Constipation occurs when bowel movements become less frequent or having fewer bowel movements that is lesser than three times a week. And constipation is classified into two types and these are ORGANIC and FUNCTIONAL.

Organic Constipation is caused by:

  • Dehydration
  • Symbolic bowel flora
  • Food sensitivities
  • Inadequate fibre
  • Anal fissures (cause and effect)
  • Some medications

FUNCTIONAL which is rare only, includes:

  • Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Anorectal malformation
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Spina bifida

Signs and Symptoms 

  • Large hard stools
  • Small dry pellet like stools
  • Infrequent (less than daily- that’s right l want you poohing EVERY day) stools
  • Difficulty in passing a bowel motion
  • Straining, often indicated by whole body tensing and reddening of the face
  • Over spill syndrome – where watery stool will pass by compacted faeces in the rectum, giving the appearance of diarrhea
  • Painful defecation 
  • Withholding bowel motion (infants and toddlers may withhold bowel motion to avoid pain of passing stool)
  • Haemorrhoids

Diet and Lifestyle 

Increase soluble and insoluble fibre – e.g broccoli and apples, lentils, peas and seeds.   
Ensure that adequate exercise/movement is occurring daily
Probiotics – first avenue of treatment- can be given from newborn through to the elderly.  In particular strains including lactobacillus rhamnosus and bifidobacterium longum. 

Slippery elm- suitable from 4 months onwards. The increased bulk stimulates peristalsis and its mucilaginous properties create soft slippery, easy to pass stools.  

Ground Flaxseeds – freshly ground, can be added to mashed/stewed fruit or mixed with water. Its mucilaginous properties create soft stools with the added benefit of providing essential fatty acids. 

Herbs for Constipation

Digestive bitters and liver stimulant herbs improve digestion and increase bile production often resulting in softer stools.  

  • Chamomile
  • Licorice
  • Dandelion root
  • Fennel
  • Lemon balm

Need help with constipation? Book an appointment with us so we can work out the underlying cause of your constipation. 

Katherine Knott

Katherine is a certified naturopath and the founding director of Acorn and Oak.   She began studying Naturopathy when she was 18 years old and has practiced in both Melbourne and rural Victoria.  She has also studied 2 1/2 years of nursing and midwifery, but decided that she was happier to work with women as […]

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Nicki Stewart

Nicki has always been drawn to Holistic Health and she follows in her mother’s footsteps who is a Reflexologist and Natural Therapist. Nicki was inspired to study Herbal Medicine after attending one of Dr. Sandi Rogers’ (Naturopath, Director of National College of Traditional Medicine and former President of Australian Traditional Medicine Society) seminars on ‘Fruits […]

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Alyce Beaton

Alyce is qualified naturopath in Ballarat who loves supporting people on their health journey. Alyce believes optimising and restoring health first and foremost begins with food as medicine and creating healthy lifestyle habits. She is passionate about providing a safe, non judgement environment and endeavours to support her clients with strategies they can implement into […]

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