MoonDragon's Womens Health Information
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Description Frequent Signs & Symptoms Causes Risk Factors Preventive Measures Prognosis - Expected Outcome Potential Complications Medical Diagnosis Conventional Medical Treatment Medication Activity Recommendations & Restrictions Diet & Nutrition Notify Your Health Care Provider Constipation Supplement Products
NORMAL STOOL MOVEMENT
Your digestive system is remarkably efficient: In the space of a few hours it extracts nutrients from the foods you eat and drink, processes them into the bloodstream, and prepares leftover material for disposal. That material passes through 20 or more feet of intestine before being stored temporarily in the colon, where water is removed. The residue is excreted through the bowels, normally within a day or two.
Many alternative therapists say we should move our bowels one to three times a day to remain healthy. Depending on your diet, your age, and your daily activity, regularity can mean anything from three bowel movements a day to one every three days. The longer fecal material sits in the colon, the harder the stool becomes and the more difficult it is to pass. A normal stool should not be either unusually hard or soft, and you should not have to strain unreasonably to pass it.
Constipation is difficulty in passing stools or the infrequent passage of hard, dry stools as a result of food moving slowly through the large intestine. Most people experience constipation from time to time, but usually lifestyle changes and better eating habits help relieve the symptoms and prevent recurrences. Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. Chronic constipation is infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer. Although occasional constipation is very common, some people experience chronic constipation that can interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks and cause excessive straining to have a bowel movement along with other signs and symptoms. Treatment for chronic constipation depends on the underlying cause. Though, in some cases, a cause for chronic constipation is never found.
HOW THE COLON WORKS
To understand constipation, you have to understand how the large intestine creates feces (stool). Food flows through the small intestine as a liquid mixture of digestive juices and the food you eat. By the time it reaches the large intestine, all the nutrients have been absorbed. The large intestine has one main function: to absorb water from the waste liquid, and turn it into a waste solid (stool).
Regular bowel movements are an important mechanism for removing toxins from the body. The colon serves as a holding tank for waste matter. Antigens and toxins from bowel bacteria and undigested food particles may play a role in the development of diabetes mellitus, meningitis, myasthenia gravis, thyroid disease, candidiasis, chronic gas and bloating, migraines, fatigue, and ulcerative colitis.
People can have bowel movements as infrequently as 3 times per week and still not be constipated, although there are some health practitioners who maintain that it is important to have a bowel movement every day.
Constipation results when waste material moves too slowly through the large bowel, resulting in infrequent and/or painful elimination. Bowel movements are difficult, uncomfortable with hard and dry stools.
Keep one thing in mind: Do not become obsessed with how often you have a bowel movement. Normal varies from 2 to 3 times daily to twice weekly. Constipation is defined by the difficulty of getting stools out, not by frequency of your bowel movements. Every person's normal is different. Do not worry about it unless your body strays from your particular normal and you begin to have difficulties with bowel movements.
- In most people, constipation is harmless, but can indicate an underlying disorder. Constipation can give rise to many different ailments, including appendicitis, bad breath, body odor, coated tongue, depression, diverticulitis, fatigue, gas, headaches, hemorrhoids (piles), hernia, indigestion, insomnia, malabsorption syndrome, obesity, and varicose veins. It may even be involved in the development of serious diseases such as bowel cancer.
- It is important that the bowels move on a daily basis. The colon is a holding tank for waste matter that should be removed within 18 to 24 hours. Harmful toxins can form after this period. Antigen and toxins from bowel bacteria and undigested food particles may play a role in the development of diabetes mellitus, meningitis, myasthenia gravis, thyroid disease, candidiasis, chronic gas and bloating, migraines, fatigue and ulcerative colitis.
- In most cases, constipation arises from insufficient amounts of fiber and fluids in the diet. Fiber is found in plant foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber that is soluble in water takes on a soft texture and helps soften the stools. Insoluble fiber passes through the intestine largely unchanged and adds bulk to stools, which in turn helps to stimulate bowel contractions.
- Other causative factors include inadequate exercise, advanced age, muscle disorders, structural abnormalities, bowel diseases, neurogenic disorders, and a poor diet, especially heavy consumption of junk food. Constipation may be a side effect of iron supplements and some drugs, such as painkillers and antidepressants. It is also common during pregnancy.
- High levels of calcium and low levels of thyroid hormone are two metabolic disturbances that can lead to constipation. People with kidney failure or diabetes also tend to have problems with constipation. In older individuals, constipation is often caused by dehydration; in people of any age, depression can be a factor.
- Some medications can cause constipation, including cough syrups, pain medications that contain codeine, some antidepressants, iron supplements, blood pressure and heart medications, calcium supplements, and some antihistimines.
- A small percentage of people, such as persons with spinal injuries, have problems with constipation because the nerves that usually regulate bowel movement have been damaged or destroyed. In a condition called Hirschsprung's disease, normal excretion of feces is impossible because the nerves inside the bowel are missing. The nerve cells in the wall of the colon can also be damaged by long-term, habitual use of laxatives. When this happens, constipation is inevitable. A thrombosed hemorrhoid, anal fissure, or a pocket of infection at the anus can create a spasm of pain strong enough to contract the muscles and hinder the evacuation of stools.
FREQUENT SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
People vary widely in bowel activity. Any of the following may be a sign of constipation:
- Infrequent bowel movements, sometimes accompanied by abdominal swelling and lower back pain or pressure.
- No bowel movements in 3 days for adults, 4 days for children.
- Hard, lumpy feces. Compacted stools that are difficult or painful to pass.
- Straining during bowel movements.
- Sensation of continuing fullness after a bowel movement.
- Stomachaches that are relieved by bowel movements.
- Bloody stools.
- Leaks of wet, almost diarrhea-like stool between regular bowel movements.
- Feeling as though there is a blockage in your rectum preventing bowel movements.
- Feeling as though you cannot completely empty stool from your rectum.
- Needing help to empty your rectum, such as using your hands to press on your abdomen and using a finger to remove stool from your rectum.
Constipation may be considered chronic if you have experienced two or more of these symptoms for the last three months. Make an appointment with your health care provider if you experience unexplained and persistent changes in your bowel habits.
Our busy, modern lifestyles may be responsible for most cases of constipation. Not taking enough time out of our busy lifestyles to respond to an unmistakable urge to defecate. Not having a bowel movement when you have the urge keeps the stool in the colon longer, where more water is absorbed and stools get harder.
Inadequate fluid intake. Your colon will absorb more water to prevent dehydration, resulting in dry, hard stools.
Insufficient fiber in the diet. Fiber adds bulk, holds water and creates easily passed, soft feces.
Not eating regularly enough to stimulate the intestines to move food through the colon. Certain high-protein foods may cause constipation.
Inactivity, lack of exercise. Older people, especially those who are more sedentary, tend to develop constipation more often.
Constipation in pregnancy is thought to be due to hormones that relax the intestinal muscles and to the pressure caused by the expanding uterus on the intestines. It can occur anytime, but is most common late in pregnancy.
Emotional and psychological problems (worry, anxiety) can contribute to the problem.
Underactive thyriod (hypothyroidism); hypercalcemia; diabetes.
Overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism).
People (children especially) who are more sensitive to pain, may avoid the toilet if they have minor splits or tears (anal fissure) in the anus from straining or other irritations.
Chronic kidney failure.
Persistent, chronic constipation may also be a symptom of more serious conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, colon or rectal cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis.
Bottle-fed babies tend to have firmer stools and more bouts of constipation than breast-fed babies.
Some children become constipated when they start school or other activities because they are embarrassed to ask permission to use the toilet.
Blockages in the colon or rectum may slow or stop stool movement. Causes may include anal fissure, bowel obstruction. colon cancer, narrowing of the coloon (bowel stricture), other abdominal cancer that presses on the colon, rectal cancer, rectocele.
Neurological problems can affect the nerves that cause muscles in the colon and rectum to contract and move stool through the intestines. Causes include autonomic neuropathy, multiple scelerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, stroke.
Problems with the pelvic muscles involved in having a bowel movement may cause chronic constipation. These problems may include inability to relax the pelvic muscles to allow for a bowel movement (anismus), pelvic muscles do not coordinate relaxation and contraction correctly (dyssynergia), weakened pelvic muscles.
Factors that may increase your risk of chronic constipation include:
Being an older adult. Being a woman. Being dehydrated. Eating a diet that is low in fiber. Stress. Sedentary life style with little or no physical activity. Illness requiring complete bedrest. Use of certain drugs, including sedatives, blood pressure medications, belladonna, calcium-channel blockers, beta-adrenergic blockers, tricycle antidepressants, narcotics, atropine, iron, antacids.
Eat a well-balanced, high-fiber diet. Get sufficient fiber by eating fruits, vegetables, and grains. Fiber is critical because most of our stool is actually made up of bacteria, and fiber gives bacteria a good foundation to grow on. Ample bacterial action results in a larger volume of stool and better bowel function. 25 to 30 grams per day of dietary fiber can help prevent and relieve constipation. Check out the fiber value of foods rather than make assumptions about which ones are high in fiber. Not all foods thought of as being high in fiber actually are. Read labels.
Eat at least three meals per day no more than 4 hours apart. If you eat smaller, more frequent meals, reduce the time between your meals. Frequent feeding keeps your intestines contracting and moving along.
Exercise regularly. Walking, swimming, or other moderate exercise helps mobilize the intestines.
Because greater consumption of fiber increases your requirement for water, you will need to drink more fluids. Drink at least 8 cups of water a day. If you are pregnant, or if you sweat a lot, or are exposed to hot, humid climates, you may need more than 10 to 12 cups of water or fluid each day.
If you are taking iron supplements, cut back on them. Try dietary iron from food sources and herbs such as Yellow Dock, Nettles, Alfalfa, Blackstrap Molasses, Raisins and so forth. Iron supplements cause constipation, especially if the dose is high (over 30 mg per day). Constipation will often improve if the amount of supplemental iron taken is reduced or if smaller doses of iron are taken at one time. Women (pregnant or non-pregnant) with good iron levels and a healthy diet do not need to take iron supplements at all.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which deplete the body water stores. Coffee is a natural diuretic and alcohol dehydrates the body. If you cannot avoid these, then match your caffeinated or alcoholic beverage intake with an equal amount of water.
If your diet is not extremely high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, by all means take a Fiber supplement.
PROGNOSIS - EXPECTED OUTCOME
Usually curable with exercise, dietary changes with added fiber, and adequate fluids.
Hemorrhoids (swollen veins in anus). Torn skin in anus (anal fissure) from large or hard stool. Hernia from excessive straining. Hemorrhoids can also develop from straining and can be quite painful and bleed. Uterine or rectal prolapse. Spastic colitis. Chronic constipation. Impacted colon (fecal impaction), bowel obstruction from stuck fecal matter. Intestine protruding from anus (rectal prolapse). Laxative dependency. Laxative Abuse - Surprisingly, using certain laxatives also causes constipation. With continued use, your body becomes accustomed to the effects of the laxative, and if you stop taking it, the colon slows down and its contractions become very weak. This is called laxative dependency constipation, and it can be severe.
PREPARING FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER VISIT
You will likely first seek medical care for constipation from your family or general practitioner. You may be referred to a specialist in digestive disorders (gastroenterologist) if your health care provider suspects a more advanced case of constipation. Because appointments can be brief, and because there is often a lot of information to cover, it is a good idea to be well prepared. Here are some informational tips to help you get ready, and what to expect from your health care provider.
Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there is anything you need to do in advance, such as restricting your diet or eating certain high-fiber foods to prepare for diagnostic testing.
Write down any symptoms you are experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to constipation.
Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes, such as traveling or becoming pregnant.
Make a list of all medications, vitamins, supplements or herbal medications you are taking.
Take a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
Write down questions to ask your health care provider.
Your time with your health care provider is limited, so preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important, in case time runs out. For constipation, some basic questions to ask your health care provider include:
What is likely causing my symptoms or condition? Are there other possible causes for my symptoms or condition? What kinds of tests do I need? What treatment approach do you recommend? What other treatment options exist? How soon do you expect my symptoms to improve with treatment? I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together? Are there any restrictions that I need to follow? Should I see a gastroenterologist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it? Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you are prescribing? Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you have prepared to ask your health care provider, do not hesitate to ask additional questions as they occur to you during your appointment.
Your health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time to go over additional questions you may have. Your health care provider may ask:
When did you begin experiencing symptoms of constipation? Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional? How severe are your symptoms? What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms? What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms? Do your symptoms include abdominal pain? Do your symptoms include vomiting? Have you recently lost weight without trying? How many meals do you eat per day? How much water and other fluids do you drink per day? Do you see blood with your bowel movements mixed in with the stool, in the toilet water or on the toilet paper? Do you strain with your bowel movements? Do you have any family history of digestive problems or colon cancer? Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions? Have you started any new medications or recently changed the dosage of your current medications?
DIAGNOSTIC TESTS & PROCEDURES
If constipation is more than an occasional problem, the possibility of a cancer or other obstruction in the lower bowel should not be dismissed unless a proctoscopic examination (sigmoidoscope or a colonscope, a flexible tube with a magnifying viewer, which is inserted into the rectum) or a barium enema (which coats the intestinal lining so it can be seen on an X-ray) has shown that there is no blockage. Other symptoms of colon cancer include the presence of blood in the feces; severe cramping; a tender, distended abdomen; and markedly narrowed stools. However, cancer may be present even without these symptoms. Consult your health care provider if you have concerns about your bowel habits or exhibit any symptoms.
Tests and procedures used to diagnose chronic constipation include:
Your health care provider will usually examine your abdomen for any sign of hardened mass and may conduct a rectal exam. Blood samples may be taken.
Examination of the rectum and lower, or sigmoid, colon (sigmoidoscopy). In this procedure, your health care provider inserts a lighted, flexible tube into your anus to examine your rectum and the lower portion of your colon.
Examination of the rectum and entire colon (colonoscopy). This diagnostic procedure allows your health care provider to examine the entire colon with a flexible, camera-equipped tube.
Evaluation of anal sphincter muscle function (anorectal manometry). In this procedure, your health care provider inserts a narrow, flexible tube into your anus and rectum and then inflates a small balloon at the tip of the tube. The device is then pulled back through the sphincter muscle. This procedure allows your health care provider to measure the coordination of the muscles you use to move your bowels.
Evaluation of how well food moves through the colon (colonic transit study). In this procedure, you will swallow a capsule containing markers that show up on X-rays taken over several days. Your health care provider will look for signs of intestinal muscle dysfunction and how well food moves through your colon.
An X-ray of the rectum during defecation (defecography). During this procedure, your health care provider inserts a soft paste made of barium into your rectum. You then pass the barium paste as you would stool. The barium shows up on X-rays and may reveal a prolapse or problems with muscle function and muscle coordination.
CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL TREATMENT
Treatment for chronic constipation usually begins with diet and lifestyle changes meant to increase the speed at which stool moves through your intestines. If those changes do not help, your health care provider may recommend medications or surgery.
Medical treatment will probably start by recommending more fiber or bulk to your diet. Adding fiber and increasing fiber in your diet increases the weight of your stool and speeds its passage through your intestines. Slowly begin to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Choose whole grain breads and cereals (bran works well). Your health care provider may recommend a specific number of grams of fiber to consume each day. In general, aim for 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories in your daily diet. A sudden increase in the amount of fiber you can cause bloating and gas, so start slowly and work your way up to your goal over a few weeks. Except for fiber or bulking agents, over-the-counter laxatives should be avoided.
For occasional constipation, you may use a stool softener laxative, mild non-prescription laxatives or enemas. Do not use laxatives or enemas regularly as this can cause dependency and serious problems, including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, dehydration, and, ultimately damage to the colon. Using laxatives too often also promotes dependence. Lifestyle changes such as getting regular exercise and eating a high-fiber diet are better ways to avoid constipation.
Avoid harsh laxatives and cathartics, such as Epsom salts. The best laxatives are bulk-formers, such as bran, psyllium, polycarbophil and methulcellulose. Laxative pills or castor oil are not recommended for the treatment of constipation during pregnancy because they may stimulate uterine contractions. Mineral oil is not advised, either, because it substantially reduces nutrient absorption.
HOLISTIC HOME RECOMMENDATIONS
Increasing your activity level with moderate exercise is important if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Take adequate time for moving your bowels. Set aside a regular time each day for bowel movements. The best time is often within 1 hour after breakfast. Do not try to hurry. Relax. Sit at least 10 minutes, whether or not a bowel movement occurs. Stress tightens the muscles, and can often cause constipation. Many people find reading helpful as a way to relax. Never repress the urge to defecate.
Keep the bowel clean.
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Colon Cleansing
Drinking hot water, tea, or coffee may help stimulate bowel. For quick relief of constipation, drink a large glass of water every ten minutes for half an hour. This can work wonders to flush out toxins and relieve constipation.
FOR STUBBORN CONSTIPATION
For stubborn constipation in older children and adults, your health care provider may recommend a non-digestible sugar called lactulose or specially formulated electrolyte solutions. The preventative measures can be helpful in mild cases of existing constipation as well as acting as a preventative. If you stimulate the colon enough, contractions will help get the hardened stool out. Try prunes or other fruits, or even caffeine to stimulate contractions, as well as moderate exercise. But do not jog too far away from a bathroom!
Exercise most days of the week. Physical activity increases muscle activity in your intestines. Try to fit in exercise most days of the week.
Do not ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Take your time in the bathroom, allowing yourself enough time to have a bowel movement without distractions and without feeling rushed.
Severe constipation and impaction sometimes occur in kids who hold their bowel movements on purpose. If you suspect this in your child based on frequent constipation or other clues, a medically supervised bowel program is very important. Withholding stool does not just cause bowel problems; nutritional deficiency, growth retardation, and psychological problems are all well-documented in children with this disorder. Do not try to cure this one by yourself.
Sometimes constipation results in stools so hard they will not come out no matter what you try at home. This is called stool impaction. Do not delay any longer. See your health care provider immediately. If an impaction is not removed, it can cause total bowel obstruction and require hospitalization.
Fecal impaction is a more serious form of constipation that sometimes affects the elderly and disabled. To release hardened material in the rectum, you or your health care provider may have to insert a gloved finger into the rectum and manually break up the solidified stool. If constipation persists for 3 or 4 days, use a gentle warm water or mineral oil enema. Non-prescription, disposable enemas may be used for temporary relief. If you prefer not to use a commercial enema preparation, you may give yourself a cleansing enema as follows:
1. Spread a bath mat on the bathroom floor or in the tub.
2. Fill an enema bag with lukewarm water.
3. Hang the enema bag no higher than 30 inches from the floor.
4. Lie on your left side on the mat.
5. Insert the nozzle gently inside the rectum.
6. Let the water flow a little at a time. If it hurts, stop the flow until the pain subsides. Then start the flow again.
7. Use the entire quart of water.
8. Hold the fluid inside until you are uncomfortable. Then sit on the toilet for a bowel movement.
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Enemas
TRAINING YOUR PELVIC MUSCLES
If added natural fiber and herbal laxatives do not improve constipation, you may have a problem with muscle coordination. Normally, the upper muscles in the bowel contract as the lower ones relax. Problems occur if the lower muscle tightens and goes into spasm instead of relaxing.
Biofeedback training involves working with a therapist who uses devices to help you learn to relax and tighten the muscles in your pelvis. Relaxing your pelvic floor muscles at the right time during defecation can help you pass stool more easily. During a biofeedback session, a special tube (catheter) to measure muscle tension is inserted into your rectum. The therapist guides you through exercises to alternately relax and tighten your pelvic muscles. A machine will gauge your muscle tension and use sounds or lights to help you understand when you have relaxed your muscles.
Surgery may be an option if you have tried other treatment and your chronic constipation is caused by rectocele, anal fissure or stricture. For people who have tried other treatments without success and who have abnormally slow movement of stool through the colon, surgical removal of part of the colon may be an option. Surgery to remove the colon is rarely necessary.
OTHER RELATED HEALTH ISSUES
Most cases of constipation respond to conservative treatment, such as dietary and exercise changes or mild laxatives. Severe or chronic cases will prompt your health care provider to test for other diseases. If your constipation continues despite good habits and non-prescription treatment, get professional advice. There may be an underlying condition causing the problem such as thyroid disorders, diabetes, medication side-effects, or irritable bowel syndrome just to name a few. Do not keep suffering. It is best to get it checked out.
Foul-smelling stools and a burning feeling at the anus may be signs of acidosis.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Acidosis
Alternating constipation and diarrhea may be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome. While this disorder is chronic and unpleasant, it is not considered dangerous. Other common symptoms are cramps, gassiness, and variation in the consistency of the stool. The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not known, but many experts believe it is stress-related.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Irritable Bowel Syndrome
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Diverticulitis
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Ulcerative Colitis
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pregnancy Related Problems
LAXATIVES & STOOL SUPPLEMENTS
Several types of laxative products exist. Each works somewhat differently to make it easier to have a bowel movement. A combination of types may need to be used for stubborn constipation cases. If constipation is quite severe, or special circumstances (such as hemorrhoids) make it important to control quickly, then consider these laxative groups:
- Bulk Fiber Laxatives. Different brands have different ingredients, but they all just add bulk to the stool and prevent too much water from being absorbed. They may take awhile to take effect (12 hours to 3 days). Common ingredients include methylcellulose, psyllium, calcium polycarbophil and guar gum. Brand names include FiberCon, Metamucil, Konsyl, and Citrucel.< /li>
- Stool Softeners. These can be effective if your stool is too hard or dry to come out, despite normal bowel contractions. They are mainly preventative, but can work very quickly when combined with a stimulant laxative. Stool softeners moisten the stool by drawing water from the intestines. Examples include Colace and Surfak.
- Stimulant Laxatives. These stimulate bowel contractions quickly, but do not soften the stools at all. They are often combined with stool softeners.
- Glycerin Suppositories. Promptly effective, usually within 1/2 hour. They both soften the stool and stimulate contractions. They only work on the stool that is in the rectum and lower colon.
- Lubricants. Lubricants enable stool to move through the colon more easily. One example of a lubricant is mineral oil.
- Osmotics, Enemas & Oral Magnesium Solutions. Osmotic laxatives help fluids move through the colon. Examples include milk of magnesia, magnesium citrate, lactulose, polyethylene glycol (MiraLax), and sodium phosphate enema (Fleet enema). Avoid these unless directed by your health care provider.
TYPES OF LAXATIVES
Laxatives are substances that are used to promote bowel movement. There are four basic types of laxatives:
The following are basic descriptions of the way the different laxatives work to achieve their effects:
- Bulk-forming agents.
- Stool softeners.
- Osmotic agents.
Bulk-Forming Agents increase the bulk and water content of the stools. They are the only type of laxatives that can be safe to take on a daily basis. Examples include bran (both in foods and in supplement form), psyllium, and methylcellulose.
Stool Softeners, such as mineral oil and docusate sodium, soften fecal matter so that it passes through the intestines more easily. They should not be used on a regular basis, because they can have other effects on the body. Mineral oil can damage the lungs if inhaled, and it reduces the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Docusate sodium (found in Colace and Dialose) may increase the toxicity of other drugs taken at the same time, and may cause liver damage to occur.
Osmotic Agents contain salts or carbohydrates that promote secretion of water into the colon, initiating bowel movement. They are among the safest laxatives for occasional use, but if they are used more than occasionally, dependency can result. Examples include lactulose (a prescription medication sold under the brand names Cephulac and Chronulac), sorbitol (which is cheaper than lactulose but just as effective), milk of magnesia, citrate of magnesia, and Epsom salts.
Stimulant Laxatives irritate the intestinal wall, stimulating peristalsis. They can damage the bowels with habitual use, and can lead to dependency. Examples include bisacodyl (found in Dulcolax), casanthranol (Peri-Colace), cascara sagrada, castor oil, phenolphthalein (Dialose Plus), and senna (Perdiem, Senokot).
Prescription medications used to treat chronic constipatioon include:
CHILDREN & LAXATIVES
- Medications that draw water into your intestines. The prescription medications lubiprostone (Amitiza) and linaclotide (Linzess) work in different ways to draw water into your intestines and speed up the movement of stool. Your health care provider may recommend these medications if over-the-counter laxatives haven't helped you.
- Medications in clinical trials. Several new medications for treating chronic constipation are being studied in clinical trials. Talk with your health care provider about whether any of these drugs may benefit you.
If your child is having obviously hard, painful stools, laxatives can relieve the problem right away. But too often, laxatives are given to kids who feel fine just because they are parents think they are not having bowel movements often enough. Always base kid's treatment on how they are feeling with bowel movements - ask them:
INFANTS & LAXATIVES
- Does it hurt when you poop?
- Does it take a long time to get it out?
- Do you have to push hard?
Since infants cannot tell you anything, you will usually have to guess about their constipation. Crying and apparent straining with bowel movements, and of course hard stools, are good clues. Fortunately, there are some very safe products available for infants, so if you are wrong and constipation is not the problem, no harm will come to your baby because of the laxative. If problems persist more than 24 hours, contact your health care provider.
If treatment is necessary, always use laxatives designed for children. My mother and I both used the herbal-based liquid laxative called Fletcher's Castoria for our children and for ourselves as well and is my personal favorite children's laxative. Castoria is composed of senna, sodium bicarbonate, essence of wintergreen, taraxicum, sugar and water according to it's initial patent. The active ingredient in Castoria is the herb Senna (33.3 mg Senna/ml). It has a nice flavor (tastes like Root Beer) that kids will swallow. It works in babies as well as adults and is available in most drug stores and pharmacies for over-the-counter or online purchase.
CASTORIA CHILDREN'S LAXATIVE PRODUCTS
Amazon: Castoria Children's Laxative Products
Citrucel (methylcellulose 2 grams/tablespoon). Many find this brand of bulk fiber laxative to be less gritty than others, and it comes in both sugared and sugar-free versions.
FiberCon (calcium polycarbophil 625 mg/tablet). If you cannot stand drinking a bulk fiber laxative, these tablets are an excellent alternative. Just make sure you take them with a full 8 to 12 ounces of water or other liquid.
FIBER-CON LAXATIVE PRODUCTS
Amazon: FiberCon Laxative Products
Senokot, Senokot S, and Senokot Children's (senna concentrate, various concentrations; docusate sodium 50 mg per tablet is the softener in Senokot S). The active ingredient Senna is a bowel contraction stimulant. It is considered safe in children as young as one year. If you need stool softening or lubrication along with the stimulant effect, Senakot S is the recommended combination.
Fleet Glycerin Suppositories and Fleet Pedia-Lax (glycerin). These are especially useful if you desire very quick results without swallowing a lot of fiber or a drug that may have other side effects. Glycerin works only in the rectum and lower colon, and is one of the few laxative forms that is safe and effective in infants under one year old.
FLEET GLYCERIN SUPPOSITORY PRODUCTS
Amazon: Fleet Glycerin Suppositories Products
Amazon: Fleet Pedia Lax Products
Drugs.com: Oral Laxatives Drug Information
Drugs.com: Rectal Laxatives Drug Information
ACTIVITY RECOMMENDATIONS & RESTRICTIONS
Exercise and good physical fitness helps maintain healthy bowel patterns. Get some exercise. Physical activity speeds the movement of waste through the intestines. A 20 minute walk can often relieve constipation. Regular exercise is also important for preventing constipation in the first place.
Alternating constipation and diarrhea may be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome. While this disorder is chronic and unpleasant, it is not dangerous. Other common symptoms are cramp pains, gassiness, and variation in the consistency of the stool. The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not known, but many experts believe it is stress related. It you have this problem, reduce excess stress as much as possible. Use relaxation and meditation methods to lower anxiety levels.
POSTPARTUM BOWEL MOVEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
It may take several days before the first bowel movement occurs after giving birth. Abdominal muscles were stretched during delivery and the bowel may have been traumatized and it will take some time to get back to normal. If you had an enema, a long labor without food, or a bowel movement during labor, you may go a day or two without defecating because there simply is not anything in your intestines. If you have had a hospital delivery with pain medication or a c-section, it can take three or four days for your bowels to start functioning normally again. Systemic narcotics that are given to ease labor discomfort in a hospital birth, or those you may be taking for postpartum pain, may be slowing down your digestive system.
In many women, there is a psychological fear that the bowel movement will be painful and tear stitches (my mother equated the first bowel movement with passing a roll of barbed wire).
Speaking from personal experience, this was my most feared part of my labors and recoveries, especially if I had an episiotomy (usually done in a hospital birth setting) and/or stitches to worry about. In my hospital births, where I had huge episiotomies and many stitches with no control over fluids and elimination choices (I had to go before they would discharge me), I had many more problems with this. However, with my two homebirths, I had very little if any problem with painful first bowel movements. I had more control over my body and nutrition. It was much easier to work through and less fearsome.
Try not to worry about your first bowel movement and if you had stitches, do not be worried about splitting your sutures. Worrying about it will not help your situation and may make things worse. You may have concerns about hemorrhoids and aggravating them, experiencing a great deal of pain or being embarrassed (especially if you delivered in a hospital setting and you are sharing a room).
If you stay calm and focus on your baby instead of your bottom, you will be ahead of the game. As the saying goes - "Poop Happens" - and it is more likely to happen when you are not obsessing about it. If you feel an urge to go, do not hold back and delay it. The longer the feces stay in the bowel, the more likely you will develop constipation problems since the stool will harden and become more compact in the bowel as time passes. While the first few bowel movements may be uncomfortable, you will do better each time. There are several strategies you can use to minimize this monumental movement:
- Remember that Fiber is your friend and whether you are at home or in a hospital, try to eat a high fiber diet consisting of as many whole grains, bran, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables as possible. Dried fruits (stewed or dried prunes work great!) and nuts can rough things up for you. Avoid eating certain food items such as that box of chocolates that you may have received from your partner after the birth of your baby since chocolate can be constipating. Avoid processed foods. Instead, eat a salad with lots of raw greens and other healthy veggies. If you have problems with cheese making you constipated, avoid it.
- Drink plenty of fluids Prune juice, apricot nectar and other "bulky-fiber-pulpy" type of fruit juices are excellent for assisting with this first time movement. You not only need to replace the fluids you lost during delivery, but staying hydrated will also soften your stool and get things moving inside. Drink plenty of water, at least 6 to 8 glasses a day, more if you are breastfeeding. Some women find drinking any warm liquid first thing in the morning helps to get things moving. Herbal teas are a great way of getting warm water into your body.
- During labor it is important to keep well hydrated with fluids and well nourished. Choose liquids and foods that may assist you with your postpartum recovery as well as keeping your strength up during labor. It is also natural for laboring mothers to experience a softening of fecal waste as this is nature's way of cleaning out the colon to make room for the baby to be born. As soon as the baby is born, begin downing these types of fruit juices and other fiber liquids and foods. Not only are they nutritious and help with restoring energy reserves, but they are excellent for softening fecal matter up and keeping it soft for easy elimination.
- Start a mild exercise routine. Take a stroll. The more you move, the more likely you are to move your bowels. A leisurely walk (do not over do it) can work wonders, as can practicing your Kegels (keep in mind you may not be able to feel yourself doing the Kegels at first if you delivered vaginally since this area may feel numb, but do them anyway.
- Try to relax when nature calls. Avoid straining during elimination. Not only will relaxing promote results, but straining leads to or aggravates hemorrhoids, plus it can be painful. You may want to try putting your feet on a short stool while sitting on the toilet during your bowel movement (similar to the squatting position) to help lessen any straining. Hemorrhoids will usually shrink on their own, although they may not go away completely. A Witch Hazel compress or a commercial compress (Tucks Pads) can offer hemorrhoid relief. Over-the-counter Hemorroid Creams and Ointments, such as Preparation H may help with hemorrhoids problems. Ice packs may help. More serious measures are usually unnecessary.
- Try to "breathe" the stool out, very much like you did the baby during "pushing phase" in labor, allowing it to move slowly and stretch tissue gently as it passes through the rectum and anal opening. Try to let your bowel do the pushing and only push when you absolutely have to do it, but gently. Again, do not strain.
Try to avoid laxatives and stool softeners if possible, using these only as a last resort. If you must use something, try using glycerin suppositories or a very mild natural laxative. A mild laxative or stool softener may be taken right away if you have had any tear that extends into or through your anal sphincter or if you are suffering from hemorrhoids or have taken a high dose iron supplement for anemia or narcotics for pain relief, because constipation can be a side effect of these medications.
A sitz bath may be recommended after every bowel movement. This involves sitting in shallow water, only a deep enough to cover the hips and buttocks. Cold sitz baths help reduce swelling and discomfort after delivery. Sit in a lukewarm or room temperature bath, and then gradually add ice cubes to the water. This prevents the uncomfortable, sudden sensation of ice water on the skin. Soak for 20 minutes at a time, up to 3 or 4 times a day. After the first two or three days, warm sitz baths will improve blood flow to the perineum. Check with your midwife or health care provider before adding medications such as Epsom salts to the bath.
Be sure to check with your midwife or health care provider before using any medications. This is important if you are breastfeeding your baby. Most stool softeners and mild laxatives are relatively safe, but you need to make sure the one you are planning to use is safe for breastfeeding. Many health care providers recommend these medications for constipation issues:
DO NOT use an enema without first consulting your midwife or health care provider. Additionally, you should consult your health care provider before using any stool softener or laxative not listed above. If you do not have a bowel movement within a week or if you become uncomfortable, contact your midwife or health care provider.
- Use a stool softener such as Colace, Surfak, Dialose or Modance for 2 to 3 weeks, or until the tenderness in the episiotomy and hemorrhoids has resolved and your bowel movements are normal. If you go 2 days without a bowel movement, use a stool softener-laxative combination such as: Dialose Plus, Senekot, Doxidan, Modane Plus, Pericolace, or use Milk of Magnesia. The drugs listed above are available without a prescription.
Fiber Supplement Products Hemorrhoid Products Witch Hazel Herbal Products
MoonDragon's Womens Health Disorders: Constipation
MoonDragon's Womens Health Disorders: Hemorrhoids
MoonDragon's Womens Health Pregnancy Information: Bowel Tips
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Fiber Enhanced Diet
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Pregnancy Diet
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Therapy: Sitz Baths
MoonDragon's Womens Health Procedures: Kegel Exercises
DIET & NUTRITION
CONSTIPATION PREVENTION & RELIEF DIET RECOMMENDATIONS
Eat high fiber foods such as fresh fruits, raw green leafy vegetables, and brown rice daily. Also eat asparagus, beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, garlic, kale, okra, peas, sweet potatoes, and whole grains. Foods that contain high levels of soluble fiber are adzuki beans, barley, dried beans, oats, and some fruits, especially apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, figs, grapes, peaches, and prunes. Foods high in insoluble fiber are cereals, seeds, wheat bran, whole grains, and the skins of many fruits and vegetables.
Drink more water. Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. This is important when adding fiber to the diet. Drink water whether you are thirsty or not. For a quick relief of constipation, drink a large glass of water every 10 minutes for half an hour. This works wonders to flush out toxins and relieve constipation.
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Fiber-Enhanced Diet
Consume plenty of foods that are high in pectin, such as apples, carrots, beets, bananas, cabbage, citrus fruits, dried peas, and okra. Apple Pectin and Citrus Pectin is also available in supplement form.
Follow a low-fat diet. Eat no fried foods.
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Fat & Cholesterol Restricted Diet
Avoid foods that stimulate secretions by the mucous membranes, such as dairy products, fats, and spicy foods.
Do not consume dairy products, soft drinks, meat, white flour, highly processed foods, salt, coffee, alcohol, or sugar. These foods are difficult to digest and have little or no fiber.
Eat prunes or figs. These are the best natural laxatives.
Eat smaller portions - no large, heavy meals or high-fat foods.
Do not consume products containing mineral oil, which can interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Also avoid taking Epsom salts, milk of magnesia, and citrate of magnesia, Which draw volumes of fluid into the intestines and wash out minerals from the body.
If you use laxatives, especially if you are a heavy laxative user, you should take Acidophilus to replace the "friendly" bacteria. The continued use of laxatives cleans out the intestinal bacteria and leads to chronic constipation.
Consume Barley Grass juice, Green Foods, Kyo-Green, or Wheatgrass for Chlorophyll.
Chlorella is a green single-celled microalgae that contains the highest concentrations of chlorophyll known. Chlorella also supplies high levels of Beta-Carotene, Mixed Carotenoids, Vitamin C, Iron and Protein. Green Algae Chlorella is helpful as a support for long-term debilitating systemic conditions which lower energy and resistance; such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, allergies, and infections.
Psyllium seed is helpful for constipation. If you take psyllium seed, be sure to take it with a full glass of water.
Psyllium husk, when immersed in the intestines, increases in volume and swells the amount of intestinal matter. This stimulates and lubricates the bowels and helps move waste through the colon. Psyllium Husk Powder can be a convenient way to increase the intake of dietary fiber. Psyllium seed is useful in support of constipation or irregularity. It generally produces bowel movements in 12 to 72 hours. It is an all natural laxative.
Flaxseed Oil or freshly ground Flaxseeds help to soften stools. Freshly ground flaxseeds have a pleasant, nutty taste and can be sprinkled over cereals, salads, and other foods.
It can help to do a dietary fast periodically.
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Fasting
Kombucha tea which has detoxifying and immune-boosting properties, may be beneficial for relieving constipation and other digestive disorders.Kombucha is a medicinal mushroom that may be beneficial for cancer, allergies, arthritis, intestinal disorders, circulation related problems, energy levels, HIV, AIDS, and overall health and vitality. It may also benefit abdominal pain, asthma, blood pressure, candida (yeast overgrowth), cholesterol levels, chronic fatigue syndrome, colds, diabetes, skin disorders, emphysema, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, gout, changing hair color, heart trouble, hemorrhoids, hepatitis-C, hernia, liver disorders, menstrual imbalances, migraine headaches, nervous system, poison ivy, prostate problems, eye disorders, and varicose veins.
MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Kombucha Tea
KOMBUCHA GENERAL INFORMATION
Although commonly called the Kombucha Mushroom, Kombucha is not a mushroom. Kombucha is the cultured growth of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that form a mushroom shaped colony bound in cellulose matrix. Kombucha propagates or recreates another "culture" similar to itself during the fermentation process. When it ferments it produces alcohol, which is then converted into acetic acid (ie. vinegar).Vinegar has been used by humans for thousands of years. The Assyrians, Greeks and Romans thought it an important medicine in its own right.
Kombucha is used to support the healing of a wide variety of diseases and is used in many countries throughout the world. It is said that in Manchuria, the home of Kombucha, not one case of cancer has been detected where the people religiously drink the Kombucha tea. Kombucha contains Vitamins B and C as well as concentrated amounts of protein that is available for immediate use by the body. The naturally formed acid content of Kombucha helps to counter difficulties associated with aging and is thus used as a longevity elixir. Kombucha delivers positive influence on the entire body, rather than targeting specific body organs. It has strong antibiotic, antiseptic and detoxifying properties. It is a blood pH normalizer and assists the body in stabilizing metabolic processes.
KOMBUCHA USES & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
Kombucha Tea has been reported to benefit the following conditions such as arteriosclerosis, cholesterol, high blood pressure, stomach and intestinal problems, constipation, dysentery, all digestive disorders, gallbladder difficulties and gallstones, hemorrhoids, cavities (prevention), skin rashes, boils, hair loss, cancer, AIDS (helps to strengthen the immune system), allergies, tonsillitis, gout, rheumatism, respiratory problems, asthma, bronchitis, kidney and urinary stones, headaches, nervousness, insomnia, stress, low energy and fatigue, diabetes, glandular imbalances, weak eyes, and impotence.
KOMBUCHA DOSAGE INFORMATION
Kombucha comes in various forms. For best results, read and follow product label directions.
KOMBUCHA SAFETY & INTERACTION INFORMATION
There are no known safety issues or interactions associated with Kombucha when used as recommended.
Alfalfa extract contains chlorophyll, which aids in detoxifying the body and cleansing the breath. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) has a deep root system that pulls valuable minerals from the soil. With the aid of sunlight, nutrients including beta carotene and chlorophyll are made available to the body in a usable form. Alfalfa is one of the best natural sources of vitamin K and a rich source of vitamins A, B Complex, C, D, and E, biotin, carotenes, calcium, phosphorus, choline, inositol, PABA, actacosonal, trace minerals including iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, chlorophyll, and many other nutrients. Alfalfa is an excellent tonic for the whole body and it may help build iron levels in blood. It contains natural fluoride that may help rebuild tooth decay and strengthen tooth enamel. It is a good infection fighter and may help cleanse the body of toxins. Alfalfa contains 8 digestive enzymes, thereby aiding the digestion of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The resultant improved assimilation is helpful for gastritis, indigestion, morning sickness, and nausea. Alfalfa tea is an appetite stimulator. Vitamin K helps blood to clot by moving calcium into proteins that form a microscopic net to capture red blood cells. Vitamin K likewise helps bones to knit by working with vitamin D and glutamic acid to activate osteocalcin. The combination of these three nutrients is essential to building good bone. Your body can not use calcium without it. Alfalfa not only helps keep calcium in bones, it helps keep calcium out of the linings of arteries. Good for the pituitary gland and to help the quantity and quality of motherís milk. Alfalfa is used with homeopathic remedy Lactuca Virosa to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding mothers. It can also be used with Blessed Thistle, Fenugreek, and/or Marshmallow for this purpose.
Aloe Vera has a healing and cleansing effect on the digestive tract, and aids in forming soft stools. Drink 1/2 cup of Aloe Vera juice in the morning and at night. Aloe vera juice can be mixed with a cup of herbal tea if you wish. The magnificent Aloe plant, that is designed to be self-sufficient & thrive in the desert, feeds us in unique ways with its 250-plus naturally occurring constituents including: enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, glycoproteins, sterols, growth factors, & all sizes of uniquely complex Aloe polysaccharides and mannans.
Bekunis Churna Herb Tea works with the body to gently promote regularity and the excretion of toxic substances which contribute to fatigue. Bekunis provides overnight relief of constipation. Bekunis works with your body's natural processes to relieve simple constipation whenever it occurs. Gently stimulates the large during the night to naturally induct smooth, comfortable elimination in the morning. Bekunis Herbal Tea contains only the fruit and the leaves of the Senna plant - regarded the world over as the ultimate natural laxative. After years of research, it has been standardized for more natural and dependable relief. Directions: Adults, use one rounded teaspoon per cup. Add boiling water, let steep for about 20 minutes then pour off. Add Honey or Lemon to taste. Children over 6, consult a health care provider. Start with one cup daily, preferably in the evening. If desired, drink one cup before breakfast and one at night just before retiring. Warnings: Do not use when abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting are present. Frequent or prolonged use of laxatives may result in dependence on laxatives. If constipation persists consult a health care provider. As with any drug, if you are pregnant or nursing a baby, seek the advice of your midwife or health care provider before using this product. Keep out of reach of children.
Known to the scientific world as Terminalia belerica is a large deciduous tree traditionally called as Baheda or Bibitaki. It is a natural laxative. Baheda or Bibitaki is a large decidious tree known to the scientific world as Terminalia belerica. It is unique in being both laxative and astringent, so it purges the bowels, while simultaneously toning the tissues of the digestive tract. It is used in coughs, sore throat and dyspepsia. It is also a mild laxative and demulcent. It is one of the key ingredients in Trifala, which is a blend of Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibitaki (Terminalia belerica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). Triphala is used in hair care, diseases of liver and gastro-intestinal tract.
Bilwa is used as a remedy for a number of ailments and is especially useful in treating symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Bilwa is a woody tree, native to India. Now naturalized in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and most of southeastern Asian countries. A perennial woody tree grown in kitchen gardens, boundary plantation around mango orchards and in forest plantations in most of the states of India. Various parts of the tree are used for its curative, pesticidal and nutritive properties. Fresh half ripe Bael fruit is mildly astringent and used to cure dysentery, diarrhea, hepatitis, tuberculosis, dyspepsia and good for heart and brain. Roots have antidiarrhetic, antidote to snake venom, anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. The Bael fruit is one of the most nutritious fruits, rich in riboflavin and used for the preparation of a number of products like candy, squash, toffee, slab, pulp powder and nectar. The leaves and seed oil have pesticidal properties.
Bowel Balance Oil works wonderfully for constipation and also for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. With regular use you will create a healthy, balanced digestive system. Directions: Apply to abdomen in a clockwise direction as needed. For external use only, keep out of reach of children. Ingredients for this formula include Grapeseed Oil and a blend of Rosemary, Orange, and Black Pepper essential oils.
Cascara Sagrada is used to help the body relieve constipation. However, it is reputed not to be habit-forming and also nutritionally supports the stomach, liver, pancreas, aand gallbladder. It is cleansing, as well as nourishing, to the colon. It is also known to assist with digestion, and help the body to eliminate worms and parasites. Cascara Sagrada is a mild laxative, acting principally on the large intestine. It is considered suitable for delicate and elderly persons, and may with advantage be given in chronic constipation, being generally administered in the form of the fluid extract. It acts also as a stomachic tonic and bitter, in small doses, promoting gastric digestion and appetite.
Castor Oil can be taken internally for its laxative effect or be applied to the skin as a softener. Castor oil has long been recognized as a powerful laxative which may be used for the relief of occasional constipation. Castor Oil is a natural emollient to the skin. The USP food grade oil is basically tastless and odorless. However, if you have problems with the taste, the taste may be disguised by administering it covered by Lemon oil, Sassafras oil and other herbal or essential oils, or floating on Peppermint or Cinnamon water or coffee, or shaken up with Glycerin, or given in fresh or warmed milk, the dose varying from 1 to 4 teaspoonsful. Probably the best way, however, is to administer it in capsules. Small repeated doses may be given in the intestinal colic of children. It may also be made into an emulsion with the yolk of an egg or mucilage; or with orange-wine or gin. To take as a laxative, mix desire quantity (1 to 4 teaspoons) in a glass of orange juice, stir well, and drink down immediately before the oil separates from the juice (this remedy is often used by midwives to start labor in a pregnant mother whose baby ready to be birthed. For more information about castor oil and labor induction, see Initiating Labor).
CAC Liquid Colon & Liver Cleanser is colon cleanser and detoxifier as well as a blood cleanser. CAC serves to regulate the bowel movements so that the stool is so soft it breaks up into a cloud. Use of this cleansing liquid has many additional benefits. It improves overall digestion, strengthens the immunity, makes the skin more emollient and flexible, clears the eyes, and provides an overall tonic effect on the body. This is not habit forming and will tone the digestive tract and you will use less over time.
Easy Move & Colon Cleanser is made of hemp seed, bitter apricot seed, medicinal rhubarb, costus root, tangerine peel and common peony root, colon cleanse herbs. Chinese medicine uses this famous formula to moisten the intestines, increase peristalsis, facilitate bowel movement, clean internal heat and eliminate congestion and bloating. Direction for Use: As a dietary supplement, take 3 to 5 capsules 3 times daily. Not recommended for use by pregnant woman. Store in a cool and dry place out of the reach of children. Balanceuticals formulas are formulated and manufactured according to the most stringent quality standards and the most up-to-date achievements in traditional Chinese medicine. They are screened for quality and safety by a specialist group at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the highest research institution for traditional Chinese medicine.
Fennel Seed tea also is good for freshening the breath. Fennel seeds are good laxative agents as they contain fibere. The roughage helps in clearance of bowels whereas the stimulating effect helpls maintain the proper peristaltic motion of the intestines, thereby helping proper excretion.
Aloe Vera has a healing and cleansing effect on the digestive tract, and aids in forming soft stools. Drink 1/2 cup of aloe vera juice in the morning and at night. Aloe vera juice can be mixed with a cup of herbal tea if you wish.
Ginger stimulates the digestive system and eases passage of foods through the intestines.
Pure Grapefruit Pectin Fiber is a good source of Dietary Fiber. Food surveys have shown that the fiber content of the American diet is typically half of government recommended levels. Grapefruit Pectin Fiber powder can be a convenient way to increase the intake of fiber.
Herbal Detox products are available that help to flush the digestive system. They can work quickly and can last for several hours. Some come in flavored formulations. Plenty of water needs to be taken with the products. Avoid all unnecessary medications and toxins for 24 to 36 hours and no food or beverages for 4 to 6 hours before administering. Be sure to read label instructions carefully and follow directs for best results.
Use Milk Thistle to aid liver function and to enhance bile output to soften stools. Milk Thistle extract is a potent antioxidant which prevents harm from free radicals and lends nutritional support to the liver. Milk Thistle seed extract contains silymarin, a unique type of flavonoid-like compound considered the active ingredient of Milk Thistle.
Laxatives should be an herbal formula that is good for treating stubborn constipation. The use of laxatives should be kept at a minimum and should only be used for occasional constipational uses. Focus should be diet changes with more Fiber and fluids to improve bowel regularity.
Rose Petals are an astringent and stomachic. Rose Petals (Rosa centifolia) is used as a tonic for general weakness and exhaustion providing increased strength to the heart and the head. Useful as a mild laxative; it is also astringent which makes it useful for hemorrhage and for healing wounds. Rose Petals give a peaceful feeling, and Rose Water can be used for rough, dry, chapped skin. Rose is used for headaches, dizziness, as a heart and nerve tonic. It supports the calming response in the brain. Also helps mouth sores. Use 6 to 12 drops in juice, water, under the tongue or as desired. May be taken 3 times daily. Shake well. Store in cool dark place. Keep out of reach of children.
Agar Agar, a kelp supplement, is a gelatinous substance obtained from several varieties of seaweed and used as a bulk laxative and as a treatment for hyperthyroidism.
Amalaki is an Ayurvedic effective against allergies, anemia, cold & flu, constipation, diabetes, digestive disorders, and liver problems.
Avipattikar Churna powder is useful in acidity, heartburn, loss of appetite, constipation, and hyper-activity. Traditional Indian blend of trikatu, musta, vidanga, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
Triphala internal cleansing formulas, an herbal product that aids in the formation of odor-free, firm, and healthy stools. Triphala is recommended and used more than any other Ayurvedic herbal formulation. Popular for its unique ability to gently cleanse and detoxify the system while simultaneously replenishing and nourishing it, this traditional formula supports the proper functions of the digestive, circulatory, respiratory and genitourinary systems. Triphala improves digestion, reduces serum cholesterol, improves circulation, reduces high blood pressure, improves liver function.
Other herbs that are helpful for constipation include Cascara Sagrada, Goldenseal, Rhubarb Root, Senna Leaves, and Yerba Mate. Caution: Do not take goldenseal on a daily basis for more than one week at a time, and do not use it during pregnancy. If you have a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or glaucoma, use it only under a health care provider's supervision.
Cascara Sagrada, also known as sacred bark, is one of nature's most popular herbal products. It has been used by cultures around the world as a nutritional support for proper waste elimination. Cascara Sagrada bark acts as an herbal laxative, influencing intestinal contractions and supports a clean, healthy colon. Recommended dosage is 2 capsules or tablets with a meal twice daily. See your health care provider prior to using if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, any medical condition exists, or when taking any medication. Read and follow recommendation carefully. Cascara Sagrada is not intended for prolongned use. Do not use if you have diarrhea, loose stools or abdominal pain are present or develop. Use of this product may worsen these conditions and be harmful to your health. Chronic diarrhea can result in serious illness.
Goldenseal root is considered to be an effective broad spectrum antibiotic and fungicide, as well as astringent and anti-inflammatory actions, effective agains a wide range of topical and internal infections of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tracts. It is very much in demand worldwide. Its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties have led researchers to study goldenseal root as a possible alternative to chemical antibiotics. Goldenseal also appears to promote healthy glandular function, and may have a tonic and detoxifying effect on the entire system. Goldenseal boosts the immune system, helps with colds, flu, infection, inflammation, heals mucus membranes, helps digestion problems. Topically it has been used for skin and eye infections (such as conjunctivitis and blepharitis), as a mouthwash for soothing canker sores, and as a tea for diarrhea, upper respiratory and vaginal infections. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic actions, it is useful for cleaning wounds, reducing hemorrhoids, and alleviate skin infections (including ringworm and athlete's foot). The two primary alkaloids in goldenseal are hydrastine and berberine, along with smaller amounts of canadine. They have demonstrated antimicrobial effects against a wide range of bacteria, protozoa, and fungi, including Chlamydia species, E. coli, Salmonella typhi, Candida albicans and Entamoeba histolytica. Take 1/4 teaspoon or less, in water or juice, 2 times per day. Maximum dose use is 5 consecutive days. Store in cool, dark place. Keep out of reach of children. Warning: Not for long-term use. Do not take while pregnant because berberine can stimulate contractions. Goldenseal may raise blood pressure and may not be suitable for people with high blood pressure (may use >Myrrh as a substitute). It should not be used for extended periods of time by those with heart conditions.
Rhubarb Root is an ancient and gentle, but extremely effective, laxative. It supports good colon health by cleansing it and treating constipation, and in smaller doses, its astringents have eased diarrhea, bleeding and hemorrhoids. Rhubarb Root is considered a wonderful cleanser for the intestines, bowels, liver and blood, helping to rid the system of accumulated toxins. It is also an antimicrobial, antibacterial, antibiotic and antiviral, and it may even help to improve your digestion. Rhubarb Root was introduced to Europe in 1767, although specimens of another rhubarb species, Rheum palmatum (Turkey Rhubarb/Chinese Rhubarb are similar in activity to Rheum rhaponticum), were cultivated as early as 1762, in the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh; and in the eighteenth century, cultivation of Rheum palmatum was given preference, but the two are frequently used interchangeably, with only minor variations in chemistry.
Senna encourages bowel movements by inhibiting the smooth muscles that retain stool and stimulating the smooth muscles that push stool through the intestine. The herb does not work unless the sennosides in the herb are transformed into rheinanthrones by beneficial bacteria in the colon. The leaf of senna is fairly powerful and for a more mild effect, it is recommended that you use the pods.
Yerba Mate is diuretic, inotropic (increasing the strength of each heartbeat), chronotropic (making the heart beat faster), glycogenolytic (breaking down stored glycogen in the liver, allowing it to store calories from the next meal), lipolytic (breaking down fats), and analeptic (stimulating the central nervous system). Yerba Mate assists weight loss by increasing the transit time of food through the digestive tract, helping users feel fuller, longer. The British Herbal Compendium also recommends Yerba Mate for treating fatigue and headache. Shade grown Yerba Mate is far more nutritious and tasty compared to sun grown Yerba mate. One can see the difference just by looking at the color of the dried material. Shade grown Yerba Mate is a bold dark green and has a nice heavy taste. Sun grown Yerba mate is pale is color (a little like dried hay) and has a relatively flat taste. If you take Yerba Mate, take 2 to 3 teaspoons in 16 ounces of hot water on an empty stomach.
RECOMMENDED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Acidophilus Supplement Products Agar Agar Herbal Products Alfalfa Herbal Products Aloe Vera Herbal Products Amalaki Herbal Products Avipattikar Herbal Products Barley Grass Herbal Products Bekunis Churna Herbal Products Bibitaki Herbal Products Bifidus Supplement Products Bilwa Herbal Products Blackpepper Essential Oil Products Blessed Thistle Herbal Products Bowel Balance Oil Products CAC Liquid Colon/Liver Cleanse Products Cascara Sagrada Herbal Products Castor Oil Herbal Products Chlorella Herbal Products Chlorophyll Herbal Products Cinnamon Herbal Products Easy Move & Colon Cleanser Products Fennel Herbal Products Fenugreek Herbal Products Fiber Supplement Products Flaxseed Herbal Products Flaxseed Oil Herbal Products Ginger Herbal Products Glycerin Products Goldenseal Herbal Products Grapefruit Pectin Herbal Products Grapeseed Herbal Products Green Foods Herbal products Haritaki Herbal Products Hemorrhoid Products Herbal Detox Supplement Products Honey Products Kombucha Herbal Products Kyodophilus Supplement Products Kyo-Green Herbal Products Laxative Herbal Supplement Products Lemon Essential Oil Products Marshmallow Herbal Products Milk Thistle Herbal Products Myrrh Herbal Products Orange Essential Oil Products Peppermint Herbal Products Psyllium Herbal Products Rose Petals Herbal Products Rose Hydrosol Products Rosemary Essential Oil Products Rhubarb Root Herbal Products Sassafras Essential Oil Products Senna Herbal Products Triphala Herbal Products Wheatgrass Herbal Products Witch Hazel Herbal Products Yerba Mate Herbal Products
Unless otherwise specified, the dosages recommended below are for adults. For children between the ages of 12 and 17, reduce the dose to 3/4 of the recommended amount. For a child between 6 and 12, use 1/2 the recommended amount. For a child between under the age of 6, it is suggested that 1/4 the recommended amount be used.
NUTRIENTS SUPPLEMENT SUGGESTED DOSAGE COMMENTS Important Garlic
(Kyolic or Fresh)
Kyolic: 2 capsules 3 times daily.
Fresh: 2 to 3 cloves with meals 3 times daily.
Destroys harmful bacteria in the colon. Aloe Vera 1/2 cup juice twice daily. Has healing and cleansing effect on the digestive tract and aids in forming soft stools. Vitamin C 1,500 mg 4 times daily. Immunostimulant that aids healing. Use a buffered form. See Ascorbic Acid Flush Helpful Acidophilus
1 teaspoon twice daily. Take on an empty stomach. For bowel flora replacement to improve assimilation of nutrients from foods. Allows survival and rapid passage of "friendly" bacteria through the stomach into the small intestine. Aids in normal bowel function. Apple Pectin 500 mg daily. Take separately from other supplements and medications. A source of fiber that aids in correcting constipation. Chlorophyll Liquid 1 tablespoon daily, before meals. Eliminates toxins and bad breath. From alfalfa leaves, concentrated for maximum effectiveness as an internal breath freshener. Adults and children 12 years of age and older: take two capsules one or two times daily. If odor is not controlled an additional two capsules may be taken, but do not exceed six capsules per day. The smallest effective dose should be used. Children under 12: consult a health care provider before use. For additional odor control, one or two capsules may be added to an empty colostomy or ileostomy bag. Essential Fatty Acids
As directed on label.
1 tablespoon flaxseed 3 times daily, with meals.
Needed for proper digestion and stool formation.
Flaxseeds provides essential fatty acids plus many added enefits such as B vitamins and fiber.
Multi-Enzyme Complex As directed on label. Take after meals. To aid digestion. MultiVitamin & MultiMineral Complex As directed on label. Constipation blocks proper absorption of nutrients, resulting in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Oxy-Cleanse As directed on label. Removes harmful anaerobic pathogens from digestive tract. Vitamin A 10,000 to 25,000 IU daily. If you are pregnant, do not exceed 10,000 IU daily. Needed for tissue repair and immune function. Plus
10,000 IU daily.
As directed on label.
An antioxidant and precursor of vitamin A. Needed by all cells for repair and rebuilding. Vitamin B-Complex 50 mg 3 times daily, before meals. Aids in proper digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Use a high-potency formula. A sublingual form is best. Plus Extra
1,000 to 2,000 mcg daily. To aid in digestion and prevent anemia. And
200 mcg daily. Deficiency may result in constipation. Vitamin D-3 400 mg daily. Aids in preventing constipation. Plus
1,500 mg daily. Needed for proper muscle contraction. May also help prevent colon cancer. And
750 mg daily. Works with calcium to regulate muscle tone. Vitamin E 200 to 600 IU daily. Take before meals. Aids in healing of the colon.
NOTIFY YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER
Occasional constipation does not justify a visit to your health care provider, but you should seek professional advice for a persistent problem. Constipation persists, despite self-care especially if the constipation represents a change in your normal bowel patterns. (Changes in bowel patterns, such as passing pencil-thin stools, may be an early sign of colorectal cancer.) Constipation is accompanied by fever or severe abdominal cramping and pain, and your stools are thin or loose; these symptoms may be an indication of diverticulitis. You have blood in your stools. This may be from a fissure or hemorrhoid but could also be a sign of colorectal cancer. Your constipation develops after start a new prescription drug or take a vitamin or mineral supplements. You may need to discontinue the medication or change dosage. You or your child has been constipated for 2 to 3 weeks, with recurrent abdominal pain, this could be a sign of lead poisoning or other serious ailment. You are elderly or disabled and have been constipated for a week or more, you may have an impacted stool. You are losing weight even though you are not dieting. You have severe pain with bowel movements.
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Post Partum Care - Elimination Concerns (Urinary & Constipation)
MoonDragon's Health Information: Diverticulitis
MoonDragon's Health Information: Ulcerative Colitis
MoonDragon's Pregnancy-Related Problems: Bowel Tips
QUALITY PRODUCTS & SUPPLEMENTS
CONSTIPATION & BOWEL SUPPORT SUPPLEMENTS & RELATED PRODUCTS
Supplements and information for help with healthy, regular bowel movements and constipation relief (the difficulty of passing stools from the body). These products are general Recommendations and some may not be suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Consult with your midwife or health care provider about your specific situation and any possible health-related contraindications or medication interactions before beginning any therapy.
Acacia Herbal Products Acidophilus Supplement Products Agar Agar Herbal Products Alfalfa Herbal Products Aloe Vera Herbal Products Amalaki Herbal Products Apple Pectin Herbal Products Avipattikar Herbal Products Barley Grass Herbal Products Bekunis Churna Herbal Products Beta Carotene Supplement Products Bibitaki Herbal Products Bifidus Supplement Products Bilwa Herbal Products Black Currant Oil Herbal Products Blackpepper Essential Oil Products Blessed Thistle Herbal Products Borage Oil Herbal Products Bowel Balance Oil Products Buchu Herbal Products CAC Liquid Colon/Liver Cleanse Products Calcium Supplement Products Carotene Complex Supplement Products Cascara Sagrada Herbal Products Castor Oil Herbal Products Chlorella Herbal Products Chlorophyll Herbal Products Cinnamon Herbal Products Dandelion Herbal Products Easy Move Colon Cleanse Products EFA Complex Supplement Products Fennel Herbal Products Fenugreek Herbal Products Fiber Supplement Products Flaxseed Herbal Products Flaxseed Oil Herbal Products Folic Acid Supplement Products Garlic & Kyolic Garlic Herbal Products Ginger Herbal Products Glycerin Products Goldenseal Herbal Products Grapefruit Pectin Herbal Products
Grapeseed Herbal Products Green Foods Herbal products Haritaki Herbal Products Hemorrhoid Products Herbal Detox Supplement Products Honey Products Kombucha Herbal Products Kyodophilus Supplement Products Kyo-Green Herbal Products Laxative Herbal Supplement Products Lemon Essential Oil Products Magnesium Supplement Products Marshmallow Herbal Products Milk Thistle Herbal Products Molasses Products Multienzyme Complex Products Multimineral Supplement Products Multivitamin Supplement Products Myrrh Herbal Products Nettles Herbal Products Orange Essential Oil Products Oxy-Cleanse Supplement Products Peppermint Herbal Products Psyllium Herbal Products Rose Petals Herbal Products Rose Hydrosol Products Rosemary Essential Oil Products Rhubarb Root Herbal Products Salmon Fish Oil Supplement Products Sassafras Essential Oil Products Senna Herbal Products Triphala Herbal Products Vitamin A Supplement Products Vitamin B-12 Supplement Products Vitamin B-Complex Products Vitamin C Supplement Products Vitamin D Supplement Products Vitamin E Supplement Products Wheatgrass Herbal Products Witch Hazel Herbal Products Yellow Dock Herbal Products Yerba Mate Herbal Products
AROMATHERAPY: ESSENTIAL OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Allspice Leaf Oil Angelica Oil Anise Oil Baobab Oil Basil Oil Bay Laurel Oil Bay Oil Benzoin Oil Bergamot Oil Black Pepper Oil Chamomile (German) Oil Cajuput Oil Calamus Oil Camphor (White) Oil Caraway Oil Cardamom Oil Carrot Seed Oil Catnip Oil Cedarwood Oil Chamomile Oil Cinnamon Oil Citronella Oil Clary-Sage Oil Clove Oil Coriander Oil Cypress Oil Dill Oil Eucalyptus Oil Fennel Oil Fir Needle Oil Frankincense Oil Geranium Oil German Chamomile Oil Ginger Oil Grapefruit Oil Helichrysum Oil Hyssop Oil Iris-Root Oil Jasmine Oil Juniper Oil Labdanum Oil Lavender Oil Lemon-Balm Oil Lemongrass Oil Lemon Oil Lime Oil Longleaf-Pine Oil Mandarin Oil Marjoram Oil Mimosa Oil Myrrh Oil Myrtle Oil Neroli Oil Niaouli Oil Nutmeg Oil Orange Oil Oregano Oil Palmarosa Oil Patchouli Oil Peppermint Oil Peru-Balsam Oil Petitgrain Oil Pine-Long Leaf Oil Pine-Needle Oil Pine-Swiss Oil Rosemary Oil Rose Oil Rosewood Oil Sage Oil Sandalwood Oil Savory Oil Spearmint Oil Spikenard Oil Swiss-Pine Oil Tangerine Oil Tea-Tree Oil Thyme Oil Vanilla Oil Verbena Oil Vetiver Oil Violet Oil White-Camphor Oil Yarrow Oil Ylang-Ylang Oil Aromatherapy
Healing Baths For Colds
Using Essential Oils
AROMATHERAPY: HERBAL & CARRIER OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Almond, Sweet Oil Apricot Kernel Oil Argan Oil Arnica Oil Avocado Oil Baobab Oil Black Cumin Oil Black Currant Oil Black Seed Oil Borage Seed Oil Calendula Oil Camelina Oil Castor Oil Coconut Oil Comfrey Oil Evening Primrose Oil Flaxseed Oil Grapeseed Oil Hazelnut Oil Hemp Seed Oil Jojoba Oil Kukui Nut Oil Macadamia Nut Oil Meadowfoam Seed Oil Mullein Oil Neem Oil Olive Oil Palm Oil Plantain Oil Plum Kernel Oil Poke Root Oil Pomegranate Seed Oil Pumpkin Seed Oil Rosehip Seed Oil Safflower Oil Sea Buckthorn Oil Sesame Seed Oil Shea Nut Oil Soybean Oil St. Johns Wort Oil Sunflower Oil Tamanu Oil Vitamin E Oil Wheat Germ Oil
HELPFUL RELATED MOONDRAGON NUTRITION BASICS LINKS
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Antioxidants Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Enzymes Information MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Herbs Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Homeopathics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Hydrosols Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Minerals Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Mineral Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary & Cosmetic Supplements Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary Supplements Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Specialty Supplements MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction
NUTRITION BASICS ARTICLES
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute? MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water
RELATED MOONDRAGON HEALTH LINKS & INFORMATION
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1 MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2 MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index
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