The postman just delivered my mail and packages. As he does every day. Always around the same time I hear the distinct sound of the mailbox lid and the short barking of the neighbor dog. Sometimes he’s ‘late’, and on these days, I always notice a subtle change in the everyday routine. However, no big deal.

Except on one day. There’s no postman on Sundays. And I know, Sunday is different. A special day. The lack of postal services indicates that something has forced out the everyday routine.

Things behave similarly with our bowel movements. Ideally you have one to three every day, more or less at the same time. No big deal if it’s late now and then, as long as the usual routine sets in again. Two thumbs up if you even take notice. However, if there is no bowel movement for an entire day, then it’s a clear sign that something has forced out the normality.

It is called a limited bowel function if you have less than one bowel movement per day. Signs of chronic constipation are if you have less than 3-5 bowel movements per week or more than 3 consecutive days without a bowel movement.

What are the possible causes?

  • Too little fibers in the diet
  • Insufficient water intake
  • Inadequate digestion of the stomach
  • Insufficient gallbladder function
  • Disturbed gastric and / or intestinal flora
  • Hidden food intolerances
  • Low thyroid function
  • Magnesium deficiency

What can you do to help?

Digestion works better with real food. This includes vegetables (my recommendation: spinach) and berries. Traditional remedies are plums or pectin-containing fruits such as apples, figs, pears and bananas. Drink plenty of fresh water (rule of thumb is 6 to 8 glasses per day) and avoid coffee and soft drinks.

If these measures don’t help, doing enemas is highly effective and works super fast (read my article What can you do when eating healthy doesn’t work).

What are my experiences with stubborn cases?

Based on the lab tests, I realize that an out-of-balance hormonal system is one of the main causes for long-lasting constipation. In addition, an unhealthy diet or chronic pain and inflammation (surgery, accidents, etc.) complete the condition. Supporting the hormonal system as well as restoring functions of the stomach, gallbladder and intestines often is the most effective solution in the long run.