Whether your constipation is chronic or acute, there are some simple things you can do to correct it without dumping chemical medications into your bloodstream (which stresses the body’s eliminations even more).

There are a couple of simple things your intestines need to keep things moving:

Moisture so that stuff doesn’t get stuck

Volume so that it’s a smooth move without forcing, aka fiber

Digestive bacteria which you get from your saliva, so please chew food thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly

Digestive enzymes like pre- and pro-biotics and a healthy liver.

Now on to some simple steps to take for when it doesn’t Go as well.

Acute Constipation — This is occasional constipation, not more frequent than once every month or two. It can happen because of stress, the kind of food you ate the day before, not enough movement of the body, or not enough water.

Most of the time, dehydration and inactivity are the causes, although a lot of medications can also gum up the insides. So making sure to drink enough water and exercise every day is the cure.

But what can you do on those occasional days when nothing seems to be moving? There you are sitting on the pot and it’s just not happening. Here are a few simple things that might help it move right along:

Raise your arms above your head.

Sway your body to the right and hold that position for a few seconds. Take a few deep breaths.

Then sway to the left and hold that position for a few seconds and take a few deep breaths before coming back to the middle.

This movement lifts the rib cage off the bends – called flexures – in the large intestine. It gives the contents room to move past the hepatic and splenic flexures.

Bending forward and resting the chest on your lap can also open up the nerve supply in the lower back so that the colon gets the signals to move. Follow this by sitting up really straight while on the pot. Repeat this a few times, and the side-bending, too.

Another thing to try to stimulate peristalsis is reaching up around your back and lightly scratching the spine with your nails. Start at the mid-back and lightly scratch down to the base of the spine. This sometimes triggers the nerves in the large intestine to begin to move (peristalsis). Scratching across the sacrum might also do the trick.

If these don’t work, you’ll just have to wait until the next day and hope for the best. Drink enough water, take a walk and eat a nice large fruit or vegetable salad.

Chronic Constipation — This is a serious condition that allows too much bacterial waste to stay in the system. When the large intestine can no longer handle the toxins from accumulated feces, you can experience

skin problems,

body odors,

fatigue,

back ache,

lowered immune function,

premature aging,

and a list of disease states that could be avoided if you’re willing to make some simple changes in lifestyle.

Here are some of the natural ways to reverse chronic constipation:

Be sure to drink at least a quart of good water every day. Juices and teas can make up another quart. But coffee, beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks do not count as hydration. In fact, they cause dehydration in the cells! This works against the bowel being able to move well. So limit your intake of these substances.

Include arms-above-the-head stretching movements along with your other exercise. When your muscles get weaker from sitting for too much of the day, it’s harder for them to move the bowel contents along.

Repopulate the good intestinal elements by taking pre- and probiotics for several weeks. A lifestyle of smoking, drinking, inactivity, poor diet and dehydration have likely stripped the digestive factors from the intestines, and they need to be replenished.

Shift the proportions in your foods — more vegetables and fruits, less meats and fats and processed foods.

It may take some time and you may need some help with over-the-counter stool softeners for a little while. But restoring the function of your large intestine is

restoring the health of your whole body,

extending your lifespan,

increasing your energy, and

avoiding colon cancer and many other diseases.

If these aren’t good enough reasons to make some simple changes, good luck.

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