Did you know that 60% of women report weekly constipation symptoms and 90% report monthly symptoms? There are many women and men that only have bowel movements (BMs) a few times a week. This inability to eliminate regularly can have a dramatic impact on both men and women’s fertility, yet as a society, we have begun to accept it as normal. Not having 1-3 BMs a day is common, not normal. It is common, but it is not ok and here is why.
When we are not having 1-3 BMs a day (yes that is what is considered optimal, healthy and what should be “normal”) then this is our body’s way of communicating with us that something larger is going on. When we are not eliminating regularly, we cannot get rid of the waste that is toxic to our bodies including but not limited to pesticides, herbicides, and environmental toxins. It also means that whatever our body is trying to eliminate is reabsorbed through the gut lining right into our bodies. Yup, our bodies are having to work overtime to simply get the bad stuff out! In women, this can result in estrogen dominance, which can result in hormonal imbalances, headaches, PMS, bloating, heavy and irregular periods among a host of other symptoms.
Not to mention, constipation is an additional stressor on your body and can result in a vicious cycle that can feel impossible to beat. When we are constipated, our toxin load or burden increases and takes away from our bodies other resources resulting in compounding symptoms and ultimately impacting other bodily functions, like the ability to conceive.
What is an ideal BM?
If you haven’t before check out the Bristol Stool Chart, let’s start there. We are aiming for a Type 4 on the chart or a banana shaped smooth, brown poo that sinks. This BM ideally would come with an urge, not an emergency, and involve a 30-60 second evacuation with little effort.
Anything that varies from this is an indication that something is not right. No worries though, there is a lot we can do to meet this goal!
What is your body trying to tell you?
Constipation is a symptom and a sign that your body is trying to use to tell you something is going on. Sometimes it is simply due to dehydration, not getting enough sleep, or eating enough fiber. However, if you address those and you are still experiencing irregular BMs, here are the three top causes we witness regularly in our Fab Fertile Couples Coaching program.
When we have gut infections like H,pylori, Giardia, or Candida, our friendly and unfriendly gut flora are out of balance (more bad guys than good) As we begin to address these, the first thing we have to do is get our bowels moving! Why? Because in order to move the infection out, we need to poop it out! In order to do that, we need to have a supportive microbiome. A high quality probiotic like MegaSporeBiotic is a great place to begin.
Another thing we commonly see is magnesium deficiency. Surprisingly, 85% of us are deficient in magnesium. This can look like, loss of appetite. nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weakness, shaking. pins and needles, muscle spasms, and more.
For many, a magnesium deficiency can have a tremendous impact on constipation, and adding the appropriate supplement for your body could have a fast acting positive impact.
More often than not, stress is playing a massive role in one’s constipation. When we are stressed, our bodies are in fight, flight, or freeze mode, our bodies are in survival and not focused on digestion. When are body is unable to reach rest and digest mode, our bowels tense, our digestion slows down and our bodies struggle to literally let go. Yet once this vicious cycle starts, we can get stuck here because then we are stressed about not going, about being constipated.
Mindfulness exercises such as breathing, meditation, cold showers, journaling, walking and simply making time in your day for BMs can make all the difference.
Sometimes our diet choices can impact our BMs. Whether it is because we are reactive to a food and unaware of it yet or eating a food that is known to cause constipation, food is an easy fit. We commonly see both dairy and dried fruits have a dramatic impact on constipation and encourage you to evaluate your relationship with these if you are not eliminating your bowels daily.
How can we improve our BMs?
Step 1: Set Your Body Up For Success
- Eat Your Meals in a Relaxed Setting: Making time to eat without distractions or rushing. Chew every bite thoroughly. Put down your fork in between. This helps our body digest the exact food we just ate. If we don’t do this, we literally CAN’T absorb all the nutrients from our food. Start by aiming to eat this way for at least one of your meals, optimally two each day.
- Hydrate Your Body: Aim to drink 50-75% of your body weight in ounces of filtered water daily
- Get Enough Sleep: AIm for 7-9 hours of sleep nightly and work towards making sure you are asleep between 10pm and 2am whenever possible.
- Move Your Body: Whether you are walking, hiking or supporting your lymphatic system by jumping, skipping rope or jogging, daily movement that brings you joy will support your digestive tract in keeping this moving.
- Consider a Squatty Potty: This simple bathroom stool brings your knees to the right angle, making it easier to eliminate without straining.
- Prioritize Your Morning Routine: Wake up, drink water, be kind to yourself and leave room in your morning for a BM so you are not rushing on to your next activity before your body is able to eliminate it. It may take more time in the beginning, but note that it gets easier with time.
- Take Probiotics Daily: We highly recommend MegaSporeBiotic, yet a high quality probiotic daily will dramatically support a healthy microbiome.
- Eating whole foods rich in fiber: From chia seeds to raspberries, broccoli to avocados, there are many whole foods that are rich in fiber. Be sure your diet includes a variety of foods, including fiber rich ones.
Step 2: When You Need More or Faster Relief
- First and foremost, if you are experiencing chronic constipation, we highly recommend you contact your primary care provider.
- Castor Oil Packs: We highly recommend for every couple TTC that you add castor oil packs to your life ASAP. Listen to this podcast with DR. Mirasol to learn why.
- Magnesium, Enemas, Salt Shots and Vitamin C: Justine Altman, FDNP shares many options for faster relief in this podcast episode and how you may implement them into your life easily.
- Flaxseed and Prunes: You likely know that prunes are high in fiber as are flaxseeds. When I am traveling, my digestion can often get out of whack and this is a quick fix that works for me. I grab an organic prune baby food pouch from the store and/or about 1 tbsp freshly ground flaxseed. I mix them together and eat up. Paired with salt and plenty of water, my digestion usually quickly returns to smooth and easy BMs.
Podcasts To Support Healthy BMs:
- Why Constipation Matters If You are TTC with Justine Altman, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
- What You Need To Know About Castor Oil Packs And Fertility with Dr. Marisol Teijeiro, ND, BA – Queen of the Thrones
- How To Optimize Sleep To Improve Your Fertility with Justine Altman, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Remember, the more we eliminate, the easier and better it gets! Practice makes progress and progress is where we being to heal.
To learn more about how the Fab Fertile Method can help improve your chances of getting pregnant naturally, apply here. We’ll come up with a plan specifically designed for your situation. We specialize in low AMH, high FSH, premature ovarian insufficiency, and diminished ovarian reserve.
Blog by Samantha Coffin – Fertility Coach at Fab Fertile Inc.