Constipation is diagnosed when bowel movements feel difficult, hard, or painful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Constipation is diagnosed when bowel movements feel difficult, hard, or painful. Contrary to popular belief, frequency of bowel movements is not a criterion for diagnosing constipation because of the wide range of variability among individuals. Most people have at least three bowel movements weekly, but some people have fewer and would not be diagnosed with constipation. Stool should be formed and pliable, as opposed to pebble-like and hard. It is also important to note that dramatic shifts in the frequency or manner of bowel movements (such as frequent diarrhea or the sudden onset of very painful, very difficult-to-pass bowel movements) should prompt an immediate visit to a physician to look for underlying causes.
There are a variety of symptoms, ranging from abdominal pain, rectal discomfort, abdominal fullness and bloating, nausea, and loss of appetite to a general feeling of malaise. These individuals feel as if they never completely evacuate their bowels.
The colon’s primary job is to remove excess liquid from intestinal contents. A large number of beneficial bacteria colonize the colon and help with digestion of any remaining nutrients. Muscular peristaltic waves propel the stool toward the rectum. The stool is aided in its passage through the colon by mucus lubrication.
Lack of exercise. Abdominal and intestinal muscles work together to move the bowels.
Some medications. Codeine especially, can cause constipation, as can some antidepressants, iron, zinc and calcium supplements Other medications that can cause constipation include calcium channel blockers, psychotropic drugs, and anticholinergics. Inadequate thyroid hormone supplementation is also thought to cause constipation.
Certain diseases. Tumors and some diseases may produce a rapid change in bowel movements.
Poor diet. Lacking in fiber and high in processed foods and starch.
Conventional medicine may rely heavily on laxatives to prevent the problem. These may provide temporary relief but not always address the underlying cause.
Complications of constipation include hemorrhoids (which are caused by straining to have a bowel movement) and anal tears. As a result, rectal bleeding can occur. Sometimes straining causes a small amount of intestinal lining to push out from the anal opening. This condition is known as rectal prolapse. Treatment requires pushing the prolapsed portion of the bowel back into the body, which can be performed in a doctor’s office. In some cases, incarcerated rectal prolapse (i.e., the prolapsed portion of the bowel becomes trapped) may occur. This may require surgery.
Constipation can contribute to a loss of bladder control by weakening the pelvic floor muscles as a result of straining. A full bowel pressing on the bladder, causing it to empty prematurely or block the outflow of urine, is not uncommon. People who have bladder control problems often do not drink enough fluids for fear of incontinence, which can also worsen constipation.
- Chitosan: 600 – 2400 mg daily
- Soluble fiber: 5 – 15 g daily
- Probiotics: Per label instructions
- Magnesium (as magnesium citrate): 160 – 320 mg daily
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): 1000 – 4000 mg daily
- Aloe vera Extract: 0.1mg daily
- Peppermint, with its active ingredient menthol, is a natural antispasmodic that relaxes smooth muscle, the same type of muscle that lines the walls of the intestines. Among patients with constipation secondary to irritable bowel syndrome, peppermint oil helps to relieve symptoms. The colon contains beneficial bacteria that help digest any remaining nutrients. Beneficial bacteria include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum. A healthy population of beneficial bacteria is essential for proper digestion.
People with irritable bowel syndrome suffer from alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation, often suffering painful abdominal bloating and gas production. Bifidobacteria supplementation produced a significant reduction in abdominal distension and improved symptom scores along with faster bowel transit times (which reduces cancer risk). Several recent studies demonstrate significant improvements in measures of gastrointestinal well-being, decreases in digestive symptom scores and bloating, and increases in health related quality of life during bifidobacteria supplementation.
On an empty stomach, certain nutrients have been shown to induce healthy colon peristalsis. One combination is 4 to 8 grams of vitamin C powder and 1,500 mg of magnesium oxide powder taken with the juice of a freshly squeezed grapefruit.
Also on an empty stomach, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) in a dose of 3000 mg will produce a rapid evacuation of the contents of the bowels. Nutritional laxatives such as magnesium, ascorbic acid, and pantothenic acid are becoming more popular with people who have constipation that is resistant to fiber therapies.
For all health conditions, the nutraceuticals are individually tailored by the Health Renewal Doctor. The doctor will decide- based on your history, physical examination and blood tests what would be the best for you and your specific needs and/or deficiencies. It cannot be overemphasized that one must not self-medicate. Self-Medicating is done when a person takes prescription medication or nutraceuticals on their own without a doctor's supervision and/or consent. By not having a physical examination and blood testing done by a qualified and practising integrative medical practitioner, you could be not treating vital deficiencies or conditions such as elevated blood pressure, high sugar level, high stress levels (that can lead to adrenal burnout ) and high blood clotting factors that could lead to heart attacks and stroke. In addition, aggressive program of dietary supplementation should not be launched without the supervision of a qualified physician. Several of the nutrients suggested in this protocol may have adverse effects. There is no single supplement prescribed to clients as there is no magic bullet that can support all the essential nutrients that one's body needs. Today's food is not functional and we need to supplement in order to maintain optimal bodily functions and nutrition.
Make an appointment to consult with your Health Renewal Doctor who is an integrative doctor and he / she will assist you in determining your risk factors and how best to prevent any problems or conditions that you may be susceptible to. The importance of early management of any condition cannot be overstated. Once certain conditions set in and damage to organs occurs, complete recovery may be difficult to attain. Best results for prevention and longevity is early detection of a possible problem combined with conventional treatments , nutritional supplements and a healthy diet and lifestyle.
The initial medical consultation at Health Renewal will be approximately 45 minutes. As this is a prolonged medical consultation, the initial consultation fee will be R 975 on arrival (for non loyalty programme members) you will have to complete an in depth questionnaire before the consultation so please arrive 20 minutes before the time. During the 45 minute consultation your Health Renewal doctor will obtain a FULL medical history from you to determine your personal risk. A physical examination will be done after which the Doctor will decide which blood tests need to be requested from your local pathology laboratory. If you have a medical aid, these should be able to be claimed as well.
Once your blood results are received, they will then be analyzed by your Health Renewal doctor who will begin working on a unique prescription plan for you with the compounding pharmacy. At your pre-scheduled second appointment 2 weeks later, the results and examination findings will be discussed with you. This will determine what abnormalities or deficiencies exist and you will be advised on your treatment options. These options may range from prescription medications, nutraceuticals, bio-identical hormonal creams / tablets or alternatively to having bio-identical implants / pellets inserted.
In office treatments such as carboxytherapy may also be recommended for certain conditions such as hair loss, erectile dysfunction ED, menopause or PMS. If you need to lose weight our Renewal Institute Diet may be recommended. All these recommendations will be summarized on a sheet / print out which you can take home with you. The nutraceuticals offered at Health Renewal are of superior quality (Solgar) and are not rancid nor contain Hg (mercury ) or PCB'S (which is very important for Omega 3 Essential fatty acids EFA's). They are also free of gluten, preservatives, wheat, dairy, soy, yeast, sugar, artificial flavor, sweetener and colour. We have a great professional team made up of doctors, trained and registered nurses and therapists to support you at any time.
1. You are kindly requested to bring any supplements that you are currently taking, along to your consultation. The doctor can check the ingredients in take this into account when prescribing a treatment plan for you.
2. Also, if you have had any blood work done in the past 6 months, please bring the results along to the consultation. Should you not be in possession of the hard copies, please request these results from the lab you visited. Usually your ID number is sufficient.
Depending on the exact prescription given, you may be required to return to the doctor within 1-4 months’ time, in order to ensure optimum hormone levels are achieved. This will be determined by a repeat blood test and may be requested by your Health Renewal doctor.
You should ensure that you are current with your gynaecological visits/breast exams/mammograms (for female patients) and prostate exams (for male patients) as recommended by your GP/gynaecologist.
Depending on which form of supplementation you and your Health Renewal Doctor have decided on, one could expect to follow up with your physician from anything between every 3 months to once every 6 months.
- Increase your fiber intake. Add more fruits and vegetables, in addition to whole grains and bran, to your diet.
- Add legumes to daily meals. They are among the foods that offer the most fiber per serving and they encourage the growth of bacteria in the colon, adding to stool bulk.
- Cut back on low-fiber foods such as meats, cheeses, and processed foods.
- Drink plenty of water (about eight full glasses a day). As you increase your intake of fiber, you may also need to step up your fluid intake. Caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee, tea, and colas have a mildly dehydrating effect on the body, but they do promote contractions in the bowel and can sometimes facilitate bowel movements.
- Eat on a regular schedule to give your body a chance to regulate elimination.
- Respond to your body’s signals to pass stool. This will keep your bowel movements regular. Resisting the urge to move your bowels for too long can result in impaction and overflow incontinence, in which liquid stool bypasses the impacted stool and leaks out.
- Exercise (especially abdominal muscle exercises) and brisk walking are recommended according to the age and physical condition of the individual.
Here are ten quotes from great thinkers to challenge, motivate and inspire us to exercise, eat right and live healthier lives: Health and intellect are the two blessings of life:
- “Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, move harmoniously.” ― Jean-Pierre Barral
- “Respect your body. Eat well. Dance forever.” ― Eliza Gaynor Minden
- “...compulsive eating is basically a refusal to be fully alive. No matter what we weigh, those of us who are compulsive eaters have anorexia of the soul. We refuse to take in what sustains us. We live lives of deprivation. And when we can't stand it any longer, we binge. The way we are able to accomplish all of this is by the simple act of bolting -- of leaving ourselves -- hundreds of times a day.” ― Geneen Roth, Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
- “The best six doctors anywhere And no one can deny it Are sunshine, water, rest, and air Exercise and diet. These six will gladly you attend If only you are willing Your mind they'll ease Your will they'll mend And charge you not a shilling.”
- “It's never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale. We are unrepeatable beings of light and space and water who need these physical vehicles to get around. When we start defining ourselves by that which can be measured or weighed, something deep within us rebels. Author unknown
- "We don't want to EAT hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to BE hot fudge sundaes. We want to come home to ourselves. (p. 174-5)” ― Geneen Roth, Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
- “1 billion people in the world are chronically hungry. 1 billion people are overweight.” ― Mark Bittman, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75
- “We should resolve now that the health of this nation is a national concern; that financial barriers in the way of attaining health shall be removed; that the health of all it's citizens deserves the help of all the nation.” ― Harry S. Truman
- “It's a pretty amazing to wake up every morning, knowing that every decision I make is to cause as little harm as possible. It's a pretty fantastic way to live.” ― Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
- “No one wakes up in the morning and says, 'I want to gain 150 pounds and I will start right now!” ― Tricia Cunningham, The Reverse Diet: Lose 20, 50, 100 Pounds or More by Eating Dinner for Breakfast, and Breakfast for Dinner