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Constipation, bloating with some relief but not entirely. Tips? Dr Ben explains

Posted Jul 20 2010 5:58pm

Q. I've been taking flax oil, chlorophyll drops, and probiotics to help clean out my bowel and digestive system and relieve some constipation and  easy bloating, which I've always been prone to. It's working, but I still feel some blockage and am wondering if there is something i am missing. Should i up my fiber intake? Am I neglecting my liver? etc. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank You!

A. Hello -

Great to hear that you are experiencing some improvements with constipation and bloating. Nice work!

These symptoms are difficult for many to get a handle on. I have some pointers and suggestions which may help relieve your symptoms of constipation and bloating completely.

Are you drinking enough filtered water? If not, make sure you get at least 8 cups a day of water in your. Space it throughout the day.

Have a cup of water right when you wake up and one an hour or so before you go to sleep. That takes care of two of them.

Lack of water intake is a common cause of constipation. Avoid the soft drinks, bottled plastic water and other commercial beverages. Just water. If you like, sweeten it with some electrolyte packets such as Emergen'C or homemade jams to spice it up a bit.

Carrying a stainless steel water bottle with you throughout the day with filtered water in it helps remember to drink. Do not drink out of plastic due to bisphenol-a.

Before I get too far, I want to point out that I am a bit concerned that you state you feel some blockage.

Blockage and constipation are totally different.

There could be a growth pushing onto the colon causing obstruction and blockage.

Causes of gastrointestinal blockages that do not cause much pain are:

  • uterine fibroids
  • ovarian cancer
  • colon cancer

A good resource for other causes of gastrointestinal blockages is by Medline Plus. I highly recommend you review what Medline Plus has to say about Intestinal Obstructions.

Given that you state you've 'always been prone to,' the likelihood of something serious is lessened; however, it is my job as a physician to always think of the worst case scenario first.

I also want to point out right now that I am not diagnosing you nor providing treatment recommendations. I simply am providing information for you which you may take to your physician.

I would first look at what foods you are eating.

What foods do you suspect are causing constipation and bloating?

Common foods which cause constipation and bloating are:

  1. Dairy products
  2. Wheat
  3. Dry snack foods such as chips, crackers, rice cakes, granola, energy bars, nuts, seeds

If you are eating any of these foods, eliminate the foods you absolutely love for 5 days and see how you feel. My guess is your constipation and bloating will significantly improve or be gone completely.

The sad fact is the foods we crave and eat with every meal or many times throughout the day are the ones causing our bodies distress.

 

 

Take a step back at see what foods may be causing your symptoms. Remove them for 5 days. Then try one of the suspected foods at each meal of the day to see if your symptoms of constipation and bloating return.

This method is free, highly effective and typically brings immediate relief; however, it is not the entire answer.

Constipation and bloating is commonly associated with low stomach acid, low pancreatic enzyme secretion and/or low bile secretion.

A few things which may encourage all your digestive organs to work properly - for free:

  • Eat when you eat. Do not drive and eat, talk on the phone and eat or work and eat.
    • In order for digestive enzymes and acids to be secreted, the relaxed nervous system needs to be operating. This nervous system is called the parasympathetic nervous system and is the opposite of the 'fight-or-flight' nervous system called the Sympathetic nervous system.
      • When calm during meals, saliva increases, stomach acid production increases, pancreatic enzymes release and the gall bladder releases bile.
      • Before eating, think of sucking on a really sour lemon. Think of it now. 'I am chewing on a super sour lemon.' You experience your mouth watering?! Perfect. Your digestive juices are flowing. Do this before each meal.
  • Before each meal, take a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and a squirt of fresh lemon juice in a 1/4 cup of filtered room temperature water. Sip. Once finished. Enjoy your meal. You've stimulated your digestive organs even more.
  • Avoid drinking too much while eating.
    • This dilutes stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile acids. If these digestive acids and enzymes are diluted, then constipation and bloating occur.
  • Wait 20 minutes to eat dessert after meals.
    • Sugar after a meal causes gas and bloating. This is because sugars are digested first thereby shutting down protein and fat digestion. This causes the proteins and fats to stagnate in the digestive system causing fermentation which leads to gas and bloating.
  • Chew very well. The Chinese state: 'Drink your food. Chew your water.'
    • The more you chew, the more food surface area you expose to digestive enzymes.
    • The more surface area exposed allows the digestive enzymes easier access to break the foods down.
    • Easier food breakdown means less fermentation which means less bloating.

These lifestyle tips are excellent to put in use when you can.

I know personally that these lifestyle tips cannot happen all the time due to busy lives and convenience.

In situations where you cannot avoid the foods which cause constipation and bloating or you cannot relax and eat, I recommend you consider digestive enzymes and digestive acids to help your body break down foods.

There are four products which I recommend my patients that suffer from constipation and bloating to start out with:

  1. Vegizyme by Biogenesis Nutraceuticals is a plant-based enzyme combination which works across all pH's of the digestive system. This ensures the enzymes function in any environment. Many digestive enzyme supplements require specific pH in order to function thus being ineffective for many people. With Vegizyme, one is going to get digestive benefit no matter the pH. Take 1 capsule of Vegizyme midway through each main meal. Do not take during snacks. If you forget to take it during the meal, no problem, that is just the ideal time to take it. You may take it before or after as well.
  2. Ultra Gest by Biogenesis Nutraceuticals increases stomach acid production which is key to starting the entire digestive process. Low stomach acid is extremely common which explains why there is so much constipation, gas, bloating, acid reflux and poor nutrient absorption among us all. Take 1 capsule of Ultra Gest midway through your meal and only take during your large meals of the day. If you forget to take it during the meal, no problem, that is just the ideal time to take it. You may take it before or after as well. Do not take during snacks.
  3. Liver-G.I. Detox by Pure Encapsulations is designed to stimulate your liver to release bile from the gall bladder. This is needed to relieve bloating, constipation and to also help detoxify the toxins that are in our body. Take 1 capsule with each main meal.
  4. ProBiota 12 by Seeking Health is a potent mix of 12 different strains of beneficial bacteria in a prebiotic base of inulin. Research shows over and over again that those suffering from constipation and bloating benefit greatly from a potent probiotic. There is no other probiotic that contains this many strains at this potency in a prebiotic base. In order for beneficial bacteria to take hold and do their job of improving nutrient absorption, preventing harmful bacteria from taking hold in the digestive system and improving our immune systems, they must be in very high numbers and have multiple strains. Each beneficial bacteria has different roles to play and must be present to balance out the other beneficial bacteria. If one takes only a few types of beneficial bacteria, they become harmful as they are not balanced by the other beneficial bacteria that are lacking. I know you are taking a probiotic but I am not confident that it is helping you. I recommend you stop taking that specific probiotic and switch to ProBiota 12. Take 2 capsules of ProBiota 12 at dinner time. Once the first bottle of ProBiota 12 runs out, then order a second bottle and remain on a maintenance dose of 1 capsule at dinner time. 

With the above dietary modifications, lifestyle improvements and supplement recommendations, I am confident your constipation and bloating will improve significantly or disappear altogether.

Should you have further questions or comments, please post them here.

Do let me know how you are doing in a few weeks. I love feedback and it helps others know that natural medicine works!

In health,

Dr Ben

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