Constipation

Constipation

A common yet often ignored symptom of menopause

If constipation is part of your world, and not something you readily discuss even with your friends, you might be surprised to know that over fifty percent of the women in surveys admit to suffering with constipation to some degree, and in many cases have done so for most of their lives. It is often accompanied by excessive wind, bloating and even abdominal pain.

Our bowel habits are embarrassing, so not something we make a point of talking about in public. Yet a disturbance in bowel function, especially constipation, is a common affliction of those living in the Western world. Sedentary lifestyle and a relatively poor intake of fibre-rich foods are contributory factors, as are nutritional deficiencies.

Constipation is the result of the bowel becoming sluggish and therefore not doing its job properly, due usually to a lazy bowel muscle which does not contract regularly and strongly, or bowel muscles that do contract, but in a poorly coordinated fashion. Our waste matter stagnates and produces toxins which can be extremely harmful to our long term health.

In order for food and digestive material to pass smoothly along the bowel, both muscle layers must work together in a carefully coordinated fashion. First, the ring muscles, which are found at the entrance or exit to the stomach, must relax. This relaxation is then followed by a wave of muscular contraction which pushes a ball of food along the gut and slowly down its length. Each muscle contraction is preceded by an area of muscle relaxation before it. The high pressure generated by the bowel contraction pushes the bowel contents forwards into the low-pressure area of the relaxed bowel. The whole process normally takes between one to two days in most men and up to three days in women. This is what would happen in a healthy gut, when our nutrients are in an optimum range.

When you restore nutrient levels, particularly those associated with smooth muscle and make a few small dietary changes, even lifelong constipation becomes a thing of the past within a matter of weeks.

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