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.