Bowel Relaxants for Constipation
Answered by: Christine Dennis
Question from: James
Posted on: September 28, 2012

What can help your passage easier when you go to the bathroom.

There are so many causes of stubborn bowels and difficulty passing stools and is commonly referrred to as constipation.. Constipation is defined as difficult, small, and/or infrequent passing of stools that may be unduly hard and dry. Other possible accompanying signs and symptoms may include cramps, stomachaches and decrease appetite. Constipation can be an acute or chronic issue.

Bowel movements are controlled by the autonomic nervous system (ANS) by sensing pressure from the fecal matter on the bowel wall and by stimulating the external sphincter. This ANS is concerned with control of involuntary bodily functions by either stimulating or sedating these functions. It is this system that is also affected by the fight or flight response and as a result is very easily influenced by stress and one’s response to stress. Therefore, any factor that influences this ANS can cause constipation and bowel dysfunction in general. Additionally, many cases of constipation occur when the urge is suppressed and the associated muscles remain contracted.

Common aggravators are stress, emotional upset, reduced fluid intake, poor bowel tone, poor gut flora, lack of exercise, low fiber in diet, nutritional deficiencies, poor eating habits, irregular bowel habits, meditations, etc. However, other causes are usually things like weak digestive secretions/stimulation/tone as the digestive system is not being stimulated or toned enough to produce the proper digestive secretions and movement; food sensitivities - lactose intolerance, eggs, dairy and wheat sensitivities are common culprits and should be ruled out first; laxative abuse as dependence on laxative foods, herbs or medicines for regular movements can lead to constipation even after the initial cause of the constipation has been resolved; or bowel disorders such as IBS, Crohn’s or diverticulitis.

Some dietary recommendations are: increase non sugary and non caffeinated fluids, water, pure fruit and vegetable juices, nutritive herbal teas such as nettle (Uritca dioica), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), chickweed (Stellaria media), and oatstraw (Avena sativa); magnesium rich diet to help reduce muscle tension i.e. green vegetables and whole grains; increase fiber (indigestible portion of foods) both soluble and insoluble fibers; all foods contain both but in varying degrees; fiber creates bulk which is necessary to put pressure on the bowel wall triggering the ANS; take a probiotic for restoring good bacterial flora; decrease constipating foods, e.g. dairy products, casein and calcium in cow’s milk has been shown to affect bowel movements, and refined foods; decrease caffeine, these drinks and foods stimulate bowel movements thus creating a dependency; eat bitter and sour foods that promote good digestion and stimulation, 10 to 30 minutes before meals, a dash of lemon in warm water, bitter greens and small amounts of apple cider vinegar are good examples; avoid drinking with meals so as to not dilute the digestive secretions; when necessary use natural laxative foods, dates, prunes, raisins, molasses, bran, carob, whole flax seeds, apple sauce, nuts and seeds, blueberries and blackberries, oatmeal.

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