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Am I Constipated?

You’re constipated if you experience::

  • Incomplete emptying of the bowels. Eg. You might go daily but there’s a sensation of incomplete evacuation, ie: there’s more to expel.

  • The sensation of wanting to go but nothing happens.

  • Hard, dry stools that require straining to pass.

  • Infrequent bowel movements, a day or more without going.

Ideally, a bowel movement is effortless (no straining) and should take a minute or less. You should have the feeling of being completely empty. The stool consistency should be formed, brown and not strong smelling.

Bowel movements should occur 1 – 3 x a day.

The drivers of constipation vary and if simple dietary changes aren't helping - you're best determining the cause with the help of a naturopath.

Causes Of Constipation

  • Low stomach acid and/or digestive enzymes

  • Resisting the urge to go

  • Gastrointestinal infection

  • Small bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Nerve issues in the gut

  • Mechanical issues (stricture, prolapse, rectoceles, pelvic floor dysfunction)

  • Poor diet (inadequate water and fibre)

  • Insufficient daily movement

  • Stress or anxiety

  • Recreational drug use / drug addiction

  • Certain medications like those for pain, iron deficiency, antacids, blood pressure

  • Pregnancy

  • Medical conditions including diabetes, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, parkinson's disease

What Makes Healthy Daily Bowel Motions?

1) A Healthy Microbiome

Our gut microbiome is the community of bugs living in our gut. Improve yours by having probiotic-rich foods and drinks like coconut water kefir (or milk) kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, pot set yoghurts and kimchi. If none of these appeals to you, you might like to use a high-quality board spectrum probiotic.

2) Adequate Fats

This help to lubricate the bowel: Think omega 3 rich foods like deep sea oily fish (SMASH foods: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring), avocado, free-range eggs, grass-fed butter, olives, nuts and seeds.

3) Daily Movement

Including both exercise and unplanned movement (daily steps). This encourages peristalsis - the wave-like contractions that move food through your bowel.

4) Stress Management

This is particularly important for folks who hold stress in their gut. A gentle nightly tummy massage with coconut oil (clockwise) is helpful.

5) Adequate Fibre

This helps move food, toxins and unwanted hormones through the bowel. It also feeds the good bacteria living in your gut. Think figs, prunes, dates, soaked chia seeds, ground flaxseed, legumes, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds and fruit and veg.

6) Hydration

Adequate water intake is essential. Aim for clear to straw-coloured urine and avoid excess caffeine that dehydrates the bowel.

Find more tips for a healthy gut, in our gut healing article here.

For a full digestive health overhaul, book our Gut Healing Package. Want to know more? We can discuss your needs in a free 10 minute consultation.


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