Midlife, Menopause and Constipation


Scuze the french, but…

“There’s nothing quite like a really good dump!” 

My dad used to say this and he’s right. Just ask anyone who’s struggling with constipation!

What is constipation?
According to www.cancer.gov “Constipation is a condition in which stool becomes hard, dry, and difficult to pass, and bowel movements don’t happen very often. Other symptoms may include painful bowel movements, and feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and sluggish”. There’s also something called “incomplete evacuation” and this is also a form of constipation. 

How often is not very often?
Opinions may vary, but it’s my professional opinion as a nutritionist of over 30 years, and a GAPS practitioner that if you haven’t had a bowel motion in 2 days, you’re constipated.

What causes constipation?
Inadequate fibre in the diet isn’t the only reason you can become constipated and in fact, too much fibre can be a problem. 

Other causes are: 

  • Dehydration
  • Poor liver / gall bladder function
  • Medications
  • Congested abdomen – in a Qi/Chinese Medicine sense, worsened by a lack of exercise
  • Imbalance in the gut nervous system (eg as in IBS)
Bloating and sluggish bowels are a symptom of constipation.

However, the scariest cause of constipation is a gut bacteria imbalance. 

Too many toxic (pathogenic) bacteria in your gut and you have all kinds of problems – autoimmune disease, epilepsy, fatigue, hormone problems, allergies, arthritis, neurological disorders, mood and behavioural disorders, etc…

What can you do to assist with constipation?
Given the above causes, here are some suggestions for dealing with chronic constipation:

  • Have more cooked vegetables and gelatinous meats, and reduce muscle meats in your diet
  • Increase animal fat consumption with your meals and take cod liver oil
  • Replace yoghurt and kefir (high-protein dairy) with sour cream (high-fat dairy), homemade with kefir culture is particularly good. 
  • Introduce juicing: make a juice from a mixture of fruit and vegetables, and then whisk 1-2 raw eggs into it and a generous dollop of homemade sour cream. This is called the GAPS Shake and is part of the GAPS protocol for constipation
  • Supplement with magnesium – citrate or chelate
  • Good old-fashioned enemas
  • Psyllium husks daily away from meals
  • Increase probiotic foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, pickled veggies, homemade apple cider vinegar
  • Calm and balance the nervous system with herbs such as chamomile, vervain, valerian and others
  • Manage stress levels with yoga and other exercise

Does menopause cause constipation?
Many women experience constipation for the first time at menopause. Due to the hormone changes, the body becomes dryer. At this time it’s even more important to stay hydrated and to ensure healthy bile flow. To do this you need to eat good quantities of fats like butter and to reduce the toxin levels in your every day life. Reducing pathogenic gut microbes like candida is also essential.

I’d like to acknowledge my dad for his everyday wisdom when it comes to bowel habits. Poop jokes weren’t his favourite jokes but they were a solid #2!

For a chat about my Rejuvenate the Liver for Energy program, book in for a Synergy Session here

Much love,
Brenda x

Brenda Rogers

With over 25 years experience as a corporate trainer, naturopath, yoga teacher and wise woman educator, Brenda is the head clinician and coach at Quintessence Health.

"A healthy mind and body simply ensures you have the time and energy to fully express and manifest your life’s purpose – it facilitates the unfolding of joy."

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