constipation - diet / supplement questions?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 3/3/2009 3:06 PM (GMT -7)   
hi everyone-- i have been suffering from severe constipation (and for the last 6months horrible GERD- thanks to constipation) for over a year now .. i ve been on ibs meds, laxatives - and im still taking miralax nightly just for laughs at this point
im also taking/drinking apple cider vinegar,  digestive enzymes, probiotics, activia, coco water, flax oil, cal mag liquid, vitamin b complex liquids help me through the rough GERD patches without having to resort to those harsh ppi drugs like nexium...
i suspect that i may have low stomach acid and this has contributed to my current health fiasco..
I have changed my diet signifcantly but progressively over the last few months... however iam just recently been really consistant about the probiotics and digest enzymes .. does anyone know how long it could take to see supplements take effect? 

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 68
   Posted 3/3/2009 4:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I have struggled with constipation for over 30 years, and despite some damage I have caused as a result, I am moving toward an improved situation after a year of healing my IBS and other conditions.

Sounds like you have a good list of digestive aids which should be helping even if you are still constipated.

All the digestive aides like the ones you listed help to breakdown the food for better absorbtion of the nutrients into your body, but they will not necessarily improve movement of the stool through the system.

If you can rule out physiological concerns (which may require tests if you suspect any), than acheiving a softer, more movable stool is possible through diet alone.

Peristalsis, (Google it for more info), is the main physiological function for moving stuff through the small intestines, but it is challenged when it has to move anything hard and dry.

The three factors that most affect the consistancy (this would not necissarily be the case for those who suffer from diarhea) is the ratio of water, fiber, and oil.

Getting the right combination of water and fiber is very important for proper stool consistancy. Some people will eat lots of dry fiber (granola, crackers, etc) and wonder why the fiber doesn't help. Some of that fiber doesn't breakdown enough in the first place, but certainly more water is needed if fiber is increased. But even a good water fiber combination is not enough. Oils are not often considered until the doctor says "drink a 1/4 cup of mineral oil" Rather than that extreme consider increasing healthy natural oils in your diet. It is critical for good lubrication (I emphasize oils, not animal fats which can actually constipate)

I use up to 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a 10 ounce meal, which I eat 3 to 4 of each day. That does not include my breakfast smothie that contains 1 table spoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon, flax oil, one table spoon cod liver-D oil, one tablespoon almond butter and one table spoon of coconut oil (there is more in this drink, but I want to highlight the amount of oils here)

I have improved very much through the year, but I have first been addressing some of the damage done over past years. I have been working on the constipation more slowly, but it is improving.

My biggest challenges was handling water and fiber. I never drank much and fiber inrritated me. I have been able to add more fiber into my diet over time, largely because of my digestive aid and the oils. I sautee oat bran in oil before adding it to meals as an example. A year ago it would have given me very bad cramps and gas, now I have no trouble. But I need to be diligent about water and that is a challenge for me. I also rarely drink cold water anymore (cools/slows down your digestion too much), mostly room temp or warmer.

If the stool is adequately moist (oil and water) and soft (digested fiber) it will move more easily through the small intestine. When it hits the colon in sufficient quantity it is critical that you do not ignore the "urge" when nature calls. If you do you risk halting the process, allowing more water to be removed from the stool and it is again harder to move. If you have hemhroids or other rectal issues, it may be more difficult to feel the urge, so extra diligence is needed (this last paragraph is where I currently struggle having both hemhroids and rectal prolaspe from years of straining).

But even now, I feel confident that I am improving things and will function at a reasonable level for my age (48) and I plan to keep making the necessary changes.

This isn't everything that can be done. Figuring out the right food, the right exercise, and other things can all help to improve to BM. Good luck in finding what works for you!

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/6/2009 8:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Having suffered chronic constipation since childhood ..even to the point where I have had an impactted stool , was actually making things worse at one time with any laxative whixh contained senna...too much of a purge ...A recent purchase at Boots the Chemist,because it was on special offer , has worked wonders ....Fibre-sure...nothing in the capsules but natural Psyllium Husk.Two three times daily ..though only 2 twice daily seem to work for me .I also eat no wheat in any form ,as I feel it bloats me ..I do eat loats of shredded white cabbage,with grated carrots in natural yougart with a tiny half spoon of natural honey to take off the bitter taste of the natural yougart ..... and now and again two teaspoons full of Liver Salts in a glass of water before bedtime,quite refreshing if swallowed while still fizzing.....apart from that everything else in moderation ...stop when you feel full thats the key to good bowel movements .......Thanks to finding the Pysllium husk it is a relief to actually go without sitting there pushing an shoving like I was about to give birth to an Elephant Hope this helps Silky

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/6/2009 9:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Aloe vera is a natural laxative, and can be gotten in pill form, however it does appear to be something of a stimulant laxative, and you can become dependent on it if you take it too long, as with any other stimulant laxative. However, most doctors consider it a milder stimulant, and you're usually safe to take it for a few years. Prune juice is another mild stimulant (prunes themselves are less of a stimulant than straight juice, because they have a large fiber component as part of what makes them work).

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/6/2009 9:12 AM (GMT -7)   
Oh, probiotics can take up to a month to show improvement. If you've not any better in two, though, it's probably a sign that whatever your problem is, they can't help.
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