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. 

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Ruth has had a lifelong interest in and passion for nature, natural medicine, and the human experience. She began her studies in Health Science, Aromatherapy, Remedial Therapies, including Manual Lymphatic Drainage, in Melbourne over 25 years ago. On completion of these studies, Ruth operated a clinic for 8 years in the Grampians region, specializing in […]

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