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As with all other digestive disorders, the root causes of constipation, (mild to moderate or severe to extreme) include one or more insulting habits and influences over time in five key areas: 1. hydration-dehydration, 2. micronutrient deficiencies, 3. macronutrient excess, 4.intestinal dysbiosis and 5.stress.
Of all the insulting habits that cause constipation, the number one cause is chronic unintentional dehydration. So before doing anything else or looking anywhere else, make sure you are properly hydrated by following the very specific guidelines of the watercure recipe. Many clients report significant improvement in their constipation condition once they become properly hydrated; especially the mild cases of constipation.
To better understand the causes of constipation, it helps to know how the colon or large intestine works. As digested food moves through the small intestine most of the micro-nutrients are absorbed. This assumes of course that the small intestine is working normally! (which is not always the case.) This means that by the time our digested food reaches the colon, it is mostly waste and water. The major function of the colon is to remove the water from the waste and push the waste forward through a series of muscular contractions called peristalsis.
So, you can see that if the waste does not contain enough water as a result of chronic unintentional dehydration, the waste or stool can become dry and hard and then become compacted into little balls by the action of the constant muscular contractions of the colon. If the muscles of the colon are not properly nourished and energized, they will not function normally. Slow or sluggish or incomplete peristaltic action will result in our fecal waste moving far too slowly through colon and often getting stuck in the main channel of the colon or getting stuck in one or more of the various muscular pouches of the colon called diverticula.
Fecal waste material that gets stuck in these bowel pockets is called diverticulosis another very common digestive disorder. When the one or more of these bowel pockets filled with fecal waste gets infected, we experience a lot of abdominal pain and discomfort, sometimes excruciating pain and discomfort that sends us to the emergency room at the hospital. This is called diverticulitis, which is similar to appendicitis; which can be life threatening if not treated immediately and effectively. Chronic constipation is the underlying cause of both diverticulosis and diverticulitis.
Other Constipation Causes include:
- not enough fiber in the diet (and not all fiber is the same)
- lack of physical activity (especially in the elderly)
- milk, cheese, ice cream, and dairy products in general
- too many refined and processed grain-flour products
- changes in life or routine such as pregnancy, aging and travel
- overuse and abuse of laxatives
- ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
- specific diseases or conditions, such as stroke (most common)
Medications that can cause Constipation include:
- pain medications (especially narcotics)
- antacids that contain aluminum and calcium
- blood pressure medications (calcium channel blockers)
- anti-parkinson drugs
- anti-spasmodics (muscle relaxers)
- iron supplements
- anti-seizure medications
Specific Diseases and Conditions that can cause Constipation include:
- Neurological disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson's Disease
- spinal cord injuries
- Metabolic and endocrine conditions
- Diabetes (Types 1 and 2)
- poor glycemic control
- Systemic disorders
Like all other digestive disorders, Constipation is completely correctable and easily prevented from future occurrences. If and only if you eliminate the root causes and if and only if you become more proactive in your own self-care.
My book, Healing Digestive Illness will teach you how to do all this. If you want specific step by step guidance and detailed personalized instructions contact me directly.
Learn more about constipation by clicking on the links below:
The Center for Functional Nutrition
Assisting in the quest for better health through better nutrition since 1980