Constipated gut or constipated brain?

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We all get constipated from time to time and I’m not limiting this state entirely to the bowel department either. Constipation of the bowels are also linked to constipation of the mind.

So where does my constipation stem from you ask?

Are we all becoming more stubborn, unreasonable and unable to compromise? Are these all conditions of the fast paced, social media led, narcissistic world that we live in? I don’t know but it feels like they are all entwined and intrinsically linked to me.

Constipation by definition of Wikipedia is “a condition in which there is difficulty in emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardened faeces.’’

So why do our faeces become hard and difficult to pass in the first place and what can we do about it?

‘The gastrointestinal system is the most emotional organ of the body.’

The large intestines’ number one function in the body is to ‘let go’ – quite literally in a physical sense, to eliminate waste through the movement of peristalsis, but also on a spiritual level, by letting go of the things that don’t serve us anymore. This can be people, traits, addictions, food and exercise, or all of the above. Mechanically, the gut lets go of waste after our upper digestive system has taken all the necessary nutrients out of the food we eat. On a spiritual level, the large intestine does the exact same thing. A healthy large intestine energy allows us to let go of patterns of negative thinking, destructive emotions and spiritual blockages that we create which prevent us from being our best. When the function of the large intestine energy is compromised, people have a hard time moving on from difficult situations, or hold very tightly to emotions they know are harming them. Years of constipation issues and not being open with friends and family or letting go can often go hand in hand.

The Emotional Body:

Knowing how closely the gut and the brain interact, it is easy to understand why you might feel as if you have butterflies in your tummy before a race, or feel nauseas before a presentation or interview. This does not mean that your functional gastrointestinal conditions are imagined or are even in your head. Psychology and physical factors combine to cause symptoms of the bowel. The whole gut is influenced by psychological factors that influence the physiology of the gut and create symptoms.

Action: Start your day with a positive affirmation. Look in the mirror and say with strength and conviction and belief, 10 times: ‘I let go of the past and I move freely into the present.’

The Nutritional Body:

A vast community of life lives in the dark, oxygen-free zone of our guts, and what you feed this zone will play a large part in how you feel for every second and minute of the day. Scientists say that there are over 100 trillion microbes living in our brains, and it is these microbes that keep the lines of communication open between our heads and our guts and, most importantly, play a very important role in how we feel. If you put in good nutrition you are more likely to feel happy and upbeat, feeding your microbiome for the better; but if you put in food that doesn’t rot, you will experience moments, bouts, episodes and even prolonged episodes of the blues because the food will make you feel this way.

Action: Make sure you eat fresh, seasonal, organic fruit and vegetables. Eating foods that decompose means that they have a high life force and will be feeding you high doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. If your tomato can stay in the fridge for over a week with no sign of turning to the dark side, be afraid of the chemicals that have been sprayed on him! If you want to make counting part of your diet, count the chemicals not the calories.

The Physical Body:

In the physical body you may experience the following symptoms, if you’re experiencing symptoms with your gut: stiff or tense muscles in the neck as well as headaches. You may also have tight hip flexors.

The main muscle of the hip flexors is a deep muscle called the psoas major, which lies right next to the small intestine. If the psoas muscle is short and tight due to poor posture, poor exercise choices and nutrition, it will enhance visceroptosis. This is when the internal organs drop down into the pelvic basin, creating pelvic floor strain and dysfunction. This muscle can play a role in the gut–brain connection, affecting what is commonly called ‘gut feelings’. A tight psoas major muscle may be the cause of your poor motility; it runs from your lumbar spine T12–L4 and inserts/attaches to the lesser trochanter of the femur.

Top tips for Constipation of the mind and your bowels!

  • Increase your fluid intake and avoid caffeine, due to its diuretic action.

  • Create a regular and consistent eating time to encourage regular elimination.

  • If the following are lacking in your diet, make sure to include whole grains, steamed vegetables, fruits and legumes and rice bran, as all can increase stool mass.

  • Natural laxatives can work for some people and you would need to trial-and-error these, such as prunes, figs, apricots and rhubarb.

  • Supplements for laxative effect: magnesium citrate and vitamin C, B5, saffron and ginger.

  • Increase your bile flow: inositol, choline and methionine, omega 3s (EPA/DHA).

  • Take probiotics – these can help improve motility through the bowel especially if you do not have a varied and diverse diet.