Belly aches are the most common complaint for children with constipation, and constipation has become a common health problem in adults.  How often should adults and children be eliminating, what triggers constipation, what are the health risks of not eliminating daily, and how can you ease constipation issues?  You will learn this and more from this article.

HOW often should you be pooping?

Children and adults should poop daily!  At a minimum, adults should eliminate every other day.  The liver completes a cleanse every night and about half an hour after waking, you should be having a bowel movement.  Some folks go to the bathroom more often, and some go less often. Take a look at the Bristol Stool Chart below to get an idea if you are regular. 1 and 2 indicate constipation, 3 and 4 are considered normal stool, and 5, 6 and 7 could indicate diarrhea.

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Source: continence.org

What are the causes of constipation?

While fiber is often the most common reason cited for constipation, there are various reasons one could have trouble passing stool.

*Dairy especially, with its high fat and low fiber content can cause problems with regularity, and dairy and gluten sensitivity can make pooping difficult.

*Dehydration in children especially, but adults also, is another cause of constipation. Children should drink eight glasses of water daily, and adults should be drinking half of their body weight.

*Stress can cause the body to go into fight or flight mode which can slow down the whole system of elimination.

* Children “holding it in” if they are out, at school, or somewhere where they do not want to use the bathroom is a cause for constipation and hard stools as well.

*Grazing throughout the day does not allow the body to form a stool that is ready to pass, so this is noted in constipation as well.

*Last, not having enough digestive enzymes can be a cause for constipation.

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How to Get regular

*Nutrition. Prunes and pears are commonly implicated for children suffering from constipation. Fiber in fruits and vegetables, and prebiotics and probiotics in foods are a good place to start. Soluble fiber (nuts, seeds, beans, some fruits, vegetables) soaks up water and slows digestion, while insoluble fiber (whole grains, chia, some vegetables) and adds bulk to the stool and helps food move through towards elimination. A balance of both types of fiber is helpful.

*Olive oil, MCT and coconut oil are thought to be lubricants to help move digested food, or chyme, through the body. A tablespoon added to meals can be helpful.

*Drink enough water. Monitor your water intake.

*Ground flaxseed and psyllium husk are two things that you can add to food or smoothies.

*Magnesium, especially magnesium citrate, helps draw water into the intestines and stimulates bowel motility.  Natural Calm is also a common supplement that children will drink, or chewable magnesium.

*Supplement with a probiotic. This helps balance the good and bad bacteria, and helps with gut health which in turn helps keep you regular.

*Exercise! Move your body. Runner’s trots are a real thing – that you do not want to experience, but keeping the body active helps to move things along!

*Try a squatty potty. This helps with positioning to ease the stool out in the proper form.

*Juice Plus is a supplement with fruits and vegetables that can help with regularity.

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Health issues resulting from constipation

By not eliminating waste regularly, toxins start to accumulate in the body, excess estrogen remains in the body, and it sets the stage for colon disease, colon cancer and breast cancer, among other health issues.

Most doctors will prescribe Miralax, which has not been approved for those under 17 years of age, and has also not been approved for over 7 days of use. Side effects that have been reported are behavioral changes, aggression, anger, and even seizures.  Before starting Miralax, be sure to research.

Sources
(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5976340/

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4974585/

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