5 Key reasons why your constipation may be worse in your 40s and 50s and how you can find relief!
- Did you get constipated before your period?
- Have you had thyroid issues?
- Are you sweating a lot?
Your constipation could be a symptom of something else going on in your body so it’s a good idea not to pump yourself full of laxatives or force yourself to poop!
Instead, get curious, go gently and find out more about what’s happening in your body.
There are actually lots of causes and lots of solutions for constipation. For example, I’m reading an article on menopause and constipation right now and the advice from the physical therapist is to learn the correct way to poop! It’s fascinating!
The Right Way to Poop
Here are some guidelines on a natural way to go to the toilet based on the advice of a physical therapist[i].
- Let your abdominals be loose so your pelvic floor relaxes.
- Allow for your colon to unfold, so evacuation happens with only gentle pushing from you.
- Have your knees above your hips so your colon can unfold into the correct angle so things move more smoothly.
- Don’t ever force it – if your body isn’t ready, it isn’t ready. Try again when you hear the call.
What you don’t want to do is:
- Ignore your body’s calls of nature repeatedly, then go to the bathroom only when it’s convenient.
- Push really hard because your body isn’t contracting naturally, and you need to get this done in the next 30 seconds.
- Strain, hold your breath, push down so that instead of relaxing and opening naturally, the pelvic floor muscles clench tight and “slam the door shut.”
- Take a whole lot of over-the-counter laxatives to counter poor pooping mechanics
Why is constipation worse at Menopause?
Not a lot of research has been done on hormonal changes at menopause but that’s changing. At this stage we know that lowered estrogen levels affect pretty much everything! But also, that other challenges typically going on at this time of life can be affecting bowel health. Here are a few to think about:
Thyroid hormones regulate your metabolism including how quickly food goes through you. If your thyroid is sluggish or you have Hashimoto’s then your bowels could have simply slowed down. If you’re still going for number twos once every day or up to 3 days then you probably don’t need to do anything except drink plenty of water so your stool doesn’t dry out too much. If it’s longer than 3 days, then it’s time to get checked out.
Remember what medications you’re taking. Medications may directly cause constipation like some painkillers, anti-depressants or blood pressure medications or they may put an extra load on the liver and cause some liver sluggishness. Consider getting yourself healthier so you can go back to your doctor to discuss reducing your dose or coming off the medication entirely.
Speaking about liver sluggishness, a poor functioning liver and gall bladder can also contribute to constipation. Could you have gall stones (which I’ve recently learned can also be in the liver)? Could you be overloading your liver with too many toxic substances like alcohol and industrialised seed oils. It might be time to go easy on the stimulants and do a gall bladder flush or a liver detox to clean things up a bit. Herbs are fantastic for this!
As obvious as it sounds, lots of people still don’t drink enough water, or they drink some but then drink too many beverages that dehydrate eg coffee, alcohol, soft drinks, processed fruit juices, etc. So, before you take any laxatives or do anything radical, consider drinking the 2-3 litres of water a day that you require as a minimum.
Do you move enough? Has lower back pain clamped up your pelvic area? Is a conventional toilet not working for you?
The movement of the stool through the bowel is helped by abdominal massage whether you do that manually or it’s a consequence of exercise. So, yoga, Pilates, walking and other exercise is very helpful for helping the bowels move.
Lower back issues and pelvic congestion can be helped with acupuncture, chiropractic or osteopathic treatment so don’t just put up with it. You may also want to consider getting a Squatty Potty[ii] for beside the toilet so you can poop the right way!
How can I help?
Constipation can be very uncomfortable and shift your focus away from living fully so please, don’t put up with it. I offer a comprehensive investigation phase to help you find out what’s going on with your body so we can restore you to optimal health and wellbeing. Then you can get busy living!
Contact me today to book your ½hr complimentary chat to find out more. Even if we don’t end up working together you’ll go away with a resource or tool to help you on your health journey.
Phone: 0409 774 790