I know what you’re probably thinking after reading the title to this post. You’re undoubtedly saying to yourself, “Is this woman really about to talk about constipation on her blog? Why on earth would she want to talk about that?!” And to be honest, that’s totally a fair question. I asked myself the same exact thing immediately after I typed out the title, and to be honest I’m still sort of asking myself that. However, I’ve always made it a point to be very transparent with my readers and to bring you guys information that I feel is relevant and useful, and I’m hoping that at least one of you can take something from this post that is beneficial to you.
Constipation isn’t a fun topic at all, but it’s something that has recently caused quite a negative stir in my personal life and made me shift gears and start thinking about the causes, symptoms and the things that can be done about it to live a more normal and healthy life – constipation free.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve struggled with digestive issues on and off. It seems like my body almost goes through cycles where I have zero to very little trouble, to long periods with IMMENSE issues with having a bowel movement. For example, in June I noticed my body shifting and heading towards another bout with serious constipation. (Just to put it into perspective for you, I would go 7 days without ever having a bowel movement.) Yeah, you guys. It was absolutely miserable!
During the month of June, I visited my local medical clinic not once, but TWICE to see if there was 1.) Anything serious going on and 2.) Figure out how to get my body back into a normal schedule. After a few tests that came back normal and a long spiel about how I just needed to incorporate more fiber and water into my diet (which I already knew to do and had been doing,) I was sent back home with little information and no relief.
Later that month I started taking a product sold by a popular direct sales company that is supposed to help regulate your bowel movements and promote a healthy gut. After about 2 weeks on the product (which is really high in magnesium) I finally started seeing results, but it wasn’t long before I felt my body take another shift and start having a negative reaction to that product. I felt so overwhelmed by all of these issues. I just wanted my body to work properly, and it seemed like no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t find a way to convince my body to work as it should.
That’s when the Amwell app icon on my phone once again caught my eye, and I was instantly reminded that I could chat with another medical professional one on one about my struggles and hopefully get a little more information on what could be causing my struggles. What a relief!
I’ve been using Amwell services since May of this year. You may remember my previous posts about Breastfeeding Questions and Toddler Nutrition, and how I was able to find answers to many of the questions I had about those two topics from the amazing medical professionals at Amwell, and I was able to do it all directly from my phone through video chat!
This time, I got to speak to a family physician about my battle with constipation, and we also talked about general gut health and how the two frequently go hand in hand. Here’s a few of the questions I had for her and a synopsis of her answers to each one:
What are some of the typical causes of constipation?
- Constipation can be caused by a number of things, including a lack of adequate fiber and water, an increase in stress, an imbalance in productive gut bacteria, medications, lack of physical exercise, consumption of overly processed foods or even an intolerance to certain food, such as dairy.
How does overall gut health affect constipation?
- Gut health is a popular buzz word that has gained serious attention over the last few years. Your gut contains both good and bad bacteria to help it function properly, but unfortunately many people struggle to maintain a healthy gut because we’re unable to maintain a proper balance of good and bad bacteria. Things such as poor diet, medications and stress are known killers of the good bacteria inside your gut. When this imbalance occurs, it can cause distress in your bowels and cause you to become constipated.
How can I tell if my gut is healthy/unhealthy?
- If your gut is unhealthy, your body will eventually let you know through various problems arising such as constipation or diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, new food allergies, acne, and even things on a more serious spectrum such as the development of an autoimmune disorder. There are no tell-tale signs of a healthy gut other than normal bodily function.
How can I ensure that my gut stays healthy?
- If your body has been showing signs of poor gut health, especially in the case of constant constipation, a lifestyle change may be in order to help balance the intestinal flora in the gut to ensure it’s healthy. This may mean eliminating processed foods, drinking 60 oz or more of water daily, and exercising regularly. It’s not a super quick fix, but it’s an incredibly important fix to ensure your body is getting what it needs to function properly.
We also chatted about the magnesium supplement that I started taking back in June, and ways that I can properly get off of that medication and get my body back into shape to start having regular and healthy bowel movements, and to kick constipation to the curb once and for all.
Getting to chat with this medical professional was like a breath of fresh air to me. She really helped explain the root of constipation and gave me a better understanding of positive and beneficial long-term lifestyle changes to promote good gut health, and I’m already implementing these changes so that I can feel healthy and happy again. Using Amwell over the past few months has been a wonderful experience, and I 100% recommend using this service for any medical needs that you may have!
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