Last week I shared a great post from a fellow chiropractor talking about how amazing our digestive system is and how it works when it is working properly! I told you I would share with you this week all about constipation!
So what is constipation? Well, according to the Cleveland Clinic “constipation occurs when bowel movements become less frequent and stools become difficult to pass.” The thing that I like about this definition is that it does not say a specific number of bowel movements per week equates constipation but really advises you to take a look at how your patterns change. If you notice that you are usually going on average 2x per day and then you go 2-3 days before having a bowel movement, that could be a sign that you are constipated. On the flip side to that, you could be a person who has a bowel movement every other day but you are not constipated.
Besides frequency, there are some other key features to look at when trying to decide if you are truly constipated or not and they include:
· Stools are dry and hard
· Bowel movements are painful and difficult to pass
· Feeling as if you have not fully emptied your bowels
· feeling bloated leading to stomach aches, cramps, nausea
So now that you know how to define constipation, I am sure you are wondering what might be the cause of constipation. Well, there are many causes, which include lifestyle choices, certain medications, specific medical conditions, and pregnancy!
I am going to talk about how lifestyle choices and pregnancy impact our bowel function with you today and then share a with you how chiropractic may be able to assist you if you are experiencing constipation.
So, some common lifestyle causes of constipation that are dietary include not having enough fiber in your diet, not drinking adequate amount of water and eating large amounts of milk or cheese. Living a sedentary life style may lead to constipation because if you are not moving your body then your bowels will not move either! Also, any changes in your regular routine can lead to constipation, which is why when people travel it is very common for them to experience some constipation. When you are majorly stressed out, you may become constipated because you body is focused on other things and not doing its basis activities of properly digesting and eliminating our food. So, if you start to see the beginning symptoms of being constipated, check yourself on these items and then change your lifestyle in a way that will support healthy bowel patterns.
Something I always ask my pregnant moms about is how their bowel function is. The reason for this is because it is very common for pregnant women to experience change in their typical bowel pattern due to changes in their hormone levels. There is also the fact that the baby is in the womb squishing the intestines leading to slower motility of the stool.
So how does chiropractic relate to all of this? Well, since the central nervous system controls all of the systems in the body, including the digestion and elimination organs, bowel issues may be related to subluxations in the spine. If signals from the brain are not getting to the muscles, organs and glands (including the intestines) then the result may be constipation. It is commonly reported that after a chiropractic adjustment, people begin to have healthier, easier bowel movements. So, if you deal with constipation on a regular basis, apply the information that you just read and if that does not make any change, it may be beneficial to be evaluated by a chiropractor!