dietary fibre inulin. Inulin is common in many plants containing fructan. Many of these plants are frequently eaten as vegetables – asparagus, garlic, leek, onion, artichoke – and are an excellent source of inulin. By consuming a non-digestible ingredient, it allows for growth of bio-cultures by reaching the intestine unaffected by the digestion process. This can have a favourable effect on the intestinal flora. Probiotics, on the other hand, are live organisms contained in the foods we eat. They remain intact throughout the digestive process, and deliver healthy bacteria directly to the large intestine. Since probiotics do not stimulate metabolic activity, they provide a different set of benefits than prebiotics. Both are valuable for our health wellness, and can act symbiotically to provide numerous health benefits. In fact, the benefits of consuming both prebiotics and probiotics are so strong that products in which both a probiotic and a prebiotic are combined are being developed as functional foods.
Numerous studies have proven how important nuts and dried fruits are for our digestion
Asparagus contains special carbohydrates that keep harmful gut bacteria at bay.
Important to note: A good mix of fibrous and soluble dietary fibres will ensure that we are always on the safe side with respect to a gentle stimulus of the action of the bowels.
Of course, the ”factor fluids” must not be forgotten either. It should be about two litres per day. A good choice would be tasty and healthy teas (rooibos tea and green tea) or spring water. Remember also the proven Ayurvedic practice: Here, several times per day a large cup of fresh water (heated and cooled down to drinking temperature) is on the detoxification program.
“Repair” must be left to the Professionals
But the actions you can take yourself to help regulate your digestion must be differentiated from a fundamental restoration of the gut. There are a number of – alternative – cleaning methods that come into consideration, including colon cleaning, colon-hydro-therapy and Clean-Me-Out therapy. Here, often combinations of special herbs and lactobacilli are used.
Probably the most comprehensive program of a systematic restoration of the gut “from the root” was developed more than 100 years ago by the Austrian doctor F. X. Mayr (known as the “F.X. Mayr treatment” or “milk and bun regimen”). What is less well known is that this concept includes useful measures such as regular tummy massages, which play an important role.
Finally, know that chronic constipation may be indicative of a greater disease process going on in your body.If your constipation is long term and severe, do see an MD for a medical diagnosis.
If you have any questions or comments about this article or homeopathic treatment for constipation or any other condition, please give us a call to book your free 15-minute complimentary information session. We would be happy to answer your questions! (519) 603-0505.
Irene Schwens, C. Tran., DHMHS
Owner and Homeopath