Did you know that it is estimated that 24% of the Australian community experience chronic constipation!
That is MASSIVE
And that is likely to be a very conservative figure, especially considering the taboo around going to the bathroom on a regular basis!
If you have followed by blog over the years you will be aware of how constipation has literally debilitated parts of my life. And whilst many areas of constipation can be resolved by better eating habits, healthier choices of food, and importantly the time we eat, there are also lots of emotional factors that we often forget.
In fact one of the biggest factors that is constantly overlooked when dealing with constipation is stress!!
It sounds overly simple, but tell that to a Mum who is trying to get the kids to school on time, whilst ironing her shirt and checking her emails. Life as a Mum is insanely busy, and this in part is where many of our gut problems can lie.
For most of us Mums, mornings (the time when your body often needs to empty things) are the busiest times of the day, busiest also equally the most stressful.
Our amazing Motherly body does what it does and just keeps going, managing the kids and further supporting our role as chief negotiator, cook, cleaner, taxi driver by literally holding onto a poo so we can get stuff done.
The body as nifty as it is orchestrates this by secreting cortisol, our stress hormone. It makes us move faster and more focussed and motivates us to get everyone off for the day. Unfortunately it also instructs our gut and intestines to constrict or tighenen up preventing us from going to the bathroom. Whilst this can be tolerated once in a while, for many of us this becomes a daily habit stacked on to the already daily habits around our morning. And as with all habits our brain begins to hardwire it and automate the process.
The result, a constipated Mum. And as the gut is responsible for producing 95% of our feel good hormones, not to mention it heavily it's pain is constantly felt by our mind, Mum starts to feel down in the dumps.
You see, the gut and mind are constantly in communication with each other. This is why when you are nervous you feel the butterflies in your tummy or when you are emotionally upset you may feel sick or nauseous. So looking at both of them and how they are working can give us significant clues as to how to fix the problem.
In holistic medicine we look at these systems together, and look how we can fix the root cause, ie creating habits and behaviours to relieve the stressors.
When you relieve the stress, things start to relax.
Your bowel is a coil of twists and turns, and when we are stressed it holds on to things in an effort to delay any undesirable actions. The thing is that in our constantly stressed world, the bowel can remain unable to let go because it is constantly stressed.
When we release this stress, our bowel relaxes and allows normal healthy movement.
Going to the loo is a necessary and healthy part of health, and failing to go can attract a myriad of issues.
The gut brain connection is a two way street of communication, and when either of them our out of balance the other one suffers.
Working with a holistic nutritionist can help you reset the balance and heal your gut and alleviate mental issues associated with poor gut health such as depression, anxiety. It can also just be building rituals to actually carve out time for you to go to the loo in peace, without screaming kids banging on the door.
Chronic constipation is not something that should be put up with.
Constipation can lead to a long list of ailments, not least colon cancer. It is an essential part of our body's detoxification, not only for out body but also our mind when you consider the nature of intimate nature of the body and mind.
If you are struggling, ask yourself what else is going on in your life that could be making your body stressed. The answer may be simpler than you think!