By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
February 1, 2019
Patients come into my office for all sorts of reasons. Their visits can be for almost anything – from chronic and difficult-to-treat conditions to unexpected emergencies or minor health concerns.
But quite a few of these patients, no matter where they fall on the health spectrum, have something in common.
They’re clogged up and can’t poop.
No matter what other health concerns are facing my patients, constipation is one of the most frequent complaints I hear. And I’m not the only physician facing this growing epidemic. About 8 million people each year head to their doctor seeking constipation relief.
Why are so many people having problems with bowel movements? And what can you do to get over it.
The first thing I look into is the foods my patients are eating.
Sugars, processed carbs, grains that contain gluten and diary milk from cows all interfere with nutrient absorption.
They’re toxic, hard to digest and can leave you constipated. They also trigger an inflammatory response in the bowels that can contribute to chronic bowel disorders.
And oddly enough, there’s a fallacy when it comes to eating whole wheat foods.
Everybody seems to think whole wheat is a healthy source of fiber. It flies off the racks of grocer’s shelves, whether it’s in the form of bread, bagels or cereals. Everyone wants their fiber!
What they don’t know is that whole wheat is riddled with gluten and sprayed with Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s) glyphosate, which ultimately contributes to colon dysfunction and irregular bowel movements.
I also take a hard look at their medications – including over-the-counter treatments. That’s because some pretty common meds are associated with constipation as well as loss of beneficial gut bacteria.
You might take some of them without even realizing they’re adding to your bowel problems. This includes OTC antacids, NSAID pain relievers and antihistamines.
Prescription diuretics, calcium channel blockers and antidepressants can cause constipation too. And as many as 80% of opioid users experience bowel dysfunction and constipation.
So if you suffer chronic constipation and are taking any of these medications, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. Ask him or her to help get you off of them. And it’s extremely important that you do not accept a laxative as the solution.
That’s because if you regularly take colon stimulants like Ex-Lax it can create dependence. This means you can’t “go” unless you take a laxative.
I find that a lot of folks and physicians make this mistake.
Top Hacks to Get Your Bowels Moving Again
One of the biggest changes you can make in your life to get your bowels moving again is to choose your foods wisely.
Fresh, organic, fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and legumes are your best bet. Aim for 35 grams of fiber every day…
…but don’t load up just yet!
If you suddenly introduce too much fiber into your diet it could give you just the opposite problem: diarrhea.
So gradually increase the amount of fiber rich beans, sweet potatoes, apricots, berries, greens and other plant-based foods into your diet over the next couple of weeks. This will slowly encourage healthy bowel movements without drastic over-correction.
While you’re waiting for the changes to occur, you should be able to stimulate some immediate relief with this little trick:
First, gently massage your colon in the lower left quadrant of your abdomen. (Gently move your hand in a circular pattern, in one direction. This will help fire it up for action.)
While you’re massaging your colon, sip on a little warm water. Before long, you should notice “things” moving again.
I also recommend investing in something called a “Squatty Potty”.
It’s a stool that you place in front of the toilet to prop your feet on. And it places you in an extremely natural position to poop. (The same way your ancestors did when they squatted outdoors for elimination!)
It straightens out your colon in a way that reduces strain and more fully empties your bowels.
They’re not very expensive. You can pick one up for as little as $24.99 at SquattyPotty.com.
Goldstein R, et al. Carbohydrate malabsorption and the effect of dietary restriction on symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and functional bowel complaints. Isr Med Assoc J. 2000 Aug;2(8):583-7.
Pinto-Sanchez MI, et al. Motility alterations in celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Dig Dis. 2015;33(2):200-7.
Miceli Sopo S, et al. Constipation and cow’s milk allergy: a review of the literature. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2014;164(1):40-5.
Bharucha AE, et al. American Gastroenterological Association Technical Review on Constipation. Gastroenterology. 2013 Jan; 144(1): 218–238.
Hsieh C. Treatment of constipation in older adults. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Dec 1;72(11):2277-84.
Bell TJ, et al. The prevalence, severity, and impact of opioid-induced bowel dysfunction: results of a US and European Patient Survey (PROBE 1). Pain Med. 2009 Jan;10(1):35-42.