When I was a little girl … kidding, I will not open this blog with an anecdote. I do have them, a lot actually. If you are intensely curious about it, send me an message. No problem.
After all, we must be relaxed about pooping; sure thing, excreting feces is natural and extremely important. But how to do you do that, pooping better?
For some people counts that they have troubles pooping. Many women suffer from obstipation, which simply means that you can not poop easily for a long time. Normally bowel movements take place three times a day to three times a week. If an individual has bowel movements less frequent than usual or the stool is harder than normal,the individual deals with obstipation.
Stimulate bowel movements with laxatives
Many of the messages that I get are about the stool: how to stimulate them and how to poop more easily. If you’d take this question to your local drug store, chances are great you’ll be directed to the laxatives shelf. Laxatives that can be bought without prescription are for instance the commercial Dulcolax, which contains the substance bisacodyl. Let me tell you: taking those is NOT the way you are going to solve your obstipation for the next reasons:
Active ingredient bisacodyl
Bisacodyl stimulates your intestinal mucosa, which stimulate peristaltic movements (the “kneading” motion of your intestine that pushes your faeces towards the end of your colon). In addition, it ensures that the feces (a fancy word for ‘turd’) in your colon absorbs and holds moisture (this is called the ‘osmotic effect’), making it soft and slip right out of your colon.
Dangers of laxatives containing bisacodyl
Improper (too long and too much) use of bisacodyl, however, can cause bloating and diarrhea to severe dehydration and even thus ‘leaching’ of electrolytes and minerals. Believe me: you will feel bad when this happens.
If you are very unlucky, long term and excessive use of laxatives containing bisacodyl can also cause IBS (Irritatable Bowel Syndrom). Furthermore, using these laxatives more than 3 days in a row can cause the bowel to get ‘lazy’; your gut may stop making peristaltic movements by itself. This is the reason many people get addicted to laxatives.
Bottom line: most laxatives containing the aggressive substance bisacodyl could lead to serious symptoms and you can become addicted to them. Laxatives are therefore not a solution to obstipation. This applies not only to the active ingredient bisacodyl in laxatives, but also for natural remedies and teas, for example senna leaf.
Stimulate bowel movements naturally
Understood: laxatives and teas are a no-go. However, you would like to solve your obstipation problem. Therefore it is best to take a closer look on your lifestyle. For a healthy bowel movement the following issues are important:
Eating a sufficient amount of high fiber foods
You can find good quality fibers in most whole foods. Here is a brief overview of fiber-rich products:
Beans: lentils, black beans, white beans, mung beans, adzuki beans, lima beans, kindney beans, tempeh, boiled peas
(psuedo) Grains: barley, rye, oats, bulgur, whole grain rice
Fresh fruit: raspberries, blackberries, plums, pears, apple
Dried fruits: dates, figs, prunes, peanuts
Vegetables: broccoli, potatoes
Nuts: Brazil nuts, walnuts
In this picture I have summarized the above list for you. Save it on your phone and use it as a reminder!
Eating a sufficient of fat
Eating too little fat causes hard stools and obstipation as a result. Do you suffer from obstipation, then add one tablespoon of the following fats to your dishes:
Incorporate a sufficient amount of fluids
Drink at least a half liter of fluid per day. Furthermore, you can choose foods with a high fluid content, such as cucumber and lettuce.
Do you still suffer from obstipation, than drink a half to 1 liter extra. Sporty girls should drink more than 1.5 liters of fluid per day.
Have adequate exercise
Physical activity has a positive effect on your bowel movements. Go for a walk around the block half an hour after dinner!
Stress reduces your bowel movement. Do you suffer from stress, try to find ways to lower it. Cancelling appointments?
Now you know exactly how to solve obstipation, or at least how to reduce obstipation in a sensible, efficient and sustainable manner. Isn’t that great?! You can start immediately with the foods that I opted above.
Save the image above on your phone and look at it every day. Eat at least two products from the list every day and your obstipation will probably decrease. Good luck with that!
And … will you let me know if I have come to help with this article? I would really appreciate it!
Well than: an anecdote + question
In the past I have used laxatives to solve obstipation. I found it didn’t not work very well, but I did have problems with my stomach which included pain and bloating in the intestines area. Like a pregnant elephant. In retrospect, I think it’s stupid of myself that I have seized on them, but luckily I now know more about the effects of these pills and that there are many sensible ways to solve obstipation.
Have you ever used laxatives yourself? What is your experience with them?Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. If the bowel movements stay out, contact your doctor.
Copyright images: Daniela Vladimirova/Flickr