How Often Should I Have a Bowel Movement?

What is Constipation?

When a patient comes to the office I never ask are you constipated because the definition is very confusing.

The better question is How frequently do you have a bowel movement.

How often should I have a bowel movementEvery time you have a meal, your nervous system stimulates muscular contractions in your intestines call peristalsis. This is a rhythmic movement that pushes the contents of the intestines like a wave. So, physiologically, you should have a bowel movement after every meal, eliminating the stool from a meal approximately 24 hours before. But in reality this rarely happens in our culture. When I have traveled to less-developed countries, constipation is rarely a problem and folks that I have met and treated usually state they have a bowel movement after each meal. In our country, STRESS is a major factor that changes the natural, steady rhythm of peristalsis.

This is because stress turns on the sympathetic nerves and turns off the parasympathetic nerves. Peristalsis is stimulated by parasympathetic nerves. Again, my understanding of constipation is based on the frequency of bowel movements. If you miss one day, you are constipated even if the frequency returns the next day.

Another way to understand constipation is the quality of the stool.

A normal stool should be well-formed and long, as though it has been extruded from a tube. Small pellets, big balls, long thin strands, soft pieces that are difficult to fully eliminate are all signs of constipation. My recommendation is to pay attention to frequency and quality. With natural treatments for constipation you will gradually notice significant improvements.

CAM Wellness Natural IBS, Bowel Movements and Constipation Solutions

CAM Wellness Institute was founded and run by Dr Gary Gruber of New Canaan Connecticut in the heart of Fairfield County 35 miles from New York City. The mission of CAM Wellness is to empower people with the knowledge and natural solutions they need to maintain a healthy mind and body.

Does Tryptophan help reduce symptoms of IBS?

L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. We get amino acids from protein in our food when the acid in the stomach and enzymes in the intestines digest or break-down the protein. An essential amino acid such as L-Tryptophan must be acquired through food sources or supplementation because our cells need it but do not make it. LTryptophan is the raw material for the very important neurotransmitter and hormone Serotonin.

Trytophan is found in peanutsA person with a deficiency in Serotonin may have constipation, depression, anxiety, and many other symptoms associated with a condition called Fibromyalgia. It is very common for people with Irritable Bowel to also be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

Tryptophan is found in many foods. It is highest in cheese, beef liver, peanuts, turkey, lamb, tuna and salmon, cashews, and oatmeal. It is also found in capsules that are sold in most health food and supplement stores.

Not only is Tryptophan a source for Serotonin but it is also food for the beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus. As a by-product of its metabolism, the probiotic Lactobacillus makes chemicals that stimulate the immune system to curb the growth of the yeast Candida, another common cause of symptoms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

CAM Wellness Institute Irritable Bowel Remedies

Please send us your questions for natural remedies and solutions for treating Irritable Bowel. We will continue to post answers and educational information. If you are looking for a solution, try Dr Grubers program listed above by clicking the link, Reverse IBS 30 Day Program.

What are the Inflammatory Foods that Cause Gas and Bloating?

It is important to understand that we feed ourselves nutrients which are not only necessary for the vitality of our cells but also the trillions of bacteria that inhabit our digestive tract. We have the responsibility to maintain the viability of this bacteria, also known as the microbiota.

Best Foods to Stop Bloatings and CrampsThe microbiota provide nutrients, vitamins, and other by-products that support our health. However, with the right raw materials, the microbiota is a gas factory. Too much protein is not a good thing for the microbiota because their metabolism converts excess protein to gaseous, sulphur by-products that smell like rotten eggs. It is the excess gas that causes bloating and cramping.

Excess protein is delivered to the microbiota when digestive juices in the stomach and small intestine are weak. Low stomach acid and low digestive enzymes result in high amounts of intact proteins available for consumption by the bacteria.

Two food groups that contain high levels of proteins are wheat and dairy. Most people lack the special digestive enzymes to breakdown the proteins in these foods. Therefore, by eliminating wheat and dairy from the diet, the microbiota gas factory is cut-off from the raw materials. The result is much less gas production and no bloating or cramps.

What Foods Cause Bloating

Learning what foods to eat and trigger foods that cause severe cramping and pain are critical for developing your own elimination diet for IBS . As mentioned above, start by creating your own IBS diet menu.

Foods with wheat (rye and barley) and dairy should be avoided if you have abdominal pain from excessive gas. By following a gluten free diet, you are on your way to relief from cramps caused by excessive gas as a result of high amounts of protein in your diet. Cereals, bread, pasta, cookies, pretzels, pizza all contain wheat. Many soups contain wheat,  soy sauce and many spices all have wheat. It is important to read labels. Just because it’s a gluetn free product does not mean it lacks wheat.

Dairy products are vast including butter, milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt,

 Post Your IBS Question For Dr Gruber

Dr Gary Gruber is the Medical Director and founder of CAM Wellness Institute. Our goal is to empower people with the knowledge they need to take control of their health physically, mentally and spiritually.

If you have a question, please post it.

What Causes Brain Fog and Fatique and It’s Impact on IBS

Brain Fog and fatigue are common symptoms associated with a chronic condition such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. These are symptoms that result from chronic stress.

When you are under constant stress from whatever source, your body reacts by sending hormones and neurotransmitters into your blood stream. These chemical signals are picked up by your heart and result in a in change in heart rate variability.

Heart Rate Variability and Brain Fog

Yoa reduces Brain Fog and Chronic Fatique in IBSHeart rate variability is the way your heart speeds up and slows down moment to moment. It is not the same thing as heart rate.

To explain heart rate variability I like to use the analogy of passing a car on the highway. You’re driving your car and in the lane ahead of you is a slower car. You signal, move gradually into the left lane, accelerate, pass the slower car, gradually move back into the right lane, then deaccelerate to your cruising speed. Nice and smooth, Right? Suppose in a different way, you drive within a few feet of the slower car, slam on your brakes, jerk the car into the left lane, smash the accelerator to the floor and pass the car, again you abruptly jerk the car back to the right lane, and finally slam on the brakes to bring the car to its cruising speed.

So in the first scenario we call it variability smooth or coherent, with the second scenario it is choppy or an incoherent variability.

It turns out that the variability in the heart’s moment to moment rate can also be incoherent or coherent and this heart rate variability is transmitted by nerve impulses to your brain. An incoherent heart rate variability causes your brain to shunt or detour impulses away from your brain’s frontal cortex, the thinking area, into the emotional areas of the brain. As a result, it is harder to process thoughts while you become more engaged with your emotions.

This phenomena is experienced as brain fog and fatigue.

In complementary and alternative medicine we help our patients eliminate brain fog by breaking the cycle of incoherent heart rate variability with holistic treatments such as HeartMath, Mindfulness meditation, Hypnosis, and Yoga.

CAM Wellness Institute – Irritable Bowel Solutions

CAM Wellness Institute is located in the heart of Fairfield County in New Canaan Connecticut 50 minutes from New York City. Our goal is to empower people with the knowledge and natural solutions to better health.


What Tests Are Available To Confirm A Diagnosis of IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a functional condition. The best test is one that rules out inflammatory diseases while testing for dysfunction. Clinically, Dr Gruber has found the best test to be a comprehensive stool test.

Tests for Irritable Bowel RemediesA comprehensive stool test for IBS will reveal four areas of dysfunction:

1) Digestion and Absorption  – Breaking down foods and how well your body absorbs  fats and proteins

2) Inflammation and Immunology –  Testing of chemicals in your stool to determine inflammation and whether cells are producing antibodies

3) Gastrointestinal Microbiome – Amount of bacteria, testing for quality and quantity

4) Parasitology – testing for worms, yeast that can cause diarrhea and other health problems

The results help your doctor distinguish between disease and dysfunction. The patterns of dysfunction along with the signs and symptoms make a diagnosis of IBS possible. Additionally, the test results help you and your doctor target specific therapies to heal the condition.

About CAM Wellness Institute

Cam Wellness Institute founded by Dr Gruber is based in New Canaan Connecticut within Fairfield County minutes from Westchester County NY and 1 hour to New York City. The intent of Cam Wellness is to empower patients with knowledge to maintain a healthy lifestyle physically, mentally and spiritually.

If you have questions please post them here. Our goal with Ask The Doctor series is to provide answers to many specific questions about Irritable Bowel and other health questions.

What Is The Connection Between Antibiotics and Onset Of IBS

Antibiotics are typically prescribed as a cure for many conditions because they kill bacteria infections that cause disease.   Unfortunately, antibiotics do not target only bacterial infections. Antibiotics also destroy the good bacteria in the gut. Therefore, it is not unusual for the onset of IBS to follow antibiotic treatment.

Antibiotics for IBSThe good bacteria is called the Microbiome. Scientific research shows that diversity of the microbiome is critical for good health and preventing diseases such as obesity and diabetes. The research is also very clear that the diversity of the microbiome is critical for intestinal function and curing IBS.

If you have a history of antibiotic treatment for any reason you should regularly eat fermented foods and fiber that promotes the growth of the microbiome, or good bacteria in the gut. Supplementation with probiotics is also important.

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