What are normal stools?
If your digestive tract is working normally, you should have a complete, comfortable and voluminous defecation at least once every day. It should take less than a minute, and be an easy, pleasant experience. The stools should be formed into a soft, round, sausage-like shape. They should be just hard enough to be formed, rather than coming out like a cow-pat.
Different people vary in their need to defecate. Some people go after every meal, others only every second day, without this being a problem. But for most people, the ideal is at least once per day.
Constipation is usually a temporary problem, the result of eating the wrong food. If you suffer from ongoing constipation, then try the suggestions in Healing constipation below, and check the experience and votes for the different Remedies suggested by visitors to Grow Youthful.
For many people in the industrialised west, defecation is not like this. There is an element of (sometimes substantial) strain to eliminate. People sit on the toilet for many minutes, sometimes even long enough to read a book! Constipation is common, and can be painful. There is often a frustrated feeling that a little bit more still needs to come.
If the stool comes out in thin strips it is usually an over-spill, squeezed through a hard mass of old compacted faeces lining the wall of the colon. This hard compressed faecal lining can remain in place for months, poisoning the patient and providing a residence for harmful microorganisms.
Symptoms of constipation
- Hard stools.
- Pain or discomfort when defecating. Stools are too hard or too large to pass comfortably. Need to strain to get them out.
- Defecating every second day or less frequently.
Causes of constipation
- *** Deficient or upset gut flora. Insufficient probiotic microorganisms, an overgrowth of yeasts and harmful microorganisms. Usually caused by antibiotics or a poor diet (see below).
- Diet - the most common cause of constipation is a processed food diet, high in refined carbohydrates and sugar, and lacking fibre from sufficient vegetables.
- Dehydration - not drinking enough water. You need 1-2 litres (quarts) per day or more, depending on the climate and how much you sweat.
- Lack of exercise. Half an hour of walking per day massages your colon.
- Emotional stress.
- Irregular, hurried meals.
- Repeatedly ignoring the urge to go to the toilet.
- Certain medicines and pharmaceuticals.
- Occasionally, constipation is caused by an underlying illness.
Consequences of constipation
If you do not empty your bowel every day, toxins can be reabsorbed from the stools in your colon back into your body.
- Diet. Eat plenty of vegetables. A little fruit, properly-prepared legumes, and a limited amount of whole-grains are acceptable. Avoid processed foods, especially those made with refined carbohydrates (eg white flour) and high in sugar. Details of which foods to use and avoid, and why, in my book Grow Youthful.
- Water. Drink 1-2 litres (quarts) of water per day or more.
- Avoid pharmaceutical laxatives. If you are seriously constipated, do not use pharmaceutical laxatives. They only create dependence.
- See the list of remedies suggested by visitors to growyouthful.com. They include apple cider vinegar, molasses, magnesium, coconut oil and correct squatting posture.