‘Tis the season for great foods and stuck bowels… This holiday year its time to talk all things constipation! From roast and potatoes to holiday cookies, add in a pandemic and an election year… this year has been full of overeating and STRESS! A major theme I continue to hear from my patients is constipation. Constipation can be defined as:
When talking about constipation I like to break things down into three simplish categories:
First let’s discuss great ways to first get things MOVING!
Second lets talk about the EXIT!
The next step is exiting the bowels out of the rectum. Even if you turn on a hose and water is moving, if the hose is kinked or has a small nozzle less will come out…So we need to unkink the hose or change the opening of the nozzle (this is the same for our bowels!). For improving the exit of our bowel, we need to relax our pelvic floor muscles and sphincters. To keep things simple stretching and posturing are the 2 best options for this!
Third and Final: Stress Management!
When talking about motility we have to talk about stress management. This part of our nervous system that causes our feelings of stress/anxiety is called our autonomic nervous system. This nervous system can be broken down into two categories; sympathetic (fight or flight) vs parasympathetic (rest and digest) they are constantly a battle with each other over who has more control over us. With a pandemic, election year, and work/life changes many of many of us are more influenced by our sympathetic (fight or flight) system than ever! When we are in more of a sympathetic/anxious/stressed state a few major changes happen to name a few decreased libido, decreased GUT MOTILITY (if you are running from a bear no time to digest food), increased heart rate, and sweating. Now we need to combat the “fight or flight” with the parasympathetic nervous system. We can activate the rest and digest through cardio, movement, mindfulness, and breathing. Here are some great youtube links of mindfulness and breathing!
Now all of the above sounds great, but if things still don’t help PLEASE reach out to your local pelvic physical therapist to address and discuss options. I offer a free 15 minute phone consult as well if you would like to discuss any of these feel free to reach out!! Last check out my Pinterest page for more options on constipation combat!