Gut health has been a hot topic in medicine the last several years. As we continue to better understand the importance of the gut brain connection and what to do to heal, we are learning more about the symptoms. Irregular bowels may not be the most fun topic, but they shed a lot of light into what is going on inside. Below are 3 key signs you’re a crappy pooper, and what to do to get back on track!
You have a bowel movement less than once per day.
Think about it...if you haven’t pooped in 2-3 days, then the food you ate 2 + days ago is sitting stagnant in your gut. Unless you’ve been fasting for more than 2 days, 1-2 bowel movements per day is the healthy standard. As you eat food, your body begins the breakdown process the moment food enters your mouth. Your salivary glands kick in, chewing muscles are activated, and most importantly, your nerve system starts to divert energy to the rest of your gut to help prepare for the work ahead. Once the food hits the intestines, your body has begun the deeper work on extracting the true minerals, vitamins, and nutrients out of the food. The rest is left for elimination (PS - how awesome is it that when your body is functioning well, it knows exactly what it needs and gets rid of the rest?!). Now, if your digestive system is weak, lagging and you are popping less frequently than normal, then that waste will stay within your gut. This increases the chance of toxins leeching into your bloodstream. And because your gut is so intimately connected to the brain through the blood-brain/gut-brain barrier, this ultimately starts to have an impact on your mental health. No one feels good when they’re constipated right?! In the end, pooping WELL will have a great impact on your mental and emotional well-being.
When you do have a bowel movement, you have to strain really hard to release.
The purpose of the lower gut is to release and eliminate - to let go...not to force, strain, and resist. If you feel you have to push really hard to have a full, solid bowel movement, one problem could be that you’re dehydrated. When your body is functioning properly, the gut creates what’s called peristalsis. Peristalsis is the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine or another canal, creating wave-like movements that push the contents of the canal forward (contents meaning the waste from your food). This gut function is depending on not only enough water intake, but also the ability to receiving proper signals from the central nerve system that controls your digestive rhythms.
You are having more than 3 bowel movements per day that are unformed and not solid (aka diarrhea).
Unless you are fighting a bug or dealing with food poisoning, loose bowels could be a sign of a distressed digestive and nerve system. Often times when people experience diarrhea, they are not absorbing the proper nutrients the body needs. This can leave us feeling exhausted, depleted, and malnourished. Too frequency of bowel movements also be a sign that you are not getting enough fiber in your diet (leafy greens, whole fruits and vegetables, etc.). Overall, too much or too little pooping is a sign to pay attention to and not just mask with medications.
What to do to become a better pooper!
Start the day with water - Your body NEEDS at least half your body weight in ouces of water each day (more if you are working out, sweating, etc). Remember, you are made of at least 70% water. All the functions of your cells require water, including digestion and elimination. Start the day off with at least 20oz of water before you drink anything else and I can almost guarantee your bowels will improve over time.
Eat real, whole food - Foods high in fiber help catalyze digestion and keep us feeling full and excreting waste in the most effective way. High fiber foods typically grow from the earth - beans, greens, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables are all high in fiber. Remember the magical beans song? It may be silly, but there is ample truth in it’s words!
Get your nerve system checked - All the functions of the gut from your swallowing all the way down the peristalsis with the intestine are controlled by the central nerve system. When there is misalignment and stress upon the nerve and spinal system, this can impact the function of the gut, leading to a myriad of symptoms including
Constipation, diarrhea, painful bowels, acid reflux, bloating, slow metabolism, excess weight gain, and so much more
By getting your nerve system aligned and functioning better, your body can start to heal and work properly on it’s own without the use of drugs and/or surgery.
Let us know how we can help! Because no one likes being a crappy pooper.
Cheers to pooping better,
Dr. Mel and Michael