Constipation. A condition that is more than an annoyance – it can have serious effects on the body and mood. When it comes to preparing for conception, constipation is something that can have negative effects on hormonal balance as it can prevent the elimination of excess hormones. Constipation plays a particular role in the amount of estrogen in the body through the estrobolome.
The Microbiome and Estrobolome
There has been so much information about the microbiome and the positive effect healthy gut bacteria have on everything from our immune system, mental health and ability to avoid a leaky gut. But did you know that the gut is home to our estrobolome?
What is the estrobolome?
The estrobolome is a set of microbes within the gut that is responsible for activating estrogen by producing an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase. The more beta-glucuronidase, the more estrogen is recirculated in the body.
When microbes are out of balance, less estrogen is elminated and this can lead to an imbalance of hormones.
In addition, constipation or not emptying your bowels completely can increase estrogen as waste that remains too long in the bowel will be partially reabsorbed by the walls of the intestine.
How to resolve constipation?
Minerals, minerals, and more minerals
An imbalance of minerals is often the root cause of constipation. This is the easiest area to correct and see long term improvement in your gut health, constipation, and overall well being.
Here are 3 suggestions:
Take a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Test (HTMA) to evaluate your mineral and heavy metal status. Taking the minerals that are specific to your needs can increase your health and vitality along with improve constipation.
Drink sole every morning will help get your bowels moving. More information here.
Fulvic minerals – binds with nutrients and usher them into the cell. They also bind to toxins and excrete them from the body while balancing the microbiome and reducing candida. Fulvic minerals are powerful! More info here.
Massage – Imagine a clock on abdomen with your navel as the center. Starting on the lower right of your abdomen, press down with an exhale. Move up the “clock” with each exhale towards right below the right ribs. Then continue left, press down with each exhalation towards to the left ribs. Continue downwards. Circle across the lower abdomen to the starting point. Now go for another round with a smaller circle around the abdomen. Continue circling from right to left with smaller and smaller circles around the navel. Combine it with castor oil (use old clothing) for an even better effect. Done every morning after waking, this encourages gut motility and decreases constipation.
You grandmother’s solution:
Prunes – a tried and true remedy for constipation. Grandmas throughout the world have relied on 2 prunes a day with extra water for constipation relief.
Cod liver oil – many mothers gave this to their children daily for its fat soluble vitamins and to keep things regular.
Food and water:
Lack of proper hydration is the number one reason for constipation. Increasing intake of pure, filtered water with minerals added (a bit of sea salt is a good start) can help move things along.
Drink less coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant and can also stimulate the bowels. But over time, the body will need more caffeine to have the same impact. This can create dependence. Coffee is also dehydrating. For every cup of coffee, rehydrate with 4 cups of water.
Food – eat fermented food such as kimchi, sauerkraut, or carrots you ferment at home. Fermented foods provide a variety of probiotics that feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Fiber is also essential to moving the bowels. Fiber acts as a broom and sweeps along the gut taking waste along with it. Fruits and vegetables are a great sources of fiber. Eat two handfuls of salad at the start of every meal. This will increase your fiber intake as well as help with blood glucose regulation. Adding greens to smoothies is also helpful to get your 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Exercise – movement stimulates the bowels and gets them moving. Sitting all day at a desk job is huge problem for the gut. Take regular breaks, do jumping jacks for one minute 3x a day, take the stairs at work and go for a walk after lunch and dinner.
Sleep – the rest and repair that takes place over night is also the opportunity for the body to move waste through the intestines. Sleeping for a least 7 hours has been shown to improve hormonal health and improve gut motility.
Supplements and Herbs
Aloe vera- as a capsule or liquid aloe is soothing to the gut and gently relieves constipation.
Probiotics -products containing lactobacillus strains are helpful with maintaining a healthy estrobolome.
Castor oil- taken internally, it can relieve constipation within 2-6 hours. Castor oil packs over the abdomen are also a gentle way to relieve constipation.
triphala- an Ayurvedic remedy that uses the dried powder from 3 fruits. Take 2 hours after a meal or 30 minutes before bedtime. Triphala can be taken long term, after 10 weeks it is suggested to stop taking it for 3 weeks to reduce likelihood of dependency before continuing again.
Senna tea – works gently overnight. Prepare tea according to the directions on the package and drink before going to bed. Not for use with potassium deficiency, heart conditions, Crohn’s disease, or while taking Lanoxin or warfarin or contraception. Not for long term use.
Flax seed – half a teaspoon of flax seed provides a powerhouse of fiber. Add it to smoothies, yoghurt or cereal. In some cases it can block estrogen receptors for those on hormone replacement therapy.
Marshmallow root – relieves constipation and helps to heal a leaky gut. Helpful with inflammatory bowel conditions such as colitis, gastritis, and mouth sores.
Valerian – reduces inflammation, pain, and helps induce sleep in addition to relieving constipation. Take 30 minutes before bedtime.
Ashwagandha – reduces stress and cortisol. High levels of cortisol reduces beneficial bacteria. Add it to a tumeric warmed milk of your choice and drink 1 hour before bedtime. It helps to unwind after a busy day and aids sleep.
Omega 3 fatty acids – supports a healthy microbiome
Digestive Enzymes and HCL
Often the cause of constipation is not in the gut but due problems higher up in the digestive tract.
Do you chew? Chewing food 20 times before swallowing gives it time to be mixed with enzymes in saliva and to break down food for digestion.
Further down the digestive tract, a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, digestive enzymes from bile or pancreatic enzymes will prevent food from being broken down and properly absorbed. The undigested mass arrives in the colon and blocks the system.
Talk with your doctor before taking betaine hydrochloride. This increases stomach acid. Paradoxically, low stomach acid is what causes heartburn and contributes to GERD. Betaine HCL often helps with these conditions. Take betaine hydrochloride during a meal or at the end of a meal. Taken at the beginning of a meal can lead to heartburn and reduce natural HCL production. When taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin, do not take HCL.
Digestive enzymes include protease, amylase, and lipase aid in breaking down carbohydrates, fats and protein.
There are quite a few suggestions here. Take the time to figure out what works for you! Supporting your gut and relieving constipation is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have questions or concerns, please consult with your healthcare practitioner.