Posted by: Ron
You may think it’s normal but in reality, constipation maybe detrimental to your health.
Constipation: Part 1 – Find out your transit and retention times
The number one selling over the counter medication in America is….. drum roll…. you guessed it: laxatives. That means more laxatives are bought than aspirin in the United States, every single year. Few people discuss constipation so it goes unnoticed. It has gotten so bad in our country that doctors have changed the definition of it. You used to be considered constipated if you went a day without a bowel movement. So many people would go to the emergency rooms and to their doctors with constipation complaints that they changed the definition of it so you’re only considered constipated if you have 3 or fewer bowel movements A WEEK! This was likely done to cut down on clogging up the waiting rooms (pun WAS intended) in hospitals and doctors’ offices.
Under ideal circumstances, you eliminate faecal matter roughly as often as you eat so an average of 3 times a day. You would also eliminate roughly as much as you put in your mouth and swallow. Again, in an ideal situation, the food you eat moves through your digestive tract pushing the chyme (mix of partly digested food and digestive juices) that was ingested earlier farther down the digestion pathway. You should have approximately 3 meals between the entrance and exit of food.
The ideal transit time is between 12 – 24 hours. Transit time means the total time between the time food enters your mouth and the first time it exits into the toilet bowl.
The ideal retention time is between 55 to 65 hours. Retention time means the total time between when you first put the food in your mouth until the last of it exits into the toilet bowl.
If it takes longer than 12-24 hours before you first pass the food you consumed, you can be pretty sure something is holding it up somewhere along the way. On the other hand it you see it in under 12 hours, that means your body is eager to get it out quickly. It could mean a myriad of things.
Most of the nutrient absorption happens in your small intestine. As the waste moves into your large intestines it contains water. Your body reabsorbs water in the large intestine (also known as the colon.) Since your stool is your body’s toxic waste dump, the longer it sits in your colon, the greater the chance of your body reabsorbing toxins and waste material. That’s on top of having hard, compact and difficult to pass stool, which increases your chances of having anal fissures (cracks in your lower rectum or anus, causing bleeding and pain) as well as painful haemorrhoids. No wonder people reach for laxatives more than anything else at their favorite pharmacy.
If your retention time is more than 65 hours, you’re likely reabsorbing toxins, backing up your liver, storing body fat (which is where toxins are stored to keep them away from organs) therefore hindering your progress.
If your transit time is less than 55 hours, there’s too little time to get the maximum nutrients out of your food.
Another interesting fact is that colon cancer is rising in this country and is one of the leading cancers.
If you’ve been following my posts, you likely understand how important digestion is both for building muscle and shedding body fat. In order to know where you currently stand with your digestion, the first step is to find out your transit and retention times.
You can quite easily time both by eating a few beets, recording the day/time you ate it then watching for dark purplish redness in your stool the next few times you go. Record the day/time when you first see it and again when you last see it.
Another test substance you can use instead of beets is activated charcoal. This will turn your stool black instead of red/purple that the beet turns it so just watch out for that color.
Constipation: Part 2 - How you know when you have it
The most common symptoms and signs of constipation
The surest way to know you're constipated is if you skip a day of elimination. Going 24 hours without a bowel movement is one of the definite signs of constipation. Feeling like you still need to eliminate but being unable to do it is a more subtle sign.
Here are some signs your body gives you to let you know something is off:
Some of the possible reasons for being constipated:
The good news is, it's relatively simple to get your plumbing going again. You can follow my previous tips on digestion:
If you're in an acute phase and you really want to unclog, this simple trick has always worked for everyone I ever shared it with:
First thing in the morning after you wake up do these steps on an empty stomach:
1) Drink 1 - 3 quarts of water in a span of no more than 15 minutes (the longer you've been constipated, the more water you'll need)
2) Sit down and relax as you drink (you will likely feel slightly nauseated)
3) Within another 20-30 minutes, make sure you're near a toilet
4) Once the urge arrives, sit and eliminate
It will likely be one of the larger stools you'll have ever passed, especially if it's been waiting there for a few days.
Once it's out make sure you follow my suggestions above so you can prevent it from ever happening again.