The “normal” length of time between bowel movements varies greatly from person to person. Some individuals may go up to three times/day, while others may only experience a bowel movement every other day. And as long as stools maintain a formed shape, are easy to pass, don’t cause bloating, and are passed regularly, we deem them otherwise “normal”. However, if you’re going longer than 3 days without a movement, the stools are very hard to pass, or they have a pellet like appearance, you may be experiencing a problem with constipation.
Irregularity in bowel function can be a results of dehydration, medications, intolerances to foods, a lack of fibre, a buildup of bad bacteria, or sluggishness in our ‘migrating motor complex” (MMC), to name a few. Even more complex, constipation may be a result of changes to the neuroreceptors of the digestive tract – particularly your 5-HT4 receptors that line your alimentary tract. Changes to these receptors, most commonly due to medications, stress, and other endocrine disorders, can change the functionality of the gut. A naturopath’s role is to rule out reasons why bowels have become infrequent, and to ensure there are no more serious underlying pathologies causing your concerns.
Our Naturopaths’ approach to managing constipation involves a thorough look at lifestyle factors that may be affecting bowel regularity, such as diet, fluid intake, and macronutrient intake. Investigative lab work can be conducted to investigate bacteria imbalances via a Comprehensive Stool Analysis and Parasitology, food intolerances via Food Sensitivity Testing, bacterial overgrowth via SIBO breath testing, and so on. Our Naturopath’s will help determine which types of investigative work are right for you.
Other causes of constipation involve sluggish gastric juice production, which is corrected for via the use of dietary and nutraceutical aids that promote alimentary organ function. Lastly, digestive hygiene and tips to promote migrating motor complex function are taught to ensure constipation is not stemming from a functional deficiency.
If you have further questions, or wish to a comprehensive digestive assessment conducted by Dr. Holmberg, ND, please contact her here: