Ok so it’s happened to most of us at least once or twice… and let’s face it, there’s nothing quite so inconvenient and ever so lightly infuriating as the discomfort of missing a regular bowel motion. But have you ever wondered what’s optimal? It’s common for many of us to be losing the window for days (or even up to a week) at a time.
This is common, not normal....
Why should you go every day?
Ideally, a bowel movement should occur at least once a day. Why?
We’re so glad you asked! With each second that passes, our bodies are working constantly to maintain health and equilibrium – it’s easy to forget that elimination is an integral part of this balance.
Infrequent bowel movements are problematic for a plethora of reasons- especially when we consider the build-up and recirculation of toxins and waste, like old hormones that have completed their tasks, metabolic by-products, and environmental toxins that we have detoxified. And think of it this way; If Chad doesn’t take the bin out, the house gets a little funky (thanks Chad).
The same goes for our bodies. The bowels are the final holding station before the elimination of waste products (aka, poop). If waste sits in the bowel for extended periods, it can stink the place up a little. It’s no wonder that when this happens, the result can be that we feel drained, less vibrant, sluggish, and let’s face it, maybe even a little cranky.
The Perfect Poo
Elimination can be such a taboo topic, which, sadly is why so many people aren’t even sure what is considered normal and healthy.
Bowel movements should occur at least once a day, without straining, discomfort, and should come with a sense of complete evacuation. Healthy bowel motions should be formed, easy to pass and something like a banana.
If your stools are hard, lumpy, or infrequent (technically less than 3 bowel motions per week, - but again, ideally, we should be taking out the trash daily!), or you experience straining or a sense of incomplete evacuation, you may be suffering from constipation.
Healthy bowel function depends on several factors, including diet, lifestyle, and the composition of our microbiome (just to name a few!). In fact, even small changes can make a huge difference for our digestive health & habits.
5 Tips to Reduce Constipation
1. Increase Your Water Intake.
Most of us need roughly 2 litres of filtered or spring water daily. Adequate hydration carries essential nutrients to our tissues, whilst also helping us to carry waste out- It’s easy to imagine that without enough fluid, things are simply not as easy to pass.
2. Eat mindfully & Manage Stress
Next time you have a meal, take a moment to appreciate its appearance, how it smells and the flavours you notice. Eat your food slowly- put your utensils down between mouthfuls to avoid inhaling! This process supports the cascade of complex biological reactions including the release of digestive acids and enzymes which helps us to break down, digest and absorb our food.
Stress activates the ‘flight or fight’, response preventing the body’s ability to maximise on breaking down nutrients. By supporting our nervous system and stress load, we support the ‘rest and digest’ mode, whereby increasing circulation to our internal organs as well as overall process of digestion, nourishment, and elimination.
3. More Movement
Daily physical activity actually helps to support colonic motility and function- it has been observed that a physical inactivity may contribute to constipation and infrequent bowel motions. Regular movement also helps to support stress management- two birds one stone!
4. Increase Fibre Intake.
Fantastic sources of fibre include most unprocessed wholefoods, such as fresh fruit and veggies like avocado, berries, apples with the skin, nuts, and seeds (especially flax seeds, chia, psyllium), as well as beans & legumes (start small and build up if these haven’t been a regular feature in your diet). Fibre acts like a broom for the bowels and helps to bind waste as well as bulk and soften the stool. Including varied sources of fibre also helps to support our healthy bacteria.
5. Add a Pre & Probiotic Combination Daily
Prebiotic fibre such as Partially Hydrolysed Guar Gum (PHGG) helps to nourish our good bugs. Additionally, PHGG has been shown to soften the stool, reduce digestive discomfort and straining as well as support the number of weekly bowel movements. Combined with probiotics such as Saccharomyces boulardii & bacillus coagulans, pre- and probiotics assist in supporting a healthy intestinal flora equilibrium to reduce dysbiosis (imbalance).
Featuring PHGG, Acacia gum, Bascillus coagulans, Sacchromyces boulardii, ‘Feed’ By The Gut Co is your perfect bowel-health companion, providing comprehensive and gentle support for a healthy microbiome and bowel function.
For constipation SOS you can increase the dosage of FEED to 1-2 tablespoons per day. Start on the 2 tsp/day then increase over a few days if you a experiencing constipation. Pull back if you experience flatulence or bloating and slowly increase until you achieve the desired effect.
Polymeros D, Beintaris I, Gaglia A, Karamanolis G, Papanikolaou IS, Dimitriadis G, et al. Partially hydrolysed guar gum accelerates colonic transit time and improves symptoms in adults with chronic constipation. Dig Dis Sci. 2014 Sep;59(9). doi: 10.1007/s10620-014-3135-1.
Black CJ, Ford AC. Chronic idiopathic constipation in adults: epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and clinical management. Med J Aust. 2018 Jul 16;209(2). PMID: 29996755.
Cherpak CE. Mindful eating: a review of how the stress-digestion-mindfulness triad may modulate and improve gastrointestinal and digestive function. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2019; PMID: 32549835
McFarland LV. Systematic review and meta-analysis of Saccharomyces boulardii in adult patients. World J Gastroenterol. 2010 May 14;16(18)