**Word of warning before I start: this post is borderline TMI.**
In terms of my reputation, this might be the riskiest post I have ever written. I was actually hesitant to post about poop because it’s hardly the most glamorous subject to discuss publicly. Feces, shit, crap, poop, dump…call it what you want but let’s be honest, it’s a natural human response: no matter how feminine or sophisticated you are, we all do it….even Marilyn Monroe did it. And chances are you feel pretty great afterwards. I know I do! As much as I love breakfast, I’d rather wake up to a trip to the bathroom.
Besides the “cleansed” and “lighter” feeling post-bathroom, a healthy bowel is necessary for us to maintain vitality as well as fight off infections & illnesses. Although there’s no rule for frequency of bowel movement, the general range is 3 times a day (those lucky folks) to 3 times a week. Of course bowel movements are very personal, but here are some general tips which work for me.
- Eat more fiber: Fiber absorbs water, which adds bulk to the waste matter & softens (hence the TMI disclaimer) so that it can pass through your bowels easily. Along with fruits & vegetables, high-fiber foods include wholegrains, beans & lentils. Don’t go crazy with your fiber intake, especially if you aren’t used to it. After a certain point, too much fiber can actually lead to constipation, especially if there isn’t enough fluid in your digestive track.
- Stay hydrated: Especially if you are eating plenty of fiber, the body’s digestive tract requires fluids to help move things along. Without enough water, your intestines won’t be able to work properly, making it difficult to pass waste.
- Exercise regularly to keep things regular: Any kind of activity helps promote bowel movement by stimulating the muscles & nerves in the gut to work better. How’s that for workout motivation ;)!
- Add in probiotics for a healthy gut: Healthy bacteria are essential for a properly-functioning digestive system. Disease-causing bacteria & fungus can disrupt the function of healthy bacteria, and antibiotic medications can destroy good bacteria along with the problematic organisms they are meant to kill. Probiotics such as yogurt, kombucha, miso & supplements can help protect the intestinal lining from “bad” bacteria, and restore balance to the digestive system by “crowding out” bad bacteria.
- Consider laxatives: Although I have never needed to take one, I would definitely consider them for the sake of comfort. From what I have heard, there are several natural & herbal ones available on the market . Just try & use them for short periods so that your colon retains its natural ability to contract.
- Find what works for you: Various foods/drinks/situations can have different effects on certain individuals. One friend swears by lemon & hot water whereas another vouches for papaya. Personally I’ve found that coffee, oats & alcohol are almost surefire ways to get things going again. Oh and if I am a bundle of nerves, let’s just say there better be a bathroom nearby ;)!
If ever an ice was present, consider it broken after this post!
What helps you get your “business” done?