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Constipation Explained: Your #2 Go-To Guide

Constipation can be frustrating and downright uncomfortable. But, with the right knowledge and tools, constipation can be effectively managed and even prevented altogether.

Today’s blog post will cover everything you need to know about constipation. You will learn how to identify its symptoms and some contributing factors that might be causing it. Whether you are experiencing occasional constipation or have been struggling with chronic constipation for years, this blog post gives you the background information you need to start taking control of your bowels to get things moving!

What is constipation?

Constipation is a common problem that affects many people at some point in their lives. It occurs when bowel movements become difficult or infrequent, causing discomfort, and sometimes even pain.

As a gut health expert, I consider having anything less than one complete bowel movement per day to be constipation - "Complete" being the key word here. This is because it is still entirely possible to be constipated while having a daily bowel movement if your bowels are not fully emptying (I see this a lot in my private practice).

Signs & Symptoms of Constipation

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of constipation is important to prevent complications and to start taking action. It is important to note that some people may experience these symptoms occasionally without having constipation, while others may have constipation with fewer or milder symptoms. In some cases, people may not have any symptoms at all (or they may just not be aware of them).

The signs and symptoms of constipation can vary from person to person, but some common ones include:C

  • Infrequent bowel movements (less than one per day)

  • Difficulty passing stool or straining to “go”

  • Bowels that feel incomplete

  • Hard & dry stools (they may be crumbly or look like rabbit pellets)

  • Abdominal discomfort

  • Feeling bloated or uncomfortable

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Transit time that is over 24 hours

Common Causes of Constipation

Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors. Understanding the causes of constipation can help you take preventative measures and make lifestyle changes to improve your bowel movements. Some main factors causing constipation among my clients include:

  • Poor diet: A diet low in fibre and high in processed foods can be a big contributor to sluggish bowel habits.

  • Lack of exercise: A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a slower digestive system, making it harder to pass stools.

  • Dehydration: Not drinking enough water or fluids can lead to hard and dry stools, making them difficult to pass. Low levels of minerals and electrolytes can also be at play, particularly deficiencies in Potassium.

  • Sluggish bile flow: Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gall