Managing constipation is such an important part of keeping your pelvic floor healthy. An impacted bowel or regular straining on the toilet puts immense pressure on our pelvic floor musculature and the ligaments and connective tissue that support our bladder, bowel and uterus.
I often recommend my patients increase their fibre intake to assist with their bowels, however, fiber has so many other benefits to the body.
Constipation is an uncomfortable and often embarrassing health concern that can be improved with diet and lifestyle changes.
Symptoms – You are constipated if you pass fewer than three bowel movements per week, though passing a bowel movement at least once per day is optimal. Other symptoms are straining when you go to the toilet, feeling incomplete after you have passed a stool, lumpy or hard bowel movements, as well as associated signs such as bad breath, tiredness, headaches, loss of appetite, coated tongue, bloated tummy, body odour, flatulence and skin problems.
How to Help – Dehydration and lack of fibre are the most common causes of constipation. Drink a mug of warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice every morning when you wake up. Aim to drink at least 500mls of water before lunch, and at least 500mls of water before dinner. Eat a variety of fresh foods containing fibre. Buy and cook a new vegetable this week. White flour products like biscuits and cakes can increase constipation. Eat at least 1 cup of cooked vegetables per meal and at least 2 serves of fruit per day. Add fruit, yoghurt and nuts to your afternoon snack. Stewed apples with cinnamon are a great source of soluble fibre and a yummy dessert. Include at least 1 heaped teaspoon of ground linseed or chia seed into your porridge or sprinkled on salad or soup.
Consume a quality magnesium supplement daily with your dinner. Include bitter foods in your diet, such as rocket, collard greens and dandelion leaf. Drink herbal teas including ginger, fennel, liquorice or dandelion root.
Other Contributing Factors – Constipation can be made worse by stress and muscle tension, lack of movement, shallow breathing, long term use of laxatives, medications for depression and blood pressure, iron supplements, history of abdominal operations or chronic health conditions such as Diabetes.
Need More help? – Already tried everything for constipation? Our physiotherapists can help you to improve your capacity for movement and can address pelvic floor or abdominal muscle issues that may contribute to your constipation.
Our Naturopath can help you to make dietary changes and can prescribe herbal medicines and nutrients that can relieve constipation. Our Naturopath can also help you with other digestive issues including heartburn/reflux, bloating, IBS and diarrhoea.
Please speak with your Health professional if you are experiencing abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, or if you have noticed blood or mucous in your stool.